How To Skillfully Rescue Leftovers Madagascar Style

Skillfully Rescue Leftovers -“Don’t make excuses for not working – make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now” – Austin Kleon – Steal like an artist

I received a lesson in story writing and how to skillfully rescue leftovers in August 1993.  I was assigned to a team of four to conduct a Civil Aviation Assessment of the country of Madagascar’s aviation system.
It was a two-week trip including travel to and from the assignment, so the majority of our time in the country was spent taking care of business.  We did, however, have a few hours to take in the sights here and there (yes, I got to see lemurs in the wild).
One side trip was a trip over lunch break to the large local outdoor market along L’ Avenue de l’Independance.  It was massive.  We found some treasures to bring back as gifts and remembrances.
As we walked back from the market, there were stray vendors along the street with their wares spread out on the ground.

Thrift Madagascar Style

One vendor had dozens of handmade “toys” he had fabricated from discarded metal cans. The work was extraordinary and the detail amazing.  As we shopped, he continued his work using only a pair of small metal snips, blocks of wood for forms, and pliers.
No glue or J.B. Weld but rather He used small drops of ore of some kind. Melted over a tiny gas burner in a tiny metal pot to spot weld joints, the process took skill and care.  However, most of the assembly came about using only skill in precise bending and molding the pieces together.
In the end, I bought a model of a VW bug for my husband.  The cute biplane above, I purchased for myself.  Both were at embarrassingly low prices.  However, assured by my hosts that it was a generous sum for the vendor, especially since I paid in US Dollars, I relaxed a bit.  We both were happy.  I tried not to feel like the ugly American.

Skillfully Rescue Leftovers

Very little on this island nation goes to waste.  Foraging dumpsites to find materials from which to make things to reuse employs a large segment of the population.  Recycling in its purest form.
As an American who knows how blessed she is, the poverty I witnessed tugged at my heart.  Yet, I admired their thrift and ingenuity, even if it is by necessity rather than choice.

Whenever I scratch my itch to up-cyclere-purpose and recycle, I think about this little airplane made of tin and the how-tos it represents;

  • Use what is at hand.
  • Think creatively – outside the box
  • Be adventurous
  • Be courageous
  • Accept that it may take multiple “prototypes” to get to “it”

It seems no matter what our economic state, the instinct to steward well what we have at hand seems universal.  Or maybe it is just Kansas in me.

Skillfully Rescued Leftovers Formed Into Stories

Skillfully Rescue Leftovers
A Book of my father’s writings. A compilation of day-to-day bits formed into a story! Available by clicking on the picture.

Rescuing lost stories is akin to rescuing discarded materials.  One bit may seem insignificant.  Yet when reformed and added to other bits of leftover lore, it takes on new life and significance.


  • just like this metal drink can become toy biplane, your fragments of stories can take on new life.

Be sure to download the FREE Five Legacy Stories You Can Write PDF and begin to rescue YOUR leftovers today!


I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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