With all of the chaos currently dominating the news, whether occurring in the United States or beyond, it’s easy to be discouraged and overwhelmed by matters we lack control over. However, it is up to the individual, constantly being buried in these distressing headlines, to decide how to handle this. Some may elect to curl up in a ball of despair in hopes that it may miraculously cure the issue, while others may point their fingers and proceed to yell “fake news!” at their television. It is a very confusing and difficult time in history for us all, and coping with what seems like an never-ending amount of upsetting matters is never easy. But as humans, distraction is naturally the best remedy for such situations. This is why a video of a dog befriending a chimpanzee has the power to draw in above 2 million viewers. With all of this negativity, we could all use a more lighthearted story.
The world is still a good place, and there are many who go above and beyond to make it this way. There is no better representation of this other than the newly publicized La Paz Bolivian Traffic Zebras. The back story of this movement comes from the Bolivian city of La Paz, which has a long-standing history of traffic accidents. The North Yungas Road in Bolivia is known as one of the most dangerous in the world for motorists. A fatal accident happens there every couple of weeks, among the route there are many visible reminders of accidents. Buses crowded with locals go in any weather, and try to beat the incoming traffic to the curves. To rectify this situation, the government has introduced a very unique solution: traffic zebras.
Zebra is not an acronym or a nickname, the Bolivian government has really implemented a solution of volunteers disguised as zebras, who educate civilians about traffic laws, and prevent dangers of the road. La Paz’s cebritas have been extremely effective, and are said to have been much more effective in comparison to the traffic cops issuing tickets. Cebritas get drivers to follow the rules using humor with their theatrical presentation. These zebras were put in place by the previous mayor of Bolivia, Antanas Mockus, who is a philosopher and mathematician. These zebras tease and shame the city’s drivers for breaking traffic rules. Mockus believed that Colombians being ridiculed would be more influential in comparison to punishment.
These zebras have led to a 50% decrease in traffic fatalities. In addition to saving lives the cebritas visit schools and hospitals, and appear in parades and on television. Many of these cebritas are younger people of troubled backgrounds working for a small salary. La Paz’s answer to traffic fatalities has actually worked while providing employment opportunities to the disenfranchised.
If you’d like to see these heroes in action, watch the link below.