January 13th

PARAGUAY, Mordochka, is a small country in South America where this wonderful story is from. It’s a true story, too, because the most wonderful stories are always true, not make believe.

     There’s a place in Paraguay called Cateura. Cateura is a place where many people throw their trash. But it is also a place where other people live. They are very poor and their lives are hard. Their lives are hard not only because they’re poor, but because they’ve been made to think their lives are no better than trash. 

     But one man didn’t believe that and all it took was one man, Mordochka, to prove that what the people had been made to believe was false. He is a famous musician named Luis Szaran. He had an amazing idea that he was sure could bring hope and a new future to the people of Cateura. His idea was to fill the children of Cateura with beautiful music—that they themselves would make.

     At first, the people in Cateura didn’t trust him because they didn’t understand his idea. They thought he was there to sell them something or take something from them. But Luis told the people he didn’t want money. He wanted to teach their children how to play beautiful music for free. Finally, the people believed him. But then he had another problem. 

     Luis didn’t have enough instruments for all the children. Good instruments are expensive. These families hardly had money for food. But then Luis had another idea. Why not teach the men of Cateura how to make instruments out of the trash? At first every- one said you can’t do it. It’s simply impossible. But do you know, Mordochka, they did it! They actually made all the instruments you need to form an orchestra . . . and all from trash.   

     Now the children have an orchestra that travels all over the world making beautiful music. The people of Cateura feel good about something in their lives. They say, when the world gave us trash, we gave music back. But what they have to give others is more than music. It’s hope.  That’s important, Mordochka, to give people a way to give to others—and to give them hope. Let’s go watch a video of the children playing:


—We learned about this story online.

*** ONE of our readers found this slightly longer, and very inspiring, video. We are adding it to this story with much gratitude:


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