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.


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.


Hi everyone! Just wanted to do a quick summary of a few things that have gone on in our lives here in Peru that I haven’t blogged about.

  1. My in-laws visited (mother, father, and brother). We had a great time together, and we even got my mother-in-law on a bus trip to see the Ballestas Islands, my father-in-law on a doon buggy ride….. and my father-in-law to lie down on a sand board face forward down a sand doon! More pics: click here.

    The guys with the doonbuggy
  2. Two of my classmates Alex Figuerola and Jennifer Nelson from D.A.S.H. (Design and Architecture Senior High) have come to Peru (separate trips, and not to visit me lol), and I got the opportunity to hang out with them. Thanks to facebook for the connection.  More pics with Alex: click here.

    Night out with Alex and my Peruvian friends.
  3. I’ve gotten to visit a few AMAZING restaurants (in no particular order):
    1. Manifiesto: A fabulous gourmet experience that will dazzle your taste buds and eyes with Peruvian flavors. The plus: you can talk to the chef! We attended with the meetup group More pictures: click here!
    2. Panchitas: Amazing Peruvian food brought to us by Peru’s famous chef Gaston Acurio! We had the best anticuchos I’ve ever had and I ordered arroz con pollo with lamb, and the Ariquipeno dessert queso helado (DELICIOUS) . Big thanks to Ursula and Miguel to introducing us to this restaurant. I couldn’t find the website but this one has great pics>
    3. El Rincon Que No Conoces: Another wonderful restaurant featuring Peruvian food. We got to go to this restaurant with the lovely Ericka Madrid of The restaurant typically has a buffet on Wednesday, our group went on Saturday; however, Ericka was able to get the restaurant to do fabulous tasting menu for our group. It included 3 types of causa, anticuchos, papas rellanas, arroz con pata, seco de res, and picarones all for S/.45!!

      The "Chef and I" at Manifiesto
  4. I can’t believe I never finished my blog post about Machu Pichu with my friend Keisha, since then Matthew has gone. Machu Pichu is everything what everyone has written and said about it. It is an absolutely breath-taking place. But just a note, on our way back from Machu Pichu Keisha and I got lost on the side of a mountain and rescued by 9pm. Yes, I found the one patch of cell phone service next to a bat cave and a suspension bridge. HA.. Long story; hence it hasn’t been written.
    Keisha and Erica

    The Bridge
  5. One of Matthew’s best friends from college Jared just visited us last week. We had a great time and even went to a pena, De Rompe Y Raja Jared got to dance with the criolla dancers and got lit on fire! More pictures: click here.

    Jared and Matthew
  6. As the summer winds down and Matthew was away climbing Huana Pichu and visiting Machu Pichu, I got to spend the day at the beach with my friend Candice and our own United Nations group =); the girls were from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Korea. More pics: click here!

    Beach day

That’s all folks!

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.