Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Art of Throwing Bricks

Building a house in South Africa is a fascinating thing. Or rather, watching a house being built is a fascinating thing. I especially like to watch the brick-throwers. Here's how it works:
  1. Truck delivers pallets of bricks.
  2. Construction workers form assembly line.
  3. Guy on the ground throws two bricks at a time to the next guy, and so on, until the guy on the top floor gets them.
  4. Bricks are always thrown two at a time, and form is never broken.
  5. A line of five guys can have two pairs of bricks going at any one time.
From a Western perspective it might seem a clumsy way to work, but I'm telling you those guys work so fast and throw the bricks with such grace that it's truly amazing.

Here's my point: it's easy to point out ways of doing things as being cumbersome, inefficient, archaic or just plain dumb. If you look a little closer, however, you might just find not only resourcefulness, but art and beauty. And that's worth setting aside a Western perspective to take a closer look.

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