>> Thursday, January 16, 2003

Walking from work to the car park yesterday, I saw something that really got to me. In the last few years, many unemployed here in Montevideo have taken to gathering the trash in little horse-drawn carriages. It's heart-braking enough to see them regularly, but yesterday I noticed one where the horse had been "decorated" with leaves and what looked to be a red and gold Christmas-tree trimming.

What killed me was realizing that the cart driver (who couldn't have been older than 17 at most) must be one of those people who appreciate beauty for its own sake, who feel the need to add those little touches to things to make them a little prettier. And odds are this guy lives in a cantegril (shanty town) and has very little beauty in his life.

This might sound silly, but it was just something which got to me. We've been in a pretty severe recession for the last 4 years, and I thought I'd become inured to sad sights.


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