I’m not positive who originally said it, but I recall hearing a rather famous quote that went something like: “A little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.” Meaning that, armed with only a small amount of knowledge or information, a person can make many stupid decisions without knowing all the facts. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Recently, I’ve modified that quote in my head to: “A little bit of development can be an infuriating thing.”
Maybe I’m not understanding what Julien was trying to say, but that is how I interpreted what he and Martha wrote, and made it fit my own paradigm. See, I go to work every weekday at a call center that is completely high-tech and fully outfitted. It has high-speed internet, multiple coffee stations, and vending machines that sell bags of fried plantain chips. All of that is pretty modern, and when I’m doing my thing, I could just as easily be working in
One way or the other, though, after a day of walking about 45 minutes to catch smelly buses and getting sweaty and sticky from the grit of the city, it would be nice to be able to return home and take a shower or even drink a cup of water that doesn’t come from our newly-installed holding tank on our roof. But I can’t because this fucker turns off our water every evening before I get home.
There are also multiple times when our phone and/or electricity goes down. No one really knows why; it’s just what happens. And in some cities around here, they have super-high speed internet. But in Berlín, we can’t even get dialup. In fact, they initially told us it would take two years to get a mere phone line. And people traveling around in packed Hyundai Elantras stop door-to-door to sell the strangest things; one weekend it’s a guy selling mirrors, the next it’s two-for-one pizzas, and the next someone’s offering to give you pots and pans in exchange for your unwanted rings and other items made of gold. Again, I swear this is true.
So in my mind, the problem seems to be the mixing of the old and the new. Or, the developed and the developing. There are many, many aspects of life here that are deeply rewarding, but there are also many that drive me nuts.
The latest piece of news that is leading me to this rant is both sad and disturbing. It was reported in all the papers last week, and if it weren’t both sad and true, it would be a mock headline for The Onion. The event that I am referring to happened last Thursday when a 24-year-old girl was crushed and killed by a banana truck that tipped over in the middle of
This event is just a culmination of so many things involving development and whatever would be the opposite of development. If there were no demand for exporting bananas to Europe and
In any case, this article made me sad, and what made me even sadder is the realization that I will likely continue to read stories like this into the future, and that the only thing that will eventually remedy this developmental imbalance is good, old-fashioned time. And maybe a good booze-fueled cry to get it all out. But one way or other, the message seems to be clear: development is a slow, gradual process, and it’s a painful one at that.