Saturday, May 5, 2012

Safety First

Grab this related post Widget!
Ecuador is described as a third world country, but Cuenca isn't exactly a third world city. Sure, we have lots of beautiful old structures,

but Cuenca also has modern buildings

and shopping malls.

And the "information superhighway" definitely has an exit ramp that says "Cuenca."

(Those aren't live wires hanging there, are they? Nah--impossible!)

So in many ways you could say our city is a blend of the old and the new,

(Two Direct TV dishes?? I've only got one :-()

but if there's one area where this place is firmly rooted in the 21st century, it's in the ever-present safety measures to protect our citizens from harm.

For instance, fireworks, while dangerous, are a big part of celebrations here. Precaution is always taken to make sure no one is standing too close.

Cuenca is a pedestrian city. The sidewalks are kept in pristine condition so no one trips

and curbing is meticulously uniform. Observe these two different corners of the same intersection:

Mirror images, am I right?

New condos and offices are coming out of the ground all over town.

(Um, what's crooked, that building or everything else in the photo?)

and no expense is spared to use the latest ultra-modern equipment.

People freely walk through these construction sites, so extreme care must be taken to prevent accidents.

(Notice the safety tape)

Open manholes are carefully covered

and walkways are built across open water.

When completed all standard safety features are included, like these handrails in the stairwell of our own apartment building.

This little pictorial is presented with tongue placed firmly in cheek. Sure, some things here aren't as "safe" as we were used to in our previous lives. But there's a concept in play in this culture that has been largely forgotten in the US called "personal responsibility." If you get hit with fireworks you must have been standing too close. If you step in an open manhole you weren't paying attention. There's no question more could be done in the area of safety, but given a choice between under-regulation and over-regulation, I'll take Door #1 every time.


by Ana Lucia Castelo said...

You are so right about that!!!!!
I am a Brazilian/American citizen and i'v been in North America for so many years and I see how litle by litlle we loose our liberty to be replaced with "security".
My husband was born in Ecuador and we are planing to live in Cuenca and I can't wait to walk in irregular sidewalk, go to doctors office and spend much more than 7 minutes with the doctor e they will tell me what I have without been afraid of loosing their licence, bring my kids to school and not to a military system that wants them to be number one in grades but forgets their young minds that dreams and wants time for that.
I really like US, but we are willing to experience what we had when we lived back home, and that's what I want for my kids. Meantime I listen to what Ron Paul has to teach us ALL.

Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Excellent post, in Norte America we are all too blameless and sue happy, take responsibility and LIVE! Can't wait to join you all...