Trash Burning Adventure 1

(written 9/2)

As a general rule people, especially children, watch our every move with rapt attention. It does not matter if we are doing something they find strange (like picking up a dog and petting it) or something completely normal (like washing clothes). Tonight was no exception as we discretely attempted to burn our trash…

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7 Responses to Trash Burning Adventure 1

  1. I enjoy reading about the cultural belief systems about which you write, Jamie. Tanzanian ways are so different to my own. Your writings help me imagine how it is. Of course you’re living it. Thanks for doing and sharing your work.

  2. Shawn says:

    In situations like this I usually just shrug my shoulders and say oops. 🙂

  3. Shelby says:

    Here are a couple of suggestions for you on how to deal with some of your trash. These were kind of contained in what you wrote.

    Anything organic you might try to recycle/put to another use. You mentioned that the rice and beans were sure to be eaten by the chickens later. So why even try to burn them? – just feed them to the chickens or other animals directly. Another thing you might try, which would help with your gardening projects, is to compost all organic matter. This will create fertilizer to put back into crops.

    This post reminds me of the song – “We just call it garbage when we don’t know what to do with it”. Since there is no garbage infrastructure in Tabora, you might think about reusing/repurposing anything you are initially inclined to throw out.

  4. Hi, Jamie,
    Thanks for the blog! I feel for you – Sudan was much the same when we were there in the 80’s. There the “dump” was just across the road from us and well scavenged by goats. I once took a load of my glass jars with lids and left them in a pile and a group of women took them. I’m glad that they were put to good use. The beer cans were scavenged and made into a huge number of things, from charcoal stoves for making coffee to boxes with “Heiniken” on the outside. I still have a wooden mortar and a pestle (made from a car engine rod) for grinding the coffee.

    Did you sort the “other” from the food? The rice with mice poop could have been given to the chickens, the (cooked?) beans can be buried or put in the latrine. Would that have caused controversy? Some might say that the rice could be washed and eaten since it needs to be boiled. I surely could not do that, but hungry people have been known to do so.

    My 2 cents: Look really carefully at the “trash” and see if someone can reuse it. Ask one of the Mamas what you should do and explain why you want to get rid of it. You may find that you have gifts to give away. Or precious treasure you just did not recognize.


  5. jamie2seeds says:

    These suggestions are awesome. We’re figuring out a lot of this as we go along- we are going to be starting a composting pile soon- and we are figuring out how to use our trash more creatively. The one thing we’re pretty stuck on is food packaging such as the wrappers for protein bars. We’re not really sure what to do with those.

    • Shelby says:

      Food packaging is difficult, especially clear shrink-wrap plastic. For the wrappers of protein bars you might try a) if they are shiny, you might be able to flatten them out and use them as a reflective surface, such as for insulation or to build a solar oven
      b) using them for art (origami? collage?)

  6. Pingback: The Trash Burning Chronicles, pt. 2 « The Tabora Project

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