Signs: Graffiti

A few years back, a joint project by the county and kids from local schools, sought to address erosion along the coastline below Upolu Airport. The county laid straw barriers (that looked like long sausages) to control water runoff. The kids put in plants that would help stabilize areas of bare dirt and put up signs identifying these plants. At either end of the area where this project took place, two large signs were erected, with a bit of information about the project and some colorful artwork by the kids.

Within a year, one of the large signs fell down, a victim of high winds and one of the posts breaking. The plant identification signs followed, one by one, for various reasons. Some of the plants began to take hold and the sausages did their bit in reducing runoff, but the project seemed to have lost its impetus.

Last year, it sputtered to life again with a few more signs and some tape asking people not to drive in certain areas. Most of these were gone within weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking in the area, I noticed that the remaining large sign had been graffitied (top photo). It seemed like an unfortunate, but somehow fitting epitaph for the project.

A few days later, approaching the graffitied sign from the other direction, I was surprised to notice the kids’ original artwork. It was upside down on the back of the sign (bottom photo). Whoever had graffitied the sign had taken the trouble to unscrew the board, turn it around, and refasten it. This took some thought and planning since the board was held in place by Torx or star screws (photo at right).

The sign is still graffitied and the project still on life support or dead, but this concern for the artwork on the board somehow made me feel that, perhaps not all hope is gone.

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