So much Cabo love! Yo Reciclo - Amueblando El Parque

The group of students and volunteers who made the event a success!

In December we went to Cabo San Lucas to participate in one of the many workshops held by Yo Reciclo - Los Cabos, Destination Collection’s local partner.

Yo Reciclo - Los Cabos teamed up with a local architecture class to design and build park benches in a community park. The benches not only helped to clean up the park, they were made out of recycled materials and the unique design of each bench represents and promotes what human rights means to each group. Best yet, all park benches surround a newly planted mango tree with the hopes that the community will embrace communal gardening and enjoy a healthy snack with their visit to the park.

Students groups were charged with designing their benches utilizing mostly recycled products. For example, the benches Melissa and I worked on were made out of scrap wood and rocks collected from the surrounding area. We mixed cement with dirt and gravel from the park and used minimal purchased items (nails, paint, etc.) Other groups utilized old glass and plastic bottles, bottle caps and tires to create their benches. The final products were both unique and beautiful.

These beautiful structures were not created quickly though. The group had already spent 5 days throughout the summer planning, designing and starting the physical labor of the project. We joined them on the 6th and final day of the project. Our team started at 7:30am and began to help them pick up where they left off the previous month. To preserve the work they had previously done, many teams buried the work that was completed in prior workshops. This meant we had to dig out our project in order to start. Jay (Mel’s husband)

jumped right in and spent a better part of the morning digging out sand filled plastic bottles which were buried in the hole the mango tree would eventually live.

Our group started the day by digging our mango tree hole. While this seems like an easy task, the ground was very hard and it put our shoveling skills to the test. 80 cm never seemed so far!

After what felt like reaching China in our digging effort, we placed the mango tree and then filled the hole back up with the gravel/dirt we had just pulled out.

Next up, bench stabilization. Our group had previously constructed our bench out of rocks and cement debri from past construction projects. Now, our job was to pack the park bench’s structure in and stabilize it with cement. With the use of some old 2”x 4”, a metal screen and some nails we created a sifter which took the gravel from the park from a rough to fine grain. This process was not easy or quick. It did however show us how to create something beautiful with very minimal materials.

As the day winded down, we embarked on the final steps to our bench which included sanding the wood and applying a fresh coat of stain to the top. We used old plastic bottles to hold our stain, again reusing as much as we could. Our team celebrated our achievement with a fabulous photo and a bit of rest in the shade.

One of the most beautiful elements of our day was the authentic hospitality of everyone at the event. Multiple meals/snacks were served (all were homemade) and they made effort to come by each group several times during the day to encourage members to take a break, grab a drink, and enjoy each others company. From the fast paced world of our lives in the US, this struck even more of a chord as it is something we really are not used to doing. We are programmed to go, go, go. Get the project done and onto the next mentality. This was not the case in Cabo. This was not only an event to complete a project, it was also creating a community that understands and believes in the mission of the group. It left us with gratitude, energy, and love for the experience we shared.

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