Friday, September 26, 2008

Electrical Improvements

Another event unfolded on our street yesterday. About 8:30 in the morning we saw men starting to dig holes right beside the concrete electrical poles. They were dug by hand with pick and shovel. Some of the shovels they used were hand made in the shape of a cone and they worked better than a regular shovel to make these deep, deep narrow holes for the new electrical poles. There were three men digging one of the holes and one young man who looked to be about 17 years old dug one of the holes by himself. I have never figured out how work is assigned. Some men just watch and some work but everyone seems to be very cordial, talking and joking with each other. In the afternoon a big truck arrived with the new concrete poles. We watched as they lifted the pole and moved it off the truck and postitioned it in the hole. None of them wore any safety equipment. Not a hard hat in sight. The man that climbed the pole right in front of our house used ropes to "walk" up the pole so that he could maneuver existing wires over or around the new pole. I've worked in an industry where we had to train people to climb poles and this style of climbing wouldn't pass OSHA but this young man seemed entirely skilled and at ease with the procedure. The other thing that happened during all this work is that the street at times was blocked but the Mexican drivers just figured out some way to work around what was going on. No one seemed impatient.

We think that they are putting up the new poles to add some more transformers to the electrical lines on our street because as the electrical needs have grown and we have been noticing brown-outs. The wiring has not been transferred to the new poles but we have a feeling that when it is, the old pole may be left in place.

Things are just different here. It may not be the way it would have been done in the USA but it got done. We love looking out our window and learning the Mexican way.


Bob Mrotek said...

Your observation is right on the money. Somehow everything gets done and society functions. It is amazing. Mexico has taught me that no matter what the Gringos think and goes on. The workers here always tell me "No te preocupes, SeƱor Bob, no pasa nada. La Virgin nos cuida.". Well, I must say, it seems to work for them :)

Paul said...

@Billie: I love these looks into Mexican culture. Of course there is no OSHA, but then, there probably aren't as many lawyers waiting to file suit, either! :-)

@Bob, that last part says it all. They have some tremendous faith that everything will work out fine.

glorv1 said...

I think its great that you pay attention to all that is happening around you. Now only do you pay attention, but you record everything with your great camera. Take care.

John W said...

Billie--When I first moved here, I saw a man breaking concrete with a hammer and chisel. Concerned that a stone chip could strike his eye, I considered buying him a pair of safety goggles. Now I realize I could have bought hundreds of pairs and not scratched the surface. Moreover, I know now that in Mexico, real men don't wear goggles anyway.

Once I saw a welder shielding his eyes from the actinic light by peering through a couple of layers of newspaper!

We don't need no stinking goggles!

Billie said...

John, when we were remodeling we worried about our painters. Some of the paints and sealers smelled so strong of solvents. The Jefe finally started getting them some of the cloth masks. But still we worried that that kind of mask wasn't sufficient to protect them. A month or two ago we ran into one of them managing a parking lot. He said he had to quit painting because of the solvents that were making him sick. I know it isn't macho but these guys need to use protective gear.