one difference between Michigan and Kenya is how construction is done. for example, my apartment in on Main Street trapped in the middle of Michigan and Illinois street. on Illinois street there has been repaving going on since i’ve moved in on August 15th. our little strip of Main street gets pushed in between big, orange and white striped construction signs. then, orange construction cones litter the sidewalks for a few days until they decided they’re going to take down the signs, removed the cones, and go on with their days without even finishing the road. layers and layers of smelly asphalt have been placed on the torn apart ground but, without fail, there’s going to be a buh buhmp when you drive onto the old pavement from the new. after a few days off the decide they want to paint our block orange again and continue paving.
today, as i walked to get a tool from a local bike shop, i had to walk across the intersection, which is currently in one of it’s working days. as my shoes stuck to the newly laid asphalt and my nostrils burned with the smell of the spread toxins on the ground, leaking into the air, i worried about the workers. if walking through the intersection (quickly, because i hate the smell of hot asphalt) gives me a headache and makes my stomach feel ill, then what do the people working on it all day feel like? it can’t be good for their health. i would imagine their lungs would be filled with black asphalt, similar to the lack tar coated lungs of a smoker. i would imagine their job is hurting them. but it’s how they make money and it’s the only way America knows.
on the contrary, in Kenya, people paved the roads by throwing rocks from wheel barrows onto the ground. after the through enough rocks out to smooth into a nice surface, they placed bigger rocks on top of it sporadically, so people couldn’t drive on it until they settled. these bigger rocks were found at a near by construction site where people stood on dirt inclines, digging a trench, using shovels and their hands to lay a pipe so they could receive water. there were no cones. no bright reflectors. no machines. no noise. and, besides the mothers with babies wrapped around their back, i didn’t worry for a single one of those worker’s health. if anything, they were becoming healthier by doing some sort of physical work. now it’s not that people doing construction here don’t do a lot of work, but when you sit in a machine and dig a hole with a big, metal claw…it’s a lot easier than digging a trench with a shovel. just sayin’.
“the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity, and his ability to affect those around him positively.”–Bob Marley