The Happiest Garbage Truck in Peru

It’s a good sign when even a nation’s garbage collection system can put a smile on your face, a spring in your step and a happy rhythm in your heart.

Well, so it is with Tarapoto’s garbage truck, now that they’ve stuck a big music trumpet thing on the roof. Previously, the driver would sound his hideous horn every few seconds, its blast bellowing out across the city like a murderous tripod from War of the Worlds (he gives it a blast once in the video clip — habit, I guess, and the sound carries further).

I’m liking this newer, more joyous sound: “Ay-yay-yippee-yippee-yay, it’s time to take the garbage out today…” What better way to dispose of your trash?

And I have a lot of respect for the garbage guys who walk behind the truck; they do a superb job, picking up all the little bits of chicken bones and paper that fall out of the heaving plastic bags that residents hurriedly place at the side of the street.

The garbage truck normally trundles by twice a week. When I first arrived in Tarapoto, it came past at about 6 am — not good. These days, it seems to be between midday and 5 pm, a far more civilized schedule. “Ay-yay-yippee-yippee-yay…

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