When we all got to San Pancho yesterday we stopped for a cup of coffee or a smoothie... or whatever it took to regain some energy and slake the thirst. We all thought the hike was over and we were just heading for the bus stop.
But Memo had something else in mind...
He wanted us all to see the recycling center in town. And... believe me... this is NOT your run of the mill recycling center. It was started in 2006 by a lady artist who used a store front as space to run workshops for kids so that they could learn some arts and crafts. As time went on, they outgrew their space and in 2009 the gov't granted them a huge, empty warehouse. It's amazing how they've converted this space to what it is today...
Before the photos, I'm going to include the mission statement here to help you understand what this non-profit organization is all about...
Entreamigos strives to achieve its mission to increase learning opportunities for children and families through the implementation of educational programs based on principles of integration and collective community action. The vision of Entreamigos is to provide the children and families of San Pancho with the skills needed to contribute to their changing communities in a positive way.
Entreamigos is funded primarily by private donations and relies heavily on the support of volunteers.
We were met at the door by a young man who has been with this organization for several years.
That tree behind him is a work of art, using discarded metal pieces.
This warehouse (bodega) is huge... much larger than you'd guess from outside. And they've used the space well....
There is an information center as you enter... and even a coffee shop/restaurant beside it.
You can see the restaurant in the background....
A large library, including a children's section, has a broad range of books... mostly in Spanish, but I did see some English as well.
They have an internet cafe where computers are available. Not only are computers available but folks are there to help kids with their homework... using the computer or the old fashion way.
There is even a game room where kids can play board games, a gymnasium room and all kinds of after school activities.
There are weekly events and workshops... so many, in fact, that they have a large informational board noting what's happening at what time.
We saw these pieces of recycled culvert fastened to a wall... they are great places to leave your books or backpack or whatever.
I said this was a recycling center... it is... only more...
These folks are getting ready for a parade which is on Saturday's calendar. Look at the size of that fish! My photo just doesn't do it justice! We saw several areas where folks were working on something for the parade. The place is celebrating their 10th anniversary... maybe it's for that.
This lady is cutting up recycled denim jeans and making stuffed toys from them. That's a whale to her left... a finished product. You can see how well her area is organized to make her job more efficient.
The glass recycling area is in the back... bottles are sorted by color and then washed in another area. There is a glass cutting studio where folks (all properly garbed and with eye protection) use equipment to cut those bottles into things like drinking glasses, wine glasses, vases or other objects.
Plastic bottles are collected all over town... there are receptacles to deposit your empties and they are picked up regularly. They are sent away to a company that makes them into a board-like material. Think of fiberboard like you buy at Home Depot, only here it is all plastic. These table tops and chair seats are constructed of that plastic product.
The building also houses a silk-screen shop. These folks are putting designs on tee-shirts that will be sold in the gift shop. those colorful panels in the foreground are sheets of the recycled plastic bottles.
They even have a thrift store... clothes and household items have been given a chance for a new life.... all part of the recycling philosophy of the center.
But they also have a lovely gift shop... featuring items that have been made here. On the left is a glass display... on the right are tee shirts and shopping bags and the such. There is really a big variety of available goods here... art work as well as useful household items.
This ceiling features clear plastic bottles, with the ends painted... when lit up it creates a work of art. It's pretty amazing how many ways ordinary "trash" can be used again!
This lady is looking at a photography display of a "before" and "after". In a few short years, these folks have taken a huge, old, dirty, unused warehouse and transformed it into a bright, colorful multi-purpose building... One that not only finds a use for discarded clothing and other things a lot of us would just throw in the trash, but also has provided educational experiences for people of all ages.
I'm sure this building and all it's meanings, have made the residents of San Pancho more aware of the impact recycling can make. And the needs of kids to keep them creative and occupied. I was certainly impressed with it all.
That's All For Today!