Recycling as a Building Solution
Later that week the roles are reversed when we visit Casa Tambor. The Beerens and Molenaar families have been given a piece of dry land a few kilometres outside of Mindelo, with the assignment to make something of it. In just six months they have created a unique place to stay. Ocke tours us around the site. “We want to save natural resources and have a limited budget, so we have become masters in recycling!” he announces. As we follow him around the premises, Ocke points out the many places where they have used recycled materials. Both their house and the bar are made of former sea containers, the guest rooms and chairs were previously oil drums, and for beds and fences wooden pallets are used. Even in the choice of its name, the recycling concept rings through. “Tambor is another word for oil drum,” Ocke explains.
Every corner is decorated with paintings. A portrait of the famous Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora adorns the bar. “Local artists have painted the buildings,” explains Fleur. “We wanted to create a unique place, where both foreigners and Cape Verdeans like to stay.” We are impressed by the many applications that the families have found to reuse materials, and how beautiful Casa Tambor has become. They truly manage to demonstrate the beautiful things that can be made of materials from the island.
Tiling with Plastic Waste
“Do you know how to tile?” Ocke asks. “We have never done it, so we think we can do it”, Ivar replies tongue-in-cheek, citing Pippi Longstocking. Ocke nods in appreciation. The quote appeals to his hands-on, entrepreneurial mentality, which comes in handy here. “We still have a tile job on our to-do-list, so let’s join forces”, Ocke suggests. With the cameras breathing in our necks, we get to work. Despite our amateur status, not much later a previously white wall is covered with colourful tiles. “Well done boys!” Fleur praises us. “Do you know that these tiles are very special?” she asks. “They are made of plastic waste that littered the Cape Verdean islands. A factory on the neighbouring island makes them, and we are their first customers”, Fleur explains with some pride. “We have to check that out”, Floris exclaims enthusiastically.