What do you do with your paper scraps? Not much, right? Neither did we. Nor the rural community of Cangrejo in the Nicaraguan jungle tucked in their off-grid splendor. What do we all have in common? We don't like trash. It's ugly, and it's smelly; we find ways to get rid of it. However, it is a substantial part of our lives: we live, consume, and create waste. And so also the school has its paper waste, quarantine got long and well - we came up with a simple idea to give scraps a second life.
Together with Marcela, the professor, and the community leader, we have started to implement the paper production in April 2020. Besides being able to offer an engaging activity for the kids, it is also manual work that instills motivation, patience, and hope in the community as a whole. The importance of using materials that are known to the locals, to change perspectives, to give new life to trash...well, it does not only make our hearts happy but also lets the community thrive on new adventures. To many more to come!
We divided the project into three phases to have an understanding of how funds need to be allocated if the desired output is not achieved or extends in time and plan accordingly without wasting resources
PHASE ONE | $500
• Using paper trash, implementing natural fibers
• Creating a consistent paper mold and define a mixture
• Understanding proper pressing and drying techniques while adapting them to local weather conditions depending on seasons
• Create a natural bonding agent either from animal fat or from corn starch (deteriorates in time)
• Finishing the paper and store it properly
PHASE TWO | $2,000 Per Work Station
Create workspace layout and gather materials to upgrade production
• Define the availability of the workspace with the community leader and understand how to subdivide the space considering the work that needs to be done inside (the five papermaking steps: creating fiber, molding, putting in place, pressing, drying + storage)
• Understand which parts need to be fixed and how this quantifies monetarily considering the community workforce
• While restoring the workspace, gather needed materials to implement an electrical paper grinder and create new grates
PHASE THREE | $2,000
Maintain Consistent workflow and output
• Understand who is the project leader, how many people wish to partake regularly, and thus commit to learning a new skill
• See how the activity can be included and expanded to the school schedule as well so that there is a binding aspect between adults and children
• Enforce letter writing to the community and the world
• Guarantee optimal paper output throughout the next nine months and have the first market feedback as soon as we have the paper at our sellers in the first quarter of 2022
The project tries to be a balanced combination of available resources on the ground, shared learning, and human-paced development across communities with international relationships
• If the project develops as planned, the workstations can be multiplied and responsibilities can be enlarged.
• We guarantee to further develop the relationships with paper-making institutions to make the word of the Cangrejo community be heard.
Please note that some costs are gauged. We will try to utilize recycled products that we retrieve on the ground mainly and, if necessary, adapt our plan to the local availability of needed materials.
Check out our website to learn more about our Mission and other Projects: https://www.mayseamovement.org/