It didn’t take long for Manuel García Murillo, a bricklayer who took over as mayor here last June, to realize that his town was in trouble. It was 800,000 euros, a little more than $1 million, in the red. There was no cash on hand to pay for anything — and there was work that needed to be done.
去年六月，砖匠曼纽尔·加西亚·穆里洛 （Manuel García Murillo）接任里镇长一职后，快意识到这座小镇已深陷危机。财政赤字 800,000 欧元，已经略超 100万美元。政府没有现金来支付费用，但摆在面前的却是一堆没有完成的烂摊子。
But then an amazing thing happened, he said. Just as the health department was about to close down the day care center because it didn’t have a proper kitchen, Bernardo Benítez, a construction worker, offered to put up the walls and the tiles free. Then, Maria José Carmona, an adult education teacher, stepped in to clean the place up.
他说，接下来发生让人意想不到的事情。由于没有像样儿的厨房，卫生局准备关闭托儿所，这时一名叫做伯纳多·贝尼特斯（ Bernardo Benítez）的建筑工人提出，可以义务修筑墙壁并贴上瓷砖。成人教师玛丽亚·何塞·卡莫纳（Maria José Carmona）也站了出来，愿意帮忙打扫托儿所。
【语言点】Put up 建造
Protesters have been putting up barricades across a number of major intersections.
【语言点】Step in 插手，介入，干涉
Seeing such a situation, I had to step in.
And somehow, the volunteers just kept coming. Every Sunday now, the residents of this town in southwest Spain — young and old — do what needs to be done, whether it is cleaning the streets, raking the leaves, unclogging culverts or planting trees in the park.
“It was an initiative from them,” said Mr. García. “Day to day we talked to people and we told them there was no money. Of course, they could see it. The grass in between the sidewalks was up to my thigh. “
【语言点】Initiative: If you have initiative, you have the ability to decide what to do next and to do it, without needing other people to tell you what to do. 主动性
例：She was disappointed by his lack of initiative.
Higuera de la Serena is in many ways a microcosm of Spain’s troubles. Just as Spain’s national and regional governments are struggling with the collapse of the construction industry, overspending on huge capital projects and a pileup of unpaid bills, the same problems afflict many of its small towns.
【语言点】：Microcosm: A microcosm is a small society, place, or activity which has all the typical features of a much larger one and so seems like a smaller version of it. 社会的缩影
Kitchell says the city was a microcosm of all American culture during the ’60s.
But what has brought Higuera de la Serena a measure of fame in Spain is that the residents have stepped up where their government has failed. Mr. García says his phone rings regularly from other town officials who want to know how to do the same thing. He is serving without pay, as are the town’s two other elected officials. They are also forgoing the cars and phones that usually come with the job.
【语言点】 A measure o： A measure of a particular quality, feeling, or activity is a fairly large amount of it. 一定数量; 一定程度 [正式]
With the exception of Juan, each attained a measure of success.
“We lived beyond our means,” Mr. García said. “We invested in public works that weren’t sensible. We are in technical bankruptcy.” Even some money from the European Union that was supposed to be used for routine operating expenses and last until 2013 has already been spent, he said.
Higuera de la Serena, a cluster of about 900 houses surrounded by farmland, and traditionally dependent on pig farming and olives, got swept up in the giddy days of the construction boom. It built a cultural center and invested in a small nursing home. But the projects were plagued by delays and cost overruns.
【语言点】Giddy：If you feel giddy with delight or excitement, you feel so happy or excited that you find it hard to think or act normally. (高兴或激动地) 发狂的
例：Anthony was giddy with self-satisfaction.
The cultural center still has no bathrooms. The nursing home, a whitewashed building sits on the edge of town, still unopened. Together, they account for some $470,000 of debt owed to the bank. But the rest of the debt is mostly the unpaid bills of a town that was not keeping up with its expenses. It owes for medical supplies, for diesel fuel, for road repair, for electrical work, for musicians who played during holidays.
Higuera de la Serena is not completely without workers. It still has a half-time librarian, two half-time street cleaners, someone part-time for the sports complex, a secretary and an administrator, all of whom are paid through various financing streams apart from the town. But the town once had a work force twice the size. And when someone is ill, volunteers have to step in or the gym and sports complex — open four hours a day — must close.
【语言点】Half-time：for less than the standard number of hours; “he works part-time” 半工半薪
如: Hurry up, or you’ll be late.快点,否则你要迟到啦。