Monday, July 4, 2011

Serious imagination

It finally happened.  After 6 months of being only moderately careful, I got sick.  Really sick.  So today, as I begin recuperating I find myself with lots of time.   While wandering around the internet I found a talk Janet Echelman, a sculptor, gave at TED, a nonprofit organization dedicated to  "Ideas worth spreading."   The talk was fascinating but what really struck me was the story of her first sculpture.  She was in India to talk about painting but her paints didn't arrive.  She didn't have the materials she needed so she made due, she improvised.   She made a massive sculpture out of nets after watching Indian fisherman weave and throw them into the sea.  What a glorious example of reuse, or as she puts it "taking imagination seriously."

Here in Honduras, imagination is serious work.   Enough (or any) of the proper tools and materials are hard to come by.   Nothing is wasted and even the most unlikely things are reused.  And yet, standards of quality are not "improvised."  We work with master craftsmen who will not compromise the safety and security of the children.  Many of us have watched the construction workers pull a rusty nail out of an old board and hammer it straight to use again.  I have been collecting pictures of improvisational work for some time now.  Some examples are ingenious, some hi-tech, some lo-tech, some funny and some heartbreaking.  Coming from a culture of "discard and buy new" I am intrigued by how Hondurans take imagination seriously.

A little convenience store
becomes a dentist's office
Scrap wood becomes a ladder...

...or scaffolding

An old tire and scrap of treated wood becomes a swing set

A couple logs and 2x4s become soccer goals

An empty drink bottles becomes a faucet

 Aaron Joshue uses shoes to protect his hands while crawling

A concrete soccer field becomes a lovely restaurant for dinner...

...and dancing

A chapel becomes a place of a different kind of healing

Empty baby formula cans become weights for the "Rec Room"

Bits of PVC pipe, broken table, wood scraps and plastic bring new life to a discarded Foosball table

Honduran entrepreneurs are preparing to make use of the prevalent heavy winds...

...while others make use of whatever they can find for shelter

We reuse space, discarded items, bits and pieces of nature around us and we reuse something else much more... 
Staff for the children
Children for each other
Volunteers for the kids
Servants for their brother
A boy for his dog (sharing tattoos!)
A mother for a boy
Classmates for each other
A teen for a teen
A Nurse Practitioner for her patient
Families for one another
Girls for their new shoes!
A hopeful mom for her son

So seriously use your imagination...  Look for ways to save, share, reuse, and refurbish.  Take the money you save and reuse it as a love offering.  Help us to end this kind of reuse

by engaging in more and more "reuse" of this love