Peruvian Locals Don’t Read My Blog

Or so it appears. I don’t want to make such a broad statement without facts to back it up. I have no facts. Other than I think these women see something in me that I don’t see in myself. An expert chef. Or at the very least, an expert potato washer. Yes, there is a bit of a difference. But both have some demand in Paris I’d imagine. It’s true. I’m beginning to think New York may be too low brow for me and I need to expand to a more romantic, cultured area. Seriously though. The past roommate of who I volunteered with did not work in the kitchen for his 5 weeks he was there before I arrived. Last week we worked three straight days exclusively in there, and today I seemed to split my time in between there and the classroom. It’s okay though. I’d rather not hold the guilt of being the one responsible for 200 children not eating because I thought I was too good for a kitchen. It’s not that I even think I’m too good for a kitchen. It’s more that I think I’m too bad for it. Bad’s probably a bad word too. I’m not bad. I’m just slow. I am much better at working with three years olds that barely understand than I am at washing potatoes. Oh they’re clean alright. They’re real clean. Maybe too clean. The woman that showed me spent around 10 seconds. Did I possibly triple (minimum) her speed? Yes. But was there a speck of dirt on that potato? Of course there wasn’t. Does that get a bit mind numbing once you’re on potato 200? You betcha. Regardless, it helps the children, it helps the staff, it helps the whole system, and that’s what us volunteers are there for. To make it easier on the permanent staff so we do what we do! I’ll just be interested in how it goes next week since six of the ten new people arriving this weekend are supposed to volunteer there. We’ll see how that goes.

In other news, a while back I was talking to a friend about it’s crazy how one can go from one area of Lima to another and see such a disparity, more specifically in regards to the richer and poorer sections. He was mentioning that that happens in every city though, you have your nice parts and your more “slummy” areas. Of which he was not wrong. Except Lima is different. It would be like the nicest neighborhood in your city is relocated to right next door to the poorest neighborhood in your state. Driving around (i.e. being driven around) to Barranco, one drives through Miraflores. These are all districts of Lima. Lima has 42 districts, plus a mayor for each district and a mayor for the entire city and that’s a reason the politics in Lima are so screwy but that’s a story for a different day. It is like driving through an oasis. An oasis of green, and wealth, and architecture, and everything you could ever desire. It doesn’t even seem like the same country. There are no unpaved roads, there are no stray dogs, there are no clouds of diesel exhaust, there are no slums. Again, you have things like this in every city. True. But not where you can get from one area like this to another in 10 minutes. In ten minutes you can go from an area without electricity, without running water, without a functional roof to a district that has a underground shopping mall, more parks than you’d ever need, Gucci stores, BMWs every which way. It is truly astounding. I was wondering if the people in that area even care about the lesser parts. Why would they? Why would they ever venture out into it? So much construction too. So much growth. It seems that Lima has just said “Well this area is beautiful, this area gets tourists, the other parts? They’ll survive somehow. Let’s sink all our money here.” There are skyrises galore and in other places just a few minutes away you won’t find a single location with more than a single story. It’s a beautiful area. Actually, both have their beauty in their own ways but how it’s such a ringing reminder of the differences between the rich and the poor is truly astounding. Nice looking beaches though. Seem pretty popular. I guess it is getting summer. Still doesn’t make that Pacific Ocean any warmer though. So it goes.

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