Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Sweeping La Paz
Sweeping is an essential part of life in La Paz. It seems as if every homeowner, shopkeeper, and restaurant worker begins the day by sweeping up the sand and dirt on the sidewalk and street in front of his or her domain. In the last month, while we have been renting a small house in La Paz, the Captain has taken to sweeping every morning. He now knows all the neighborhood sweepers and has earned their respect for his diligence.
But that's just day-to-day sweeping. A whole other level of cleanup follows big rains. There are no storm sewers in La Paz, so when there is heavy rain the streets become rivers, washing dirt and sand down from the surrounding hills. There were unusually heavy rains in September, before we arrived in La Paz, and then two days of rain in early October as Hurricane Paul passed nearby. Lots of dirt was deposited along the streets.
The governor of Baja California Sur decided to begin a program utilizing people power to clean up the streets. Over the past few weeks, we've encountered great gangs of people working in an area - sometimes as many as fifty or sixty people along a block-long stretch of street, each armed with a broom and sporting a team tee shirt. These are people of all ages, men and women, teenagers, energetic sweepers and some less vigorous, hired for the day of cleanup. They are accompanied by a few professional supervisors and one or two trucks to take away the dirt. All in all, it's an impressive community effort, and maybe a testimony to the local love of sweeping.