One Thing I Can’t Overcome: The Lack of Civil Education in Bogota
Living in the perfect, chaotic, dirty and crazy city that Bogota is, I still have managed to fall in love with it.
I have probably gone through my four stages of culture shock and feel I have adapted relatively well considering our differences. **Read about my living with a traditional and conservative Colombian family.
However, one thing I cannot overcome is the lack of civil education in Bogota.
I don’t understand how people can be so careless about their community and the people around them. This just reinforces the fact that Bogota is a concrete jungle and everyone must stand on their own.
The irony of all this is that when you actually sit down and meet these Colombians face to face, they are some of the nicest and most helpful people you will ever meet.
Last night in my building, I saw spit on the floor outside the elevator door. Who was this perpetrator? Was it a delivery guy? Or could it be one of my neighbors?
Who would do such a thing?!!!
This morning, the guard of my building asked me if I was the one that threw a potted plant out the window. I looked at him in disbelief and couldn’t believe someone would actually do that. After all, it would land in the parking lot and would have to be cleaned up by the cleaning ladies. Even worse, the potted plant that fell off the balcony landed on someone’s car, causing a dent on the roof.
I would like to believe that it was just an accident, however, I’m skeptical…
This is the type of thing that happens all the time here. People have no respect for each other and their surroundings. You would think that this is a class thing, but even the most educated people behave like savages and are the ones that break the most rules. (I won’t talk about the time I saw a woman with a pearl necklace and fancy updo in her Mercedes, driving like a truck driver.)
What’s funny is that the people that behave the worst tend to be well-educated and well-traveled. When they travel abroad to more organized and developed countries, they admire and abide by the rules. However in their own country, even those that describe themselves as proud patriotic Colombians break all the rules. Why? Simply because other people are doing it. What a f*** up mindset.
People don’t care about doing their part to make their community a better place because as no one else is doing the right thing, one single person won’t make a difference, right?
Here are a few examples of the lack of civil education in Bogota I run into on a daily basis.
- Instead of walking on the left side of the street, people occupy the entire sidewalk and sometimes families walk in a horizontal line, making it unable for you to walk past them.
- And it gets 10x worse on ciclovía Sundays.
- Drivers don’t let you through, speed through yellow lights and drive through red lights.
- Pedestrians never have the right-of-way and cars will usually speed up or honk at the site of a pedestrian even when they are doing nothing wrong.
- Although I admit there is a lack of zebra crossings, pedestrians cross wherever they please. This includes on highways, when it’s dark out, and with grandma walking at 2 m.p.h.
- When you want to get on the Transmilenio, the person on the platform in front of you doesn’t move aside to let you through. You have to push your way in.
- No one moves to the back of the bus to make more room for incoming passengers. Not their problem.
- People throw trash out their car window.
- No one respects street signs! Perhaps if they did, the city would flow smoother at times.
- One time, a car parked behind our car making it unable for us to leave. The driver obviously couldn’t care less!
- The number of times I’ve seen drivers stop driving in the middle of the road regardless if there were people behind them, in order to write a text (it must be a mind-blowing booty call!)
These are just a few examples. The list could go on and on, but it would probably turn into a nasty rambling.
Generally speaking, Government should make it a priority to educate this city and make everyone more aware and respectful of their neighbors. Enough said.
What is your take on the issue?