A little play about trash

The school year is winding down and now we’ve been working on some activities to share with others. Here is a short skit we did for the school that highlights some of the difficulties we have with waste on our campus.

The script:

A Day in the Life of a 4thie, or A Trashy Day

Scene I: Morning in the hostel

Tree (Rukmini): She stretches her arms a bit, and yawns as if waking up from a happy sleep. What a lovely morning. Just listen to the birds chirping on my branches and fluttering through the other trees. It’s mornings like this that make me proud to be a part of nature! But what’s going on down there inside this hostel? Look at those humans. They’re making a mess again. It’s the same story every day!

Marcy akka walks on to the stage to a sea of trash in the middle of a bedroom in a junior hostel.

Marcy akka: What the heck? What’s with all this trash? Why didn’t any of you clean this up before going to sleep?

Four children are sleeping on benches and groggily open their eyes, rubbing their eyes, after hearing Marcy akka yelling.

Makarandh: Wiping his eyes, wearily, groggily waking up. Akka! The pappamas were supposed to sweep up last night before we went to bed, but they bunked their duties!

Marcy akka: Well, who put this trash on the floor of your room in the first place? Who ate Hide and Seek yesterday?

All 4 boys together: Not me!

Marcy akka: Well, then how did all of this garbage wind up here?

Jidvish: Thinking, trying to come up with a good answer. I think Jyothi akka had a birthday party last night and this waste is from her!

Lalith: Yes, that’s it! We heard Ramesh sir and Jyothi akka munching away late into the night!

Marcy akka: Hmmmmm. But there’s so much more here than wrappers from biscuits. Was Jyothi akka sharpening her pencil and doing her maths homework here last night as well?

Vignesh: Actually, akka, we had a house contact with some seniors last night and they are the ones who made such a mess!

Marcy akka: Well, regardless who made the mess, let’s figure out where to put each piece and put them in the correct bins so we can at least recycle everything.

Vignesh: Or, akka, we can also reuse some of these things on the floor instead of throwing them away!

They sweep up the mess, but dust comes into the dust pan along with the other items. So the children pick up each piece separately and throw them into the proper bins. Then they take the broom, sweep up the dust, and put it outside into the dirt.

Jidvish: Look at these coloured pencils. They are almost new. If we just sweep them up and throw them in the trash, that would be a waste!

Makarandh: Here’s some papers that we can reuse later because they are clean on 1 side! We don’t need to throw this in the dust bin. I’ll just put it here on the table so we can use it later.

Lalith: Even this biscuit wrapper could be used to make some nice earrings for my mother. Devika akka taught us how to do this when she was here last week for a workshop.

Marcy akka: This is great! When you put your minds to it, you’ve all got terrific ideas about reducing trash! Now all we have to sweep up is this dust, which I’ll just put right onto this tree here.

Tree: Ahhh, that’s nice. For once they don’t put pieces of trash around my roots! I can breathe freely and share my oxygen with all those creatures around me.

Scene 2: Juice break

Tree: What a beautiful, sunny day! The sky is so blue. I hope many children will come climb me today and feed me some tasty water.

Three children walk towards the bell tree and gather around the bell tree, munching on murku, which one holds in newspaper with ketchup, one eating biscuits, and another fruit, all of which they carried with them from the hostel.

Niya: That was yummy murku!

Niya rolls her ketchup drenched newspaper into a ball and throws it into the plant beneath the bell tree.

Tree: Groaning. Why do they always throw trash on me? It makes it so hard for me to grow! All I do is give them beautiful oxygen and look at what I get in return!

Nithania: Normally I like sweets, that’s why I eat biscuits for juice break. But these biscuits aren’t very tasty today.

Nithania chucks the biscuits, with a few remaining cookies in the package, at the tree.

Tree: Groaning once more. Ugh! More garbage! And look at the food they waste, too! Don’t they know there are starving children in India? And toxic multi-layered foil packaging at that! How can these children mistake a tree for a dust bin?

Ria: I don’t know why you guys always snack on those things when you can have such yummy food like apples!

Ria finishes her orange and throws the core at the tree.

Tree: Ahhhhh! Now that’s more like it! See, if these children learned to eat nice, natural food then they could throw it on me and I could use it to protect the water in my soil that feeds my roots.

Scene 3: The 4thie classroom

All the children sit at their desks, writing, drawing, or working on some school assignment.

Eshanekaa: I can never draw a picture like I want to! It always comes out funny.

Eshanekaa rolls the paper into a ball and throws it on the floor. Krish and Naail get up and begin to play football with it.

Tree: Look at the way these children waste paper! Don’t they know they are using my ancestors–my grandparents, aunts, uncles–to create this paper that they so easily throw “away”!

Gohitha: Hey, you don’t need to throw that paper on the floor! The other side was perfectly clean and you could have drawn on that, too!

Krish: Well, it also makes a great football!

Naail: But, if she didn’t ball it up, we could have made a paper airplane with it!

Gohitha: Yes, and many other origami shapes, too.

Gohitha folds a paper into a nice origami shape to show the audience.

Eshanekaa: Those are great ideas! Maybe we can ask Parita akka if we can keep a dhobi basket in our classroom so we can reuse paper!

Gohitha: That’s good! When you really think about it, you don’t need to buy so many toys. We have lots of terrific ways to make toys here out of what we might normally throw away. 

Naail: That way we can reduce what we buy and not make so much garbage!

Krish: And maybe we can also save some trees!

Tree: Well, that’s a little better. At least they see that I am a living being, too!

Scene 4: House parent’s quarters

The children are baking banana bread with their houseparent.

Tree: Something smells good in that hostel over there!

Marcy akka: Since none of you finished eating the bananas this week and we don’t want to waste them, we’ll make a banana bread out of them.

Vaibhav: Yummy! I love banana bread, even more than bananas!

Marcy akka begins to pass various ingredients to the children and as they use up various items–banana peels, egg shells, butter wrapper, plastic sugar container–she throws them all into a single bin.

Tree: Look at these grown-up humans! Always making such a mess! At least the children seem to be learning, but I wish they’d listen to the children more.

Rinchen: Akka! Why are you throwing organic and inorganic waste together in the same bin? Don’t you know that the banana peels and eggshells can be composted?

Marcy akka: What is composting?

Maya: Composting is when you separate organic waste. Anything that was once alive is organic, like food, hair, nails. Inorganic waste is plastic, paper, metal, glass. When you put the organic waste in the ground, it helps build nice, healthy soil for you to use in your garden.

Prahasit: Yes, akka, my mother composts and the soil in the pit was so rich that a mango tree started growing in it. In another year or so, we’ll be able to eat mangoes from it!

Marcy akka: I had no idea! That sounds like a wonderful thing to do!

Rinchen: Let’s start separating the organic and inorganic waste tonight and then tomorrow we can help dig a pit in the garden. Maybe we can grow banana trees so we can make more banana cakes!

Marcy akka throws a plastic bottle into the trash without rinsing it first.

Manojna: Akka, you need to rinse the bottle before throwing it away! Otherwise you can’t sell it to the scrap dealer and it can’t easily be reused.

Prahasit: Yes, also if you don’t rinse the jars and wrappers before putting them in the bins the monkeys may come and make a huge mess!

Tree: See, the children understand! They don’t want to live in a community full of trash!

Marcy akka: Oh, thank you for telling me Manojna. I didn’t realise that. What else do you know about waste?

All the children come on to the stage together

Everyone: Reduce what you buy! Reuse what you own! Recycle what you can no longer use! Compost your organic waste!



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