Put Your Trash Here

Put Your Trash Here

I didn't have much hope of success when I had Franklin (muralist, welder, Condega renaissance man) build this for me.

We clean the street and sidewalk in front of the house everyday, and the clean street was a magnet for wrappers, bottles, corn cobs, you name it.

But! Wonder of Wonders, the people actually use it, to the point where we have to empty it twice a week. This wasn't an original idea, there were a couple of German girls here for three months, and during their stay these receptacles with a "Gift of the people of some German town" on them started appearing around Condega.

My "Put Your Trash Here" is more to the point.

Which proves, given the appropriate tools, people will improve their lives (or at least mine).

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Great idea!

Great idea!

That's great

A one man anti-litter campaign.

Just realized

It's missing a little roof for the rainy season.

Most of the ones the International Rotary people put up

…in Jinotega had the bottoms rust out. Best material for the job would be sun-resistant plastic with holes in the bottom except that plastic bins get stolen (had it happen to me with a garbage bin I left out too long, just shrugged and put the lid out on the street so they had the set). I don't think the ones near the banks disappear since they've got 24/7 guards.

Rebecca Brown

We Started Out With

a plastic garbage sack liner, thinking it would be easier to pull the trash out every week.

The liner disappeared overnight the first night it was there. The whole thing is painted with an anti-corosivo, but rust is like dust here: everywhere.

Anything that is not inside your gate overnight is considered fair game: you must not want it that bad. KInd of like talking about robbing a tourist on the east coast:

"a Gringa walking on the beach? That's like finding money on the ground".

Different country,, different culture. Starts at the top.

The roof idea intrigues me, it would differentiate mine from the others. I like being one step higher on the food chain. I'll talk to Franklin. I need both art AND functionality.


In Bocas del Toro, Panama, the sudden downpours can sink boats, so everything has a roof. It might prevent some of the rust below it.


Were they solid or like the ones in the picture? I'm pretty sure the ones on the east side of Panama had roofs.

Metal Mesh on the bottom

Some of them haven't rusted out, but most have.

I've had garbage guys ask me if I wanted my plastic bag back -- this is a really poor country and I suspect that some people do want that plastic bag back.

I've also caught (once) kids starting to tear open my bags to sort through it. The drill is never put the garbage out early, wait until you see the truck and then get your can back immediately from the guys on the truck. I'm very happy with the early morning pickup on this block.

I had rain coming through the bottom of my front door that was two steps up from the street where I used to live. I don't think a roof will keep the rain out if it's going sideways, which rain does from time to time here.

People sometime put their trash in the bottomless trash bins -- it's somewhere that's set up for the guys to pick up the garbage, in or under, lo mismo.

I've also had people ask if I were putting things on the curb for anyone who wanted the items, so no stereotype fits everyone anywhere. When I was in the other house, lots of people came in to look at it. Nothing went missing. I've said several times that I trust middle class Nicaraguans as much or more than I'd trust middle class expats. If anyone starts in with "peace and love," I trust them less than I'd trust the guy who robbed me. At least he was honest about wanting to rob me (body language), and I got most of my things stored with friends. The Peace and Love people want as much money from others as possible and it's mean and stuff not to give it to them.

Rebecca Brown