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Monday through Thursday of our last week in South Africa, we made a pit stop on the way to the project site. This pit stop wasn’t to Starbucks or a McDonalds for a quick coffee, but instead was to pick up trash. Bags and bags of plastic soda bottles. These plastic soda bottles were actually being used to build a greenhouse. Throughout the week, we would build a structural greenhouse out of wood and recycled soda bottles collected in Nomzamo township. While some bottles were surprisingly clean, others were covered in sticky residue. This at first made the drive a bit uncomfortable but we soon adjusted. Each morning we’d climb into the car, drive a little, and pile trash on top of ourselves. This was the inspiration for the musical.

The impressive work that we did in such a short amount of time makes me proud to be part of our group.

Since trash was literally on top of us and we sometimes couldn’t even see each other, we had to rely on our voices only for entertainment during these car rides. I’m not exactly sure who started it, but someone in the back seat started singing “trash” and soon everyone followed in various (but all tone deaf) pitches. Now that I write this down I realize how weird this all sounds. Imagining a van filled with trash and a couple of 20 year olds singing the word trash. But in the moment it was just what we did to pass the time. We spent A LOT of time in the bus during our trip and it somehow never felt like too long because of the many laughs we all shared.

While we didn’t get to completely finish the greenhouse on our trip, the impressive work that we did in such a short amount of time makes me proud to be part of our group. We turned used plastic soda bottles, or for a more concise term “trash,” into a sustainable facet for the community. And we began producing a musical! Stay tuned for tour dates.

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