Peru on world map

Peru – Random Thoughts

October 24, 2007 - Peru

by Steve Henrichon

The thread that binds us all – Most people don’t speak English. I don’t speak much Spanish. A lot of the time, the common thread that bonds us is Rock n Roll. People love Rock n Roll.
ACDC, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nirvana…the list goes on.

A typical conversation usually goes like this:

“¿Conoces Greenday?”

“Si, conozco Greenday.”

“¿Te gusta?”

“Si, me gusta…y tu?”

“Si, me gusta Greenday también.”

Soy El Gringo — Everywhere I walk, I hear “gringo!” or “mira…el gringo.” Much of the younger generation does a double-take when they see the gringo and they usually comment. I dont feel as though I am as much of an oddity with the older generations. The novelty seems to have worn off years ago. But…the kids love the gringo. When walking in the schools, I will notice that I am being watched by an entire classroom of children.

I give a simple wave and the class erupts and they all frantically wave back.

Yesterday, we were walking through a tent city and we were approaching the exit. A group of kids were playing and one of them yells Gringos!!! They all start running towards us and the one suggests that they close the door to the albergue so we cant leave. I exaggerate my very slow and dramatic run to the exit door so I reach the exit at the exact same time they do. Then they all jump on me. It was pretty amusing.

Sometimes, I will walk past a group of girls and they will all start giggling and even cat-calling. Its actually pretty funny and I have gotten used to being the neighborhood Gringo. Every town needs their token Gringo. I am proud of my Gringo status. People are usually smiling when they say (or yell) “Gringo!”

Good Friends – We have met many good friends along the way. Our work down here would not be possible without help from our friends. We befriended a fellow from Ica named Jimmy. He travels 1 hour from Ica to Pisco, three days per week to visit the Cuban Doctors (Like I said, they are the best). Oftentimes, he will join us for dinner in Pisco before he continues on his way back to Ica. We spent his 29th birthday with him at his house in Ica. He has helped us get Real Medicine vests made, shirts, and helped to secure some important post-earthquake footage we have been meaning to see. Jimmy will certainly be someone with whom we will keep in touch when we return back to the states. We have actually been planning a unique birthday present for Jimmy but that is in the works. Dont tell him!! Although I know he has a program which translates the blog into spanish so he can follow along…

Her Best Threads – On Sunday, our friend Edgar brought us to his family’s restaurant for a barbeque and some soccer. The mountain of grilled meat served to me was the best I’ve had in Peru. Towards the end of the meal, he introduced us to his mother. She is Quechua…84 years old. She was dressed in her traditional garb with the typical round brimmed hat that many older Quechua women wear. Her face was very unique…worn, experienced, distinguished. I asked Edgar if I could take a picture of him and his mom. She then insisted that it was not the right time for a picture…and that she wanted to change into her best clothes for the picture. She came back about 1 hour later in a new outfit for the photo…a red sweater over a pristine white shirt. I thanked her for changing into her best clothes for the photo and told her she looked beautiful.

Red Sox are World Champions!! Yep, even in Peru, it is a priority to watch the Sox win the Series. I was watching the 4th and final game and the cable went out in the bottom of the 8th inning 🙂

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