For the love of the planet, one piece of trash at a time.
As an individual who fell in love with the incredible Nicaraguan people while simultaneously orienting himself with the many problems associated with solid waste management within the culture, my initial experience in Nicaragua served to catalyze a number of passions. It was with this growing consciousness and understanding of both worlds that I began a passionate and tumultuous love affair with this world I now almost exclusively exist. Here I am over 2 years later, now within the community of Pie Del Gigante enhancing my relationship with this place and people as well as continuing to move forward in the realm of solid waste management. With all of this being said and a commitment that has been made by the municipal government of Tola in which Pie Del Gigante exists, waste is now being collected for the first time in the history of our small yet ever growing community. This commitment presents an incredible opportunity to alter business as usual within the home as families are no longer limited to the practice of the throwing and burning of waste. The new collection program was initiated with the provision of red barrels that were given to each home in the community of Asentamiento. As all of the homes exist along the roadside, moving the barrels to the street for roadside pick-up did not present a daunting undertaking for the families here. On the scheduled waste collection route, a number of issues were identified by the specific Pie Del Gigante neighborhood of La Loma. The fact that many of the homes in La Loma, meaning “The Hill”, exist on a challenging slope, the garbage truck is unable to pass these homes in the same manor as the majority of the community. Through a series of meetings between the Technical Waste Management Team of La Loma, the director of social responsibility of the development Guacalito, Jon Thompson, and Justo Pastor of the Municipal Government of Tola, a solution for waste consolidation and collection was agreed upon with the plan of a central point of waste collection. Following our community agreement, we kicked into action. With the cutting of bamboo, and through the generous provision of materials from Jon Thompson and Guacalito, the center construction was initiated and completed in a number of days. Last Friday, the 27th of July, we kicked off usage of the center within the community of La Loma with a “ribbon cutting ceremony” of sorts. With many community members at hand, a number of compelling, heartfelt speeches were given by various community members in regard to the importance of this initiative and the opportunity and responsibility we all have to embrace. The collection barrels were then tagged with the hand prints of many of the community members while we feasted on pizza. We are now into our first week of usage and the barrels are filling up rapidly and this fills me with a very positive sentiment as the system takes hold and habitual practices change and shift in a positive direction. To listen to the words of the community members in regard to the importance of this opportunity as well as many of their personal aspirations to move towards future recycling, I was incredibly moved and filled with hope for a positive future in this realm. All in all it was a very good day.