In La Paz, Bolivia, zebras dance among the cars. Really. Well, all right, they are actually people dressed up in zebra costumes. But they are as delightfully improbable as they sound. They are Las Cebras de la Paz (“The Zebras of Peace”) and they are much loved in the Bolivian capital.
The zebras can be seen “[w]aving, hugging children, high-fiving pedestrians,” writes Caroline Joyner for The Telegraph. “Their jollity is endless.” The program was created in 2001 to address two of La Paz’s most serious problems: chaotic traffic and a high accident rate. Named after the striped zebra crossings on streets, Las Cebras trained its participants to educate and cajole drivers into better habits – but to do so in a playful and joyful way.
The program tackles a second problem as well. Most zebras are drawn from organizations for at-risk youths. It’s also a chance for underemployed young people to earn a small stipend and make a positive contribution to the community.
The original 24 zebras have now expanded to 265 currently working in La Paz, with as many as 150 in the cities of El Alto, Tarija, and Sucre. Some Bolivians say that the zebras have both calmed traffic and improved the mood of their cities. “They may be dressed up as zebras,” Kathia Salazar Peredo, one of the program’s early organizers, told The Atlantic, “but they defend what is human about the city.”
In Singapore, an airline is working to bring new cachet to its in-flight meals. Beginning next year, Singapore Airlines will roll out “farm to plane” meals, featuring local produce, fish from local fisheries, and much less meat. Press accounts noted that the airline’s push to serve healthier, more flavorful food came after celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain told Bon Appétit, “No one has ever felt better after eating plane food.”
In Iraq, high-profile Syrian soccer players like Nadim Sabagh and Hussein Jawid are now playing on Iraqi teams. “We have no other job to make a living,” Mr. Sabagh told The National, referring to Syria’s deterioration after six years of civil war. It’s a strange twist: A decade ago, Iraqi soccer stars were eager to decamp to the peaceful Syria.
Sabagh and Mr. Jawid, however, will temporarily return to Syria to play for the national team in the World Cup qualifiers.
Mahmud Khadduj, a fellow Syrian soccer player, said, “My heart has always been and will always remain with the Syrian team.”