FEBRUARY 18, 2012

Beth Writing

Beth Writing


Chapusero is a Spanish word that refers to someone who makes what they need from what they find or have laying around. This word describes part of my experience in Guatemala. When we arrived in Vera Cruz there was no store to buy materials if you needed them. Jenn and I adapted the projects we did to what we could get. There was a small amount of wood to use the first couple of days, but the table saw blade was burnt out and fused to its shaft, so we had no way to process wood after the first two days. We turned our eyes outward and looked at the environment. There was a ton of bamboo. By the time the kids came for a lesson we had figured out how to make a variety of flutes and marimbas. All these project just required hand tools. Later we took all the left over bamboo and made small containers for pouring salt or holding candles. Jen took all the small pieces of wood we had left and designed a candle stand that was quite popular with all our students. I made knives with some students that were well received. When women in the village saw the knives they started sending their kitchen knives with broken handles up to our shop (porch) to fix. We taught a young man named Luis how to fix them and he did two and then taught Horhay who taught Juan …….. This is how Jenn and I had envisioned this project. We teach you and then you become the teacher. This is what Turning Around America is to us, Empowering people to empower other people. We hope to go back in a year and see the chain reaction. Matt understands the word Chapusero. He and his family all drive cars, which they repair, from parts of other cars. Matt found an old lathe made from a car deferential, but it was in pieces, so jenn and I made a stand for it and Matt chain sawed a tailstock to fit the metal parts. Between all of our efforts we made a lathe powered by a hand crank. We all played with it and one community member used it to make tennon joints for his stool. His wife cranked the handle for him while the baby bounced on her back. I was very aware of how people joined things together, the bamboo walls of their homes, the foiled cover wire birdcage shapes they used for ovens. The strips of tire inner tube   used to tie pieces of pipe, bamboo and metal. I started thinking about waste. I had just seen The Story Of Stuff before I left on this trip so it was in my head. In the last two days I have been looking around my house thinking about the objects in it and how they could be used

Working by candle light


Jenn fixing Lathe in San Lucas

Lathe in action- one person cranks handle, and one person turns

About turningaroundamerica

Collaborative Team of Jenn Moller and Beth Ireland
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