The six men, uniform in blue coveralls, get to work.
The sound of their makeshift brooms is the only noise on the playground. It’s a welcome quiet, punctuated by gentle rhythm, sneaking its way in after the boom of the rain.
When rain comes to Accra, it arrives suddenly, barges through without hesitation. A deluge for minutes, even hours, and then it is gone.
Today was one of those longer visits, bringing pooling, erosion, and deposits of sand across the playground.
When the brickwork was laid between the trees next to the court, it seemed like a win. Less sand tracked, more space to walk. But on rainy days, the water loves this new trough. A 5-centimeter deep pool builds, to endure long after the rain is gone.
Today’s solutions are often tomorrow’s problems.
Somebody should clean that up
What a mess
Why can’t we play on the court?
It’s probably a function of space, of location, of where I’m at, but the question is in my head a lot these days: Who does the work?
Today, it’s these six men, uniform in blue coveralls. A fine-tuned machine, they take care of the mess. Sweep, rake, shovel. Rake, shovel, sweep. The puddle is gone, and the playground restored. Just in time for kids and teachers to take it for granted.
It’s a function of privilege; mess on the ground, someone will take care of it; the floor has a spill, someone will take care of it.
Just not me.
At the end of a busy day and week, here I am, feeling tired. I know I worked hard today.
Just not as hard as any of those six men.
This is a lovely tribute to those who do clean up after us! I love the repetition of rake, shovel, sweep. Thank you for slicing.
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So glad you wrote this. There is so much we take for granted. Excellent description Radu.
An honourable tribute to our hardworking men! Thank you for illuminating them.
It is too bad that we so quickly and easily forget who does the dirty work around us to keep us doing what we want to do. A worthy homage to their hard work.
I enjoy your descriptions of the environment there- and the differences in priorities, refreshing!
This post is a big AYEKO. This phrase was taught to me last year. It is used to announce when you see/notice hard work being done. YA YE is the response. Next time you see these amazing 6 man crew at work, give it a try. I like the way you take us from the rain to its effect. Today’s solutions are sometimes tomorrow’s problems.
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