Features — 05 January 2019
That road is a disaster for villagers

You can be an educated disaster

Being able to do math is considered a sign of intelligence. Hmm, some of us prize physicality, but after David slew Goliath we have grudgingly accepted that brain power will very often get over brawn.

There are a number of fields where math is essential. Engineers, architects, chemists, have to be good at math. Unfortunately, intelligence does not always serve people. It should, but it doesn’t. Math can serve people, and it also can serve robots. If you are intelligent but robotic/mechanical, you belong in a laboratory or a drawing room. You shouldn’t be anywhere near where decisions are made for the benefit of people.

Political leader Patrick Rogers is one who also has the math. Patrick is an accountant. Patrick said that he came home when he finished his studies abroad because he didn’t want to contribute to the brain drain. I believe that Patrick would agree that it is better that some brains, those that are robotic/mechanical, get drained abroad. People who are greedy, or are unseeing or disrespectful of our people and our culture, we want them far away from us.

Math can be used to create a bomb to destroy the world. They are intelligent people, yes, but they are a menace to the human race.

An educated disaster got his road

Sometime in the 1990’s I got into an argument with an engineer while drinking at a club in my village. I explained that the road passing through Camalote needed speed bumps, at least until we got a pathway for pedestrians. He argued that the road through Camalote was a highway and that no one places speed bumps on a highway.

I agreed that the road through Camalote served as a highway, but it was also our “Albert Street.” I said that we can throw blame about how it developed/evolved that people live all along both sides of the highway, but the fact is what it is. He said that a highway is for business, and you can’t slow down transportation for people who were living in the wrong place. He said we would have to adjust the way we lived because the road that passed through our village was a highway.

Initially, the engineer lost. Speed bumps/ramps were placed all along the highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena. But now that we are getting the “new” rehabilitated highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena, it looks like minds who share the robotics of the “mechanical” engineer have won. The rehab road is a monster. No speed bumps can save this. And I see no place where a proper pathway will go. This road through the villages out here is way out scary crazy.

They have elevated the road and they have widened it.  There are deep drains on the sides and it is wide, must be about 45 to 50 ft. across.  Already, one of my village sister’s has given up on walking. She used to walk about 800 yards each way to/from her work each day, sometimes on the side of the highway and sometimes on an unfinished pathway in the village. She now catches a bus to work. The volume of traffic hasn’t increased, but the speed on the wide, unfinished road scares her.

She used to do about twenty to twenty-five minutes walking to/from work each day. If you did the count you would see that between seven in the morning and seven in the evening, more than five vehicles pass through the village every minute. Five vehicles passing by every minute means 100 vehicles will pass by her when she is walking to/from her work. It was bad enough before. Now, a lot of vehicles are doing 60 plus miles per hour through here. She understands numbers. The numbers on this highway have gone from bad to terrible.

Whoever designed this road has to understand numbers, so then, they don’t care. Whoa, you don’t have to know the entire alphabet to know that if you make a race track everyone will become a race car driver.

Wow, when they started I was sure we’d get a pathway

Julius Espat, the area representative for Cayo South, told the nation some months ago that the government didn’t include a pathway for villagers in the plan for the rehab highway. Let’s just say I thought he was in error. But, to my great shock, he was right.

Sometimes you see things and because what is going on is so preposterously crazy, you don’t believe what you see. Well, they’ve just completed asphalting the section of rehabilitated road through Roaring Creek and now we can no longer disbelieve our eyes. There is no pathway in Roaring Creek and it is near impossible to see where they could put it.

Something is criminally wrong here. This is really terrible. The architects of the rehab highway between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena have no respect or love for villagers or our culture. You know what it looks like these people are going to do? These people are going to put a white line on the side of the highway and call it a pathway. Incredible!

My, how will oldsters or pregnant women or little children get to the other side of this road when it takes people in those categories near ½ a minute to cross?

Five reasons why the pathway was a necessity

A pathway, off the road, is important for basic safety, stress reduction, village interaction (life), exercise, village business. If the architects of this road had any soul, we would have had the pathway from Roaring Creek to Santa Elena. Cayo ministers will have to explain why they signed off on this!

The rehab road is wide, much wider than the road it “improved”, so pedestrians and cyclists will have greater separation from vehicles. But the wider road will encourage more speed and that will blow away any such safety gains.

The drains are deep – 3 feet, 5 feet, even 8 feet deep. If a young cyclist wobbles, or an oldster stumbles, or anyone has a momentary bout of lightheadedness, they could fall in and end up seriously hurt.

A white line on the side of the road will not ensure the safety of people who aren’t in vehicles. The stress for villagers will be unbearable. Would government ministers who agreed to this new rehab road send their children to school on foot or on their little bikes, when all that separates them from the traffic is a white line? Would they walk or ride a bike on a highway when all that separates them from vehicles is a white line?

There is risk in life. Most seamen can navigate through weather that calls for a small craft warning, but it is not without stress on them and their loved ones. Cyclists use the road to train for races. Cyclists use the road to go to work. We accept a certain amount of stress in our lives. But intelligent people don’t go looking for stress, and people who care do not pile stress on others. Stress is the number one cause of most diseases, mental and physical. This is a scary crazy road.

Someone must think that we are living in materially wealthy USA, where everyone has a motor car in their garage. In a village, we walk or ride a bike to where we want to go most of the time.

Stress is behind many diseases, and so also is lack of exercise. We talk about battling obesity and heart disease and diabetes, and then we build a highway that stops us from exercising.

We’ve heard the description – idyllic, peaceful village. Out here, in a village, we know our neighbors. We walk, or run, or ride a bike to go and visit our neighbors or attend village functions. Human beings are special, but on the physical side we are just advanced animals. And this “advancement” has completely obliterated our corridor.

Village businesses will suffer. Instead of a healthy walk to the shop, you now have to drive. Belize doesn’t make automobiles and Belize doesn’t manufacture refined fuels. It is ridiculous.

People who read my column (from Sixes & Sevens to Colin bh to Colin Hyde) know that I have used this space to plug for a pathway in my village and pathways in villages across this country. I have touched some about my becoming political/unethical to forward the pathway in my village. If I get a break next week I just might run the full depth of that story.

They would dare call it futuristic

Everyone knew that the road between Roaring Creek and Santa Elena would one day become a “one lane bridge”, not sufficient for the traffic. Well, it was our expectation that when we reached there, the government would put in the connecting links and develop the parallel road that runs from Roaring Creek, behind Camalote and Teakettle, all the way past S-Curve. It’s there; it’s been there for decades.

That new bridge going up (across the stream called Roaring Creek) to replace a functioning bridge just a few feet north of it, was to be located a couple hundred yards to the south, to connect the parallel road with the Hummingbird Highway. Oh my, these people are beating their chests because they straightened out the S-Curve.  They didn’t need to do it!

Hmm, we could introduce in this short piece some misunderstood climate change, and some fantastic Caracol blast to the past and future. But then this would become too long a story. So, I cut the ink flow, fu now. No, this noh done. This kyaahn done. This rehab road was designed to obliterate village life. They will have to find some more millions to make sense out of this.

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Deshawn Swasey

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