Sky as a Kite

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Community spirit

In my new neighbourhood there is a printed out sign hanging on many houses, which reads:

Cuidado la casa de mi vecino.

I guard my neighbours house


It has been said that the experience under Pinochet and the embrace of a market based ideology
has led to a social coldness in Chilean society. I can not speak for the overall political climate, only for my own experiences.

I spent a lot of time selling bread and knitwear on the street. There was a community spirit among us street vendors, we would watch each other stands while one person went on coffee runs. Goods and even money was left open on the street and we would warn each other of the police, who sometimes felt they had to show their authority by chasing us away.
Even when sitting next to another lady selling knitwear, rather than seeing me as competition we would exchange recipes and she even randomly gave me a ball of wool as a present.

One afternoon the local homeless drunk person begged a pedestrian a little bit to aggressively, who lightly pushed him. Unfortunately due to his intoxication the homeless man lost balance and fell over. His head landed with a big clonk on the sidewalk. Immediately all the street vendors around sprang into action, berating the guy who had pushed him and checking if he was ok. They tried to call an ambulance, but the homeless man was protesting. In the end they helped sit him up and he saw his chance for "borrowing" a cigarette.
Pedestrians walking by and seeing him sitting on the ground stopped to ask if everything was ok, in the end he retired to a bench to smoke his ciggy in peace.



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