I found myself pulling items out of someone else’s trash container the other day thinking “Hey—who threw this away? We could make this into something else.”
Putting together a repurposing workshop for Cozumel residents has turned me from a typical recycler to treasure hunter.
The workshop goal was to help low income families learn to create solutions to their needs on a very limited budget. Volunteers encouraged about a dozen young men and women participants to look around, see what’s available and then imagine how to repurpose those items.
The FOC volunteers provide tools and a pile of disassembled pallet pieces, stalks from bamboo and palm trees, rusted nails, pipe conduit holders, pieces of mirror, zip ties, nearly empty cans
of stain—stuff you might find in the trash. Then they showed an example of how to turn those things into something not easily purchased by families in need.
After some basic instructions, the construction frenzy began. There were teen girls who had never before used an electric drill, a young mother who showed her daughter how to wield a hammer, and the teen guys who patiently shared a handsaw with each other.
Each team ended up with something they were proud to take home to their families—a bamboo-framed mirror for the bathroom, complete with towel hooks and a drinking cup holder. Voila! The trash was turned into an artistic yet functional home furnishing.
Another workshop held simultaneously at the same location, taught participants to sew a simple skirt out of donated or recycled fabric. Friends of Cozumel provided several sewing machines, the needed supplies, and patient instructors who led nearly 20 beginning seamstresses through the steps.
Of course participants from the two workshops were happy to have a new skirt or new bathroom mirror. But the real value was learning how to envision making something out of nothing. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska