We met Nubia Aguirres Tapia while she was picking up plastic bottles from the streets of Granada. Nubia, like other very poor families, had known about plastic recycling long before we started to wonder why only aluminum cans were being recycled. Nowadays, the streets, marketplace, and stadium area are much cleaner because of people like Nubia.
Nubia, mother of 6 children, makes a living picking up and selling plastic, aluminum, and newspaper for recycling. Her 4 daughters and 2 sons are between the ages of 4 and 9 years old. They all live together with her and her husband Evaristo Guadamuz in a 2-room house made out of scrap wood and plastic. Evaristo goes to work every day at the city dump, where he also collects anything that can be sold for recycling. They cook inside their home the old fashion way with pilfered wood because they cannot afford a stove. If they had a stove they wouldn’t be able to afford the propane gas to use it. This old fashion cooking helps then save money, but without good ventilation it can cause health problems.
Everyday Nubia walks 2 kilometers from her house in the outskirts of the city to the central historical district. When her enormous, homemade bag is full – weighing in at 70 pounds – she throws it on her head and heads home. A full bag, a whole day’s work, fetches 90 cordobas, or 4.6 cordobas.
Nubia was the catalyst for our recycling project. The Casa Xalteva Recycling Project’s goal is to collect as many recyclable items and so that Nubia’s family can have consistent source of recyclables and some financial security.
Casa Xalteva has been working with Nubia for a year now, and we love it! Not once has Nubia asked Casa Xalteva for money or anything else, and this makes her so special. She is an outstanding HARD WORKING mom who DOESN’T beg, steal, or do anything illegal to support her family. We are already looking into future projects to help Nubia with her house, the way she transports her huge bags, and with education for at least one of her children.