Getting to Know the People 2.0- Rossigna Goytizolo, Peru

430425_10150547028657927_667866253_nRossigna, is one of my good friends from the wonderful city of Lima, Peru. I met her while attending a Lima Social Club Meetup at this amazing restaurant Manifiesto.

Where do you live now, what is it like?

I live at Magdalena in Lima _ Peru but I use to live near the beach at La Punta Callao. It’s a peninsula completely surrounded by beach. My father’s family is from La Punta.

Where is your favorite place in Peru?

My favorite place is La Punta were you ca see nice views, walk on the street next to the beach, eat good ceviche, and it is safe place.

Ceviche at La Rustica  Costa Verde
A variety of ceviche at La Rustica Costa Verde, in Barranco

What is your favorite traditional Peruvian food?


Where is your favorite place to visit to escape the city?

A place where I love to go outside of Lima is Santa Eulalia, it is next to the mountains.

What do you like to do for fun?

What I like to do for fun is going out to bars and new restaurants. Also barbecuing.

A Yagua (Yahua) tribeman demonstrating the use...
A Yagua (Yahua) tribeman demonstrating the use of blowgun (blow dart), at one of the Amazonian islands near Iquito, Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If someone were visiting Peru what are a few of the places they must go to?

My favorite trip in Peru was to the Amazon jungle. I also enjoyed my trip to Vilca and Huancaya, magical places in the mountains were you can see very fantastic views of the nature like many blue ponds, blue magical sky, beautiful green nature, woods with lakes, big mountains…. it’s the best place i have ever been. It’s a little cold and high.

The Sacred Valley, Cusco
The Sacred Valley, Cusco

Other places someone must go in Peru are:

  • Barranco – for a nice walk, to see the street ocean, and maybe to eat some Peruvian food.
  • Visit La Punta Callao to see the Puerto, walk through the street and see the old houses parks and beautiful views of the peninsula.
  • Machu PichuCuzco
  • Paracas – to see the beach and take in the view and visit the island.
  • Mancora – Las Pocitas, is a relaxing beach were you can rent a cheap house with a group of friends also the house come with a lady that cook really good.

If you like adventure, you can hike near Lima there are groups for trekking that takes you to walk through the mountains for 1, 2 or 3 days the group’s name is Aire Puro. I used to hike and remember a 4 day trekking at Huaraz, cold but with really beautiful views like the big Cordillera Blanca and Black Cordillera, the beautiful blue sky and ponds, also there is the Callejon the Huaylas were their culture and food is really good.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?

The country I would love to travel is Thailand, I would love to learn about their culture, food, people, religion, etc. For me that’s the next country I must visit.

What should people know about Peruvians?

What I love about Peruvians is that we love when a tourist come to visit us and learn about our culture. Usually we are really friendly.


Peru Wrap-up/Rewind

What can I say living in Barranco, Lima, Peru was an absolutely amazing experience. I made wonderful friends, I learned how to cook some pretty awesome Peruvian dishes, I got to visit several Peruvian cities, and I was able to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay! What else could I want? So should you visit Peru? Of course, without a doubt!

Here’s the rewind

My dad and my little sister came to visit in April. We had a great time. We were able to make a two road trips. The first was to Cineguilla, there we went horse back riding and went to La Mesa de Piedra. At La Mesa de Piedra  we ate one of my favorite Peruvian dishes Pachamanca, went swimming, and watched a performance.

Pachamanca yummm

It’s definitely worth the 1-2 hour trip to this restaurant/ campsite (to get there rent a cab for a day at 20 soles per hour).  The second road trip was to Pachacamac, an archeological site that is close to Lima.  We also visited The Parque de las Leyendas (Lima’s local zoo) and Circuito Mágico del Agua, which is an amazing park, filled with gigantic water and light shows.

Someone’s really excited about the water and light show.

Matthew and I made it out a few nights to party at some of the local clubs in Barranco.

Mozhdeh, Dah and me at a great club in Barranco!


I finally took a cooking class! I learned how to make Cibeche, Lomo Saltado, and a dessert that I can’t remember the name of (but of course includes condensed milk like most of the Peruvian desserts).

Candice and me cooking!


Our last trip was to Arequipa and Lake Titicaca in Puno. Arequipa is known as “The White City” because the buildings in the city’s center are made of white stones that were cut from the local volcano. Yes I said local volcano, when you land at the airport you are greeted by El Misti a gargantuan active volcano. In my opinion some of the best Peruvian food was in Arequipa (shh don’t tell). They make an excellent dish called “adobo” which is pork stewed in a tomato sauce (it reminds me of chilli) served with bread, it’s cooked and eaten on Sunday for breakfast.  My favorite dish from Arequipa is “chupe de camerones” if I could eat it every day without creating a shrimp allergy I would.

Lake Titicaca is known as the highest navigable lake in the world (it actually has a steam ship on it that used to work). People have lived on the islands and floating islands of Lake Titicaca for over 10,000 years. Legend says that the Incan gods were sent to Lake Titicaca when they came to earth.

There we visited the Uros Floating Islands. The people that live there build and live on the islands that are made of reeds that grow from the lake.

We also stayed overnight on the Amanti Island with a family. We ate with them, visited a temple on the top of the mountain, and attended a local party (created for tourist) in traditional clothing.

The next day we visited Taquile. We learned about their amazing weaving and knitting skills, toured the island, and of course at lunch.

And to close it out here are a few pictures of Lima  (mostly Barranco), the place we lived and loved while in Peru – click on the pictures for a better view. This also includes the pictures from above.

The Triple

Peru has these sandwiches called triples. White bread in layers like a cake with three layers of different food items, typically one is chicken salad.Today I’m eating a triple with chicken salad (the mayo in Peru is made with lime) and bacon bits, avocado, and peaches. Oh and the bread has no edges (but you can buy it like that at the store here). LOL cracks me up but it actually taste pretty good. Yes it’s ginormous!

My triple mostly eaten

My dad came to visit 2 months ago and had a triple too:

Egg, Avacado, and Tomato Triple
My dad’s Egg, Avacado, and Tomato Triple

The original Tupac

“Imperfection is inherited, therefore we all sin, but fighting the war of sin is the greatest war of all because we all die in the end no matter how hard we fight.” ~ Tupaca Amaru Shakur

“Here there are but two who are guilty: you for oppressing my people, and I for wanting to liberate them” ~ Tupac Amaru

Happy Birthday Tupac Amaru Shakur!

In honor of Tupac’s birthday, I want to share with you a person that I’ve gotten to learn about while living here in Peru.

Tupac Amaru II via
English: Central Square, Cusco, Peru Español: ...
English: Central
Square, Cusco,

While visiting the art galleries of Cusco, I met and Tupac Amaru via amazing portrayal of his uprising against the Spaniards in the Museo Historico Regional in Cusco. The image is a powerful painting depicting his murder which took place in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas, a place where I frequented while visiting Cusco (along with millions of other tourist). I’ve also walked the streets that have been named after him here in Lima, Peru. Tupac Amaru as we now was not victorious in his uprising; however, he has become a folklore hero to the people of Peru.

José Gabriel (Tupac Amaru II) received an education at the Jesuit church of San Francisco de Borja and went on to be granted titles by the Spanish vice royalty. He married and Afro-Indigenous woman in 1760 before inheriting authority over Tungasuca and Pampamarca from his older brother. He was of course, answerable to the Spanish governor.

Identifying significantly with his indigenous heritage, José Gabriel was not blind to the suffering of his people. He repeated lobbied for better treatment of the indigenous from his position of relative power. What wealth he had it is said he used to alleviate the suffering of natives in economic slavery. Click here to read more about: The revolt of Túpac Amaru II | …en Perú – Travel Culture History News.

Teaching in Peru

I’ve been teaching English since July 2011 in Lima, Peru. The experience has been truly interesting. I’ve worked for a variety of employers and have also taught a diverse range of students.  In addition, getting to and from classes has been a journey all of its own. Overall it has been an experience that I have learned from.

My Schedule

When I first took the step of moving abroad I assumed that I would be teaching for one or two companies and in a classroom of maybe 10 -20 kids from 8:30am – 4pm in the afternoon. This is not the case at all to say the least. Over the course of time that I have been here, I have taught mostly adults with 1 to 3 students in a classroom. In the beginning I worked for 3 different companies and also taught private students as well. Now I just work for one company – it makes things less complicated and teach private students whenever I can (as I can make about double the money since there isn’t any company to take a cut).  My typical week consists of:

Class 1: 7am- 8:30am (M,W,F)

Class 2: 9am – 10:30am (private class M&W)

Class 3: 1:15pm – 2:30pm (M,W,Th)

Class 4: 6pm – 8:15  (M,W)

Class 5: 6:30pm – 8:30 (T, Th)

All of these classes are in the San Isidro district which can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to get to on a combi depending on the time (check out my blog post “The Combi Chronicles). The evening classes are my least favorite to go to just because the day is over and who wants to leave home at 5pm to go to work. Yes, getting on the bus is tiring, dirty (don’t wear white), and annoying; however, even though its super cheap to take a taxi it’s just not cost-effective based on what I’m getting paid.  Plus, taking a taxi in Lima can be more dangerous – risk being pick-pocketed on the bus vs. being kidnapped or a smash and grab victim in a taxi (it’s very rare, but it’s not unheard of).

Lesson learned: Patience and all the 80s music one can stand

Advice: Another thing in regards to schedules are cancellations. If a student cancels 24 hours in advance you typically won’t get paid, so be aware of holidays, as you may not have classes for a week. Also some institutes pay will pay you if the student cancels less than 24 hours in advance, others will not.


English Institutes

The interview process has been a lot quicker than any interview process that I’ve ever had in my life. Native English teachers are definitely high in demand here in Peru.  In one case the interview process was the following:

Wednesday:  I sent my resume to various English learning institutes

Friday: I received a call for an interview either that day or the next

Saturday: I began teaching

Most of the other cases were pretty much the same. The only company that was different was the one that I still teach with now where the process went like this:

Wednesday:  I sent my resume to various English learning institutes

Thursday: I was sent a link to fill out a questionnaire about my teaching experience, why I wanted to be a teacher, and why I was here in Peru.

Saturday: I received a call for an interview.

Sunday: I had an interview on Skype

Monday: I observed a class

Wednesday: I taught a class with another teacher

Friday: I had my own class

The worst case that I’ve come across was one day I went to an interview and it ended up to be at the person home which happened to just be flooded.  Their dog jumped on my legs and left its adorable paw prints on my light blue pants (hence no light pants in Peru dogs and busses).  They offered me less than what the other institutes were offering, so I attempted to negotiate. They declined me and scheduled met for two days of observation at Nextel (so I know they could pay more). The next day they did not get in touch with me for the meet up location, I happened to get the number for the other teacher and she said that they said she would be teaching by herself. I never heard from them again. I’m pretty glad I didn’t, should have gone with the red flags from the beginning – I’ve spoken to other teachers who have worked for them and they ended up having multiple bad experiences.

Overall I’ve been paid on time with one exception where I was paid over a month late. But I must say that I doubted I would get paid at all after the month delay, so I’m glad I did get paid at all. The company even gave me a bonus because of the difficulty of them getting the money to me.

Most of the institutes provide material for you to teach with. Thus far the best book that I’ve used is the American English File series, which includes speaking, writing, grammar, and listening in all of its units.  In addition I’ve created great material from transcripts on, and blogs on English exams.


The majority of my students are adults I’ve taught some students privately and some through institutes.  I’ve come across several types of students:

  1. The student that pretty much speaks English but wants to improve their fluency.
  2. The student that is taking classes because their family wants them to take classes (early 20s still at home). But they don’t want to do any homework because this is what their parents want them to do. And of course they cancel classes all the time.
  3. The student that wants to learn English because they think they should, based on their social class or position at work, but they are too busy to do any homework – so they have super slow progress.
  4. The student that is traveling to the United States soon, and wants to speak fluent English in one month.
  5. The student that is taking an English exam to get into a foreign school and wants to soak up everything that you teach them, they study all of the time, and ask for extra work.
  6. The student that is taking an English exam to get into a foreign school and wants to soak up everything that you teach them, but cancels classes, is late to class, and doesn’t do homework. Of course they still want results.
  7. The student who is 5 -8 years old who you capture their attention for about 20 minutes segments and you are the constant entertainer for them.
  8. The student that is learning English for their job and is a little bit above basic level, they go to class, do their work and are eager to learn.
  9. The student that pretty much knows English that doesn’t want to look at their book ever but just wants to talk so that they don’t loose their English.

So which is my favorite type of student. All of them for the most part can be pretty interesting to teach even the ones who are taking classes because someone else wants them to. Everyone has a story. It’s exiting to teach someone to prepare for an exam because you have a specific goal.  You can also learn a lot from experienced professionals especially those that are at higher levels or the owners of companies.  I truly enjoyed preparing one of my students for doing a 30-minute speech in front of hundreds of people. I’ve even become pretty good friends with some of my students and imagine that I may stay in touch with a few after we leave Peru.

All in all, this teaching experience has been pretty cool. It’s really amazing being able to help someone grow, and help someone to improve their life. It may be hard to leave the house at 6:20am or at 5:40pm but once I get to class it’s worth it.

Advice: Have fun! If you are a native English speaker you poses about 70% of what you need to teach, the other 30% is personality.

300 nude cyclists hit streets in Peru – CBC News

I couldn’t make it out this morning to take pictures of the cyclist for you because I had to deal with a little bit of food poisoning (recovering now- no worries).  But I heard from a friend and reliable source that there weren’t that many nude cyclist out there today. Here is a pic that’s been published in the news. I should mention that this was to bring attention to cyclist safety, that there are not cycling lanes here in Lima, and that thousands of cyclist die every year here in Lima because of this.

Click here to read the story: 300 nude cyclists hit streets in Peru – CBC News.

Verano Negro & Carnival Negro- Chincha and El Carmen!

Last weekend, Matthew, my friend Catherine and I headed down to Chincha for Verano Negro translation “Black Summer”. We took the bus-line Ormeno (I will never ride that dirty bus again). I originally heard about Verano Negro in my trusty “Lonely Planet” book then heard about it over and over again from friends here in Lima. It is the biggest month-long celebration of the year in Chincha, celebrating its Beautiful Blackness! It was an amazing weekend! A beauty pageant, grape stomping, Cajon classes, concerts, dancing and delicious Raspadillas. Click here to read about our first trip to Chincha.
Pageant group dance
It seemed there wasn’t much going on in the Plaza de Armas of Chincha our first night there so we headed to El Carmen. This was the right move!  Because we got to watch El Carmen’s annual Carnival Negro Beauty Pageant.
It was not your typical pageant with the host in a nice suit giving details and statistics of beautiful young ladies as they paraded around the stage at prime time. No, this show started at 10:30 PM (scheduled 9:30 PM) and opened with comedian telling quite a few explicit jokes despite of all the kids in the crowd. The contestants came out dancing to Afro Peruvian music and had to introduce themselves all the while panting in the middle of their choreographed dance routine.
Fabiola's Cheering Section
Cheering section sign
A few of the contestants had cheering sections. All carried large poster pictures of beauty they were supporting. One group of about 20  had long pink balloons that they waved in the air every time their contestant came out. And another group set off mini fireworks for their favorite!
There were also concert performances between each act, including bands and dance groups from other cities in Peru, and even a band from Peru’s rivaling country Chile.
While we were there the pageant had the following sections: a group dance, introductions, another group dance, carnival costumes, swimsuit competition, and the infamous question and answer portion. By 2:00 AM, weary and not sure if they were going to have the evening gown portion of the competition or if they were going to announce the winner- we decided to leave!
"Bienvenidas" - "Carnival Negro"
My favorite contestant was Fabiola who had the large cheering section waving pink balloons. She earned my applaud during the carnival section of the competition. She wore a white carnival costume with feathers and a large Nefertiti style hat, and held a white sign sprinkled with silver glitter in each hand that read “Bienvenidas” – “Carnival Negro” with a white helium balloon attached to each that she let float away as she reached the end of the stage. I learned the next night that she was the winner!!.
Matthew in the spot light with the band
The festivities for Verano Negro in Chincha began the next day. There was a great program schedule of the next two weeks that outlined everything that we could participate in. We decided to attend a grape stomping at the Naldo Navarro bodega (vineyard) and Cajon classes (an Afro-Peruvian drum that is a wooden box with a whole in the back of it) that evening. The grape stomping was supposed to start at high noon so we decided to eat lunch first and arrived with perfect timing at 1:00 PM !  We had a wonderful time, the host was very welcoming. We drank lots of wine and pisco (a Peruvian hard liquor made from grapes), made new friends, enjoyed an Afro-Peruvian band and dance. And yes, of course we got to dance on the grapes!
Dancing on grapes
Afro Peruvian dance and the Criolla Band
After all the dancing, eating and drinking we headed back to the main plaza for the Raspadilla Fair and to meet up with my friend Patricia who is originally from Chincha. A Raspadilla is similar to a snow cone, but with finer shaved ice, and they use a super thick syrup in Peruvian fruit flavors of coconut, passion fruit, cherimoya, peach, strawberry, chicha morado, and more.
The Girls
Cajon Class

Around 6:30 PM we head to the 5:00 PM Cajon classes at SOCIAL CREATIVA – again perfect timing. But I did not plan well for drumming, wearing my short green dress. But I didn’t let that stop me, I just wrapped my Vamo ‘pa Chincha t-shirt around me like a diaper and I was ready to go! LOL. We had a great time at a the class, check out this video from the school which also features a great dancer

La Reina de El Carmen- Fabiola
That night we headed back to El Carmen for Carnival Negro. We got to see the Queen of Carnival Negro, a great concert put on by local and international bands from Cuba and Chile. The closing act was – the internationally acclaimed band/group Peru Negro! If you ever have the opportunity to see Peru Negro, you must it is truly is a treat! Then there was a big dance competition hosted by a fabulous “queen” with braids down his back. He brought girls of all racial backgrounds and from all over Peru on stage, to see who could dance to the Afro Peruvian music the best. They all had moves far better than me or any of my friends back home! The girl from Ica won.

The other queen =) - He had a great voice! (photo via Catherine Ntube)
Peru Negro- (photo via Catherine Ntube)

It was truly great to see how everyone came out to support Verano Negro and Carnival Negro. People of all races came out to appreciate and celebrate Peru’s African culture.It was a weekend filled will love, music, beauty and culture, one we will always remember.

To view the rest of our photo album please click here Verano Negro Photo Album

The following are a few of my favorite photos from the Verano Negro facebook page. (It’s time for me to get a new camera) You can view their albums here: Official Verano Negro albums


Eating Dirt, Making Mud Pies and Building Sand Castles- hazardous dirt

Česky: bábovky z písku Česky: mud pies
Image via Wikipedia

At some point or another whether accidentally or intentionally as children we have eaten dirt, haven’t we?  I remember one of the joys of play out doors while growing up was making mud pies with my friend and next door neighbor Monica. I would grab one of my grandmother’s aluminum pie pans, dig up the dark soil under the tree to used as the filling, various leaves and berries as seasoning and fruits, then sprinkled the lighter gray top soil on as sugar. Of course I also remember going to the beach with my Dad – burying him under the sand, building sand castles with shells as decoration, and just digging holes until I reached water.  These are just a few of the fun memories from my childhood when I’m sure I did indeed ingested some dirt!

I’m sure that you have some similar memories. Guys seemed to love dirt, it was always on your faces, clothes and in your hair. It is still part of all your out-door games…you might have just grabbed a handful of dirt and put it in your mouth, or thrown it at your friends. By now some of you are now creating these dirt filled memories with your own children or are you keeping them nice and clean, and away from the mesmerizing element?
Palacio de Goberno to Cantagallo via google maps
These fond memories are what ran through my mind as I visited Cantagallo, Lima, Peru. A city that most Limaneans don’t even know about (based on my brief survey); although, it sits on the Rimac River and is just behind the Palacio de Gobierno (The Presidential Palace). It is literally less than 3.2km in driving distance from the Palacio de Gobierno.
My friend Carol, a doctor who studies infectious diseases in the jungles of Peru, suggested I visited this town after I asked to go with her on her next trip to the jungle. I thought a trip to the jungle of Tarapoto would be the best way to see how people really live rather than going on a pre-scripted tour for gringos. I figured might fit in as her gofer while she was trying to figure out how to save the world.
Carol informed me that Cantagallo is now inhabited by indigenous people who moved there from the jungle and that a few of them still make traditional crafts. I thought why not? I’ll see and experience something new, another part of Lima, that’s why I’m here, right?
Carol sent an email to her friend Jeiser who would take us there and serve as guide. We decided to go the following day. I Google searched the place before we left, but the only information I could find about this place was on Wikipedia Espanol. The brief paragraph mentioned that Cantagallo was originally settled by 14 Shipibo families in the year 2000, and that it is located between the flower market and the Rimac River, just behind downtown Lima. I knew of the area just behind it the Barrio Altos because you can see it from downtown – a mountain side with shacks of multiple colors scattered all over it and a large cross perched atop.
I assumed that Cantagallo would be very similar to the Barrio Altos that I had seen previously off in the distance.

Matthew and I met Jeiser this past Saturday for our visit of Cantagallo. Jesier spoke Spanish and I was quite proud that I could have a full conversation with him for our approximately 30 minute taxi ride. Jesier is a really friendly guy with a warm smile from PucallpaPeru, a Peruvian Amazonian city where the people of Cantagallo are from. He has a degree in Public Health and I think he mentioned he had a heart condition.. that is how he met my friend Carol. Jesier’s sister and his cousins presently live in Cantagallo.
Our taxi pulled up to a dirt field (I found it ironic that  Google maps has a green patch to mark this place) with people walking around and kids playing. We then walked up a hill, through a market and finally walked on a thin dirt path lined with square boxes and shanties that make the humble shotgun homes of Coconut Grove, Florida look grand.
We walked into Jesier’s cousin’s house where we were greeted by his sister and his Aunt Fidela with cheerful smiles. This was a very hot day, and it was even warmer inside their house than out so we only visited for a few minutes then continued on our way. We walked through the paths of Cantagallo walking past dirt covered children as Jesier explained the difficulties of life in Cantagallo. I was told that the majority of homes here are made from garbage cans and what looked to be plywood;  the electricity is turned off at night (not that I remember anything electrical at his cousin’s house) and that there is no police or presence of law whatsoever. Jesier was greeted by quite a few people as we walked along and everyone was very nice to us and greeted us with hand shakes, hugs and the typical Peruvian kiss on the cheek.

 At this point I’m screaming in my head PLEASE DON’T GO! Because this is when I noticed that my dirt path was actually a dirt covered trash path, and Jesier told us that this hill that we were standing on was actually a landfill, and the Rimac River is not  pleasant itself!
We could see the trash sticking out the edge of the hill as it approached the trash lined river. We were told that the landfill was filled with all types of hazardous waste, including dead cats and dogs and supposedly human remains. The people are sick for unknown reasons of course related to living on waste, and all types of sexually transmitted diseases are being shared. It seems that lack of electricity and law has also lead to “banditos” (criminals) ruling the town at night- rapes, burglaries, assaults, and who knows WHAT make this an unsavory place to be at night. Later we ran into a few more friends who told Jesier about a friend of his from college who passed-away two weeks ago. They had found his body just laying there..the cause of death was unknown, and more than likely not investigated.  It’s dangerous here because there is no law, police, or anything that maintains order here. Even though as I mentioned earlier, the President of Peru sits less than 3km away from here.  I found it interesting that in-spite of these inhumane living conditions, the people have prescribed to a  discriminatory class system. Here’s the best way I can think of to explain the mentality; I live in Upper Landfill so I’m better than you and my kids aren’t allowed to play with yours. Which is hard to believe because there are approximately 1,200 children who live there and they literally run the place!  Why they have decided to put this discrimination structure in to place I’m not sure. Discrimination anywhere is always cruel and demoralizing.  I have a few theories; one, it somewhat mimics Peru’s classicist structure; two, perhaps it’s done to others to gain control and power in bad situations; three, just plain lack of education. On another note, one of my friends asked me “why do poor people continue to have so many children?” (more than they can afford). It seems to be a universal commonality among people living in poor situations. My thoughts are that lack of education is the main factor; other factors might be that children having children is usually a cyclical pattern, some of the children are the result of rape (it is illegal to have an abortion in Peru- with the exception of the mother’s life being at risk), and not to be funny but when you have a lack of entertainment – sex tends to be the entertainment. But after experiencing a day in Cantagallo, the idea of  growing-up in the Cabrini Green projects of Chicago seemed to be a preferable option. Where clean water, lights, emergency services and a play ground are at least accessible!

Jesier’s Aunt Fidela brought out the jewelry she made and also explained that she could sew Shipbo designs for me. I purchased two necklaces and she was kind enough to give me a bracelet and necklace set that she thought I should have.

During our visit Matthew and I listened to this family speak to one another in what we differentiated as two maybe three different languages!

(Jesier later confirmed that his mother spoke one Amozonian language and his father another so they grew up conversing in those languages and Spanish).
Jesier then mentioned Ayahuasca and that his cousin Cesar knew how to perform the ceremony. Ayahuasca apparently is used by shaman for medicinal and spiritual purposes. It is known to be a hallucinogenic cure-all. Cesar came out with his bottle of Ayahuasca, a bottle of unpleasant looking brown liquid and we spoke with him for a while. I gathered that he had studied to become a shaman for five or six years and had been a shaman for maybe eight years. I’ve never met a shaman so this was quite interesting to me. I asked him what I should do about my migraines, his response was Ayahuasca. The verdict is still out about that; furthermore, from my understanding the ritual is supposed to be done in harmony with nature and in a safe place. Unfortunately, I don’t believe if I do venture off to try this miraculous drug that it will be in Cantagallo.

So you ask, what has the government done to help the Shipibo people who live here in Lima? From what I understand up until this point nothing – but several people have told me that there are plans to build a highway along the Rimac, hence they will be displaced then the government will have to provide them with housing. We shall see. So, you ask why did this group of Shipibo people leave their lush jungle to come to the slums of Cantagallo? Jesier doesn’t know himself. The only explanation he has received is that it’s because they believe there children will have the opportunity to have a better education in Lima. But Jesier says that no one from here has gone to college, they are not teaching their children Shipibo so that they can assimilate into the Spanish world. It’s sad too that they don’t know about the animals, plants and streams in the life filled jungle their tribe come from. They are only learning  to survive in a slum.

Meanwhile Jesier who was born in Pucallpa, educated in Puacallpa, has graduated from college, studied in Europe, and still lives and works in Pucallpa. For some reason this particular group of Shipibo have continued dreaming this unfulfilled dream that moving to the capital of their country would somehow make life better.

What I will remember most about Cantagallo is that it was filled with children, laughing and playing just like I did when I was a kid. Like my 11-year-old little sister does now, our god-children do, and as our children and your children will in the future.
There were happy little faces in this place, playing in kiddie pools and shooting Super Soakers in the hot summer sun. There were kids running around playing tag and girls walking around chatting it up. But there were also sullen little faces in this place, walking slowly sitting in corners. All of them happy or sad their faces were smudged with dirt!
Do you remember coming home from the park or play ground – your clothes covered in dirt from playing? I do, I remember my grandmother saying “ooh baby you need to go take a shower, you smell like the great outdoors”.
As we left Cantagallo the last  images that remain with me are of two little boys covered in dirt, playing in the dirt park, digging a hole in the trash filled dirt underneath the sidewalk. I remember playing in dirt – all kids play in dirt, if allowed.
Unfortunately, my Peruvian friends remind me that this is Peru, and this isn’t the only slum town here. You can see another one in my friend Ric Francis’ blog titled Golden Slum, which describes an even more profound existence.  And the more you really think about it, there are more places like this all over the world. I really don’t know how we would end this epidemic, I’m sure it’s by taking just one step at a time, helping or giving hope.
People always say things like “the world is your oyster”, “you have to make your opportunity”, “I made it out of the ghetto, so can you”; but do the babies born here in this place really have that chance without a helping hand?
I am just asking that you remember how blessed you are. – You just happened to be born to the parents you were born to, in the city, state, and country you were born in. Be thankful for the dirt you played in!
Everyone should be able to play in clean dirt!
If you have the resources to make a difference, please find a way to do so.
A few organizations you can take a look at:
        Lima, Peru


What are your thoughts, suggestions, comments, on this global issue? Please leave a comment.

Origami Dresses

Quick post- Just wanted to share what I ran across last night. Every once in a while you run across something really unique in Lima. Luckily I had my camera with me this time!  More dresses here

Origami Dress in Lacomar