How do you know when you’re in a developing country?

How do you know when you’re in a developing country? This question lingered with me throughout the trip, partially because I want to break stereotypes about Africa but also because I’m curious about the patterns that exist and what they might mean. So here’s a first stab at a list that is by no means comprehensive:

• Scattered litter (dirty shreds of plastic, cloth and aluminum) in the fields or on the roadside
• Natural dirt as opposed to soil or concrete debris
• Fewer paved roads, which might mean long singular veins of paved roads off of which are unpaved alleys
• Lack of street signage
• Chaotic intersections
• Dilapidated and short buildings
• Smaller cars with people riding in all sorts of creative spots inside and outside the vehicle
• More critters (bugs and otherwise) indoors

It’s interesting to identify the visual cues that people subconsciously use to draw conclusions about a country’s level of development and poverty. It’s like judging a book by its cover. What would happen if we didn’t come with preconceived assumptions about what a developed country should “look” like?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *