Pimp my cart, Brazilian edition

In an awesomely titled site called Goats and Soda, NPR looks at cool ways that people are making a difference around the world.  The story that caught my eye is called “MTV Pimps Cars, Brazil Pimps Trash Carts“.  It details the work of Mundano, a Brazilian street artist that is aiming to change the way that residents view catadores, scavengers that search for recyclable material and “haul away more than 50,000 tons of recyclable waste each day.”  Mundano argues that residents see the scavengers as either invisible or as a nuisance: “[The communities] don’t look at these people; they don’t say ‘good morning’ or ‘thank you.'”

Mundano and friends have repaired and pimped 200 recyclable carts since beginning in 2007 and it seems to be having an effect.  Residents are stopping to talk to the catadores and ask for pictures of their carts. Here are a couple of examples:

cart1

“My work is honest, how about yours?”

cart2

“One catadore does more than an environmental minister.”

In a heartwarming turn, Mundano’s project has turned into something much bigger.  The article explains that “Twice a year, dozens of volunteers in Brazil donate their time and money to catadores passing by. Mechanics and artists renovate the raggedy trash carts. Eye doctors, psychologists and massage therapists tend to the pickers. Veterinarians examine their dogs. The catadores are also given safety gear: bright shirts so they’re more visible at night, mirrors to see oncoming traffic, gloves, raincoats and glasses.”

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