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Peru – Biologist’s Day!

November 27, 2007 - Peru

by Steve Henrichon

We arrived at the clinic in the morning and Rosy was not herself.  She seemed very distant and she was fairly unresponsive.  I come to find out that she was mugged on her way to work.  She takes the bus from Ica but she was running a little late.  At the bus stop in San Clemente, she got off the bus and got into a mototaxi.  Mototaxis are little scooters that can cart one or two people around town.  They are very cheap and efficient.  They are personal so when you get into the mototaxi, it does not stop to pick other people up.  Well, Rosy’s mototaxi did stop to pick someone else up.  The driver picked up his friend who surprised Rosy when he opened the door and squeezed into the back with her.  He then pulled out a knife and took about 120 Sol in cash (equiv of $40) and her cell phone.  It was just payday so Rosy had a bit of money in her purse.  She was not physically harmed but the experience was certainly quite traumatizing for her.  After Rosy explained the story to us, I immediately pulled out a wad of cash and repaid her 120 Sol plus an additional 80 sol for a new cell phone.  Covering her material loss was the least we could do.  We still had a more serious problem on our hands however, because Rosy was still pretty shaken up.

To lighten the mood, we devised a signal, a simple flick of the nose, that Rosy would do if she sees the perpetrator again.  That would alert me and Rene and then the mugger would get the Gringo-beat-down of his life.  That made her smile.  San Clemente is not the safest place so we openly discussed precautions that both Maria and Rosy could take to prevent similar situations in the future.  This includes traveling together and never getting in a taxi or mototaxi alone.  Here’s the icing on the cake…Maria says “Can you believe that this happened on Biologists’ Day?”  Rosy is a biologist and this is her special day.  I thought that was funny so I instantly started making jokes about Biologists’ Day only to realize that the day is actually taken fairly serious.  Happy Biologists Day!  That sounds a bit odd…doesn’t it?  In Peru, they have a day for most professionals…Biologists’ Day, Nurses’ Day, Firemen’s Day, Doctors’ Day, Taxi Drivers’ Day…and these are legitimate holidays reserved for the professional.  We ended up taking Rosy and Maria out to dinner to celebrate Biologists’ Day in style.  When it was all said and done, it seems as though Rosy ended up having a fun day despite the morning events.  Mission accomplished.

Happy Headhunters’ Day, Steve!!  I like the sound of that.  If anyone wants to send me presents for Headhunters’ day, I am instituting the new holiday for January 20.

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