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Summary of My Travels In Peru

I have never been in a country where they talk so much about respect, but there is so little of it. -- S. Hein

Some people - Arturo, Edson, Jessica, Laura, Yuri, Elena, Peru People file 1, file 2, Rosemerry

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Summary of Peru

(Based on over one year traveling and living in Peru. I have been in Chiclayo, Piura, Trujillo, Pacasmayo, Mancora, Lima, Chosica, Canta, Jaen, Cajamarca, Chacapoyas, Huaraz, Zoritos, Obrajillo, Yangas, Tagna)

I have never been in a country where they talk so much about respect, but there is so little of it. (My page on respect in Peru)

They have almost no respect for nature, for the sounds of nature, the beauty of nature or such simple things as sleep and silence. They pollute the air and land and fill the streets with all kinds of noise. Honking horns and out-of-tune bands are common place. So are "cohetes", firecrackers which sound like bombs being exploded. I wrote more about them here on my page on respect in Peru. (See pic of one "band" making a lot of noise to try to raise money.)

Besides Peru, only in Ecuador, Indonesia and Malaysia do I remember seeing people with as little respect for sleep. Like in Ecuador people often blast music late at night with no regard for their neighbors. (In Indonesia and Malaysia it was just in the mornings when they blasted out the "call to prayers" from the mosques at something like four thirty in the morning.)

I have never seen a country which talks so much about education, but does such a terrible job of teaching. (see file on Peru education)

I suspect Peru may have some of the most insecure people in the world since they are hit so much as children and damaged so much by the Catholic religion and the school system, a system which places obedience, memorization, patriotism, and school uniforms as top priorities.

It is the only country where I can remember seeing anyone still using typewriters to teach typing. (see pic on this page)

I have never felt so pressured by the local men to drink beer with them. Only in Ecuador have I seen so many drunks in the morning or middle of the day.

I have never had so many local men, even married men, try to convince me to go get a prostitute with them.

I have seen more fights in the street here than in anywhere in the world. I have seen men in their thirties fist fighting, men in the late teens or early twenties fighting, and even two females in their late teens or twenties fighting on the street. And I don't mean arguing. I mean physically fighting.

I have never seen a country with more "speed bumps" with the possible exception of Mexico. Another country ruined by the Spanish and Catholics.

I have never seen such long lines of people waiting to get inside the bank or to use the ATM machine. (pics)

I have never had so many local people tell me how dangerous their country is and tell me not to carry anything with me when I go to certain areas.

I have never had so many people tell me that robbers will steal the tires and mirrors off of my van.

I have never had so many people look at me with fear when I walk past.

I have never seen children walking around holding a rope to keep them in line in any other country. (see pic)

I have never seen so many people throwing rocks at dogs and hitting them with sticks.

I have never seen a classroom so out of control as I saw in the class of a teacher here who shouts and hits the students with a stick. I have never been so afraid of students physically hurting each other as I was in that class when the teacher left.

I have never been in any other country where they have walls around the universities and security gaurds checking your bags when you leave the campus. (This was in Trujillo, supposedly one of the best cities in Peru. They also have walls around the universities in Lima and Chiclayo, with guards at the entrances.)

I have never seen so many bars on the windows and doors in any other country.

I have had more things stolen here in three months and been robbed more often than in all my life put together.

I have never seen a country that is so poor yet which puts so much emphasis on appearances.

No where else have I seen a highschool student carrying a shoe brush and shoe polish in her handbag, or seen one take out her shoe brush and clean her shoes when we were talking. (see pic)

I have never been so pressured to get my shoes shined as I have been in Peru, especially in Chiclayo.

I have never seen a country where they yell at each other and order each other around as much as in Peru.

I have never seen a country where I would say so many adults are brain damaged, probably from a combination of the physical violence, the lack of freedom, the Catholic religion, the terrible educational system and possibly the interbreeding.

Only in Indonesia have I been ordered to sit down so many times, but in Indonesia they usually said "Please sit down." In Peru they just say "Sit down."

Only in Ecuador have I seen such terrible teaching of English, but Peru seems to be even worse, although that is hard to do since in Ecuador they teach almost no English at all, even though the students sit in what are called English classes. Even in Indonesia they taught English better.

Only in Singapore have I seen so many private schools, institutes, acadamies etc. But in Singapore I don't remember seeing any "pre-university" schools, described more below.

With the possible exception of Singapore, I have never been in a place with so much propaganda about the importance of an education. There are hundreds of private schools which are really just businesses making money off of young people's fear of not getting a job without a degree, a title etc. I have also never seen so many "pre-university" schools. These are private, for profit, schools between high school and college which supposedly prepare you for an entrance exam. Here is one sign promoting one of these "pre-university" schools which says "Your destiny depends on this exam."

In the three countries I have had cars, I have never heard as many people say "You need to wash your car," nor had as many people pressuring me to pay them to wash it. They seem to think washing cars (and polishing shoes) is more important than protecting children from being hit by their parents.

I have never heard people use the word "verguenza", which means, shame or ashamed, as much as in Peru.

Only in Ecuador have I seen so many young couples standing in the streets hugging and kissing or in home door ways talking, since their parents won't let them invite their boyfriends or girlfriends in the house. And most parents won't even let the females out of the house without permission.

Only in Ecuador have I heard of so many female teenagers being kicked out of their homes when they get pregnant. A girl getting pregnant supposedly brings shame to the family. But kicking her out and thereby punishing an innocent baby apparently is not a cause to feel shame here.

No where else have I ever seen a university with separate entrances for students and professors. Evidently, the professors are so insecure they have this need to try to feel superior. Here is a pic of the main entrance for teachers. And here is a pic showing the students walking around the corner to go to the side entrance for students. This was at the Seņor de Sipan University in Chiclayo

No where else have I heard of parents being fined by the school for not going to the school's parent meetings.

Besides Peru, only in Indonesia did I seen a sign out side a church, mosque or temple that said you can't enter in shorts. (See pic)

Besides Peru, only in Ecuador and Malaysia have I seen teachers walking around hitting or threatening students with sticks.

Besides Peru, only in Ecuador have I seen so many schools for only males or only females.

Only in Peru have I seen people selling so many things like religious symbols and raffle tickets outside the church.

No where else have I seen a sign on the door of a house saying something like, "This house is a so and so religion house. We don't want to hear anything about any other religions. (pic)

I have never seen so many people riding mules and using mules to carry things.

I've never seen a country where people steal as many manhole covers and water meter covers. They sell them for scrap metal. (See pics)

I have never heard so many people say "Discupla" (excuse me) when they want to interrupt you, then just start talking. They might say "excuse me" but I don't feel excusing when they do it. I feel interrupted and disrespected. This is a bit like saying "Excuse me" before robbing someone.

I have never seen anywhere with so many walls around their houses and land.

I have never seen so many walls around children's playgrounds.

I have never seen so many people hitting animals.

I have never had so many people warn me that someone could point a gun at my head or threaten me with a knife and rob or kill me.

I have never had so many people worry about where I was parked and tell me to move a few feet one way or the other, or not to park in front of their store, or to park in front of their house if I was visiting them so they could watch my car.

I have never seen a country where adults repeat the questions I ask to children and teens so often. For example, I might say "How old are you?" to a child. The parent can't just let the child answer. They have to repeat what I just said, as if to teach the child that they are only supposed to answer questions of their parent asks it!

I wonder what the child thinks of this. I wonder if they say to themselves,"Why are you repeating what the gringo just asked me? Did you think I am too dumb to understand it the first time or what?"

They also often repeat questions or repeat instructions coming from other people, as if their child can't hear words coming from anyone else. I'd guess this comes from the parents unmet need to feel in control.

I have never seen a country where I have heard telling children and teenagers to "hurry" and "run" so often. Yet this is a country where everything takes longer than in most other parts of the world. It is basically, "hurry up and wait." And the adults tell children and teens to hurry when there is no reason at all for them to hurry. Then the older sisters and brothers shout "hurry" and "run" to their younger siblings.

I have never seen a country with so many dirt roads inside the cities and so much dust everywhere from the dirt.

Only in Indonesia did I see more trash on the street. But I never saw as many people actually throwing the trash onto the ground as I have seen in Peru. They eat candy, for example, and throw the wrapper on the street. They drink a soda and throw the bottle down to the ground.

No where else have I wanted to cry when I watched so called mechanics working on my car.

I have never been in a country with so much religion and so much crime in the same place. Indonesia had a lot of religion, but not anywhere near as much crime.

No where else have I seen so many parades. Or seen so many soldiers running through the streets.

No where else have I seen so many all night bars and casinos.

No where else have I seen so many people shooting off firecrackers. See more on the "cohetes"

No where else have I heard people say they have to buy new clothes for Christmas or seen them literally burn their old clothes, even in families that can hardly afford to buy rice. This is the tradition on New Year's Eve here. They make life-size straw dolls, dress them in old clothes, then set them on fire at around midnight. At which time they also shoot off thousands of firecrackers around the country, which results in many children losing fingers, eyes every year.

I have never had so many people lie to me.

I have never seen a place where they honk their horns so much or block the intersections so much, except perhaps in Mexico or Italy (also both Catholic dominated countries)

With very few exceptions, such as Indonesia and Ecuador, I have never seen a place where the teenagers are so afraid to disobey or even talk back to their parents.

I have never seen a place with such bad roads, so many dirt roads in the cities, so many potholes, even main roads and streets are dirt and full of holes. One of the main entrances to the country from Ecuador is a dirt road which is impassable in the rain if you don't have a truck or four wheel drive.

I have never heard so many young females tell me they would rather have their mothers hit them than verbally abuse them. When I tell them that neither one is good, they look at me as if to say, you are dreaming of the impossible.

I have never seen a country where they use so many labels for people instead of using the person's name. For example, they call people "Thin one", "Fat one", "Chinese", "Black", and things like "Jefe, Maestro, Tio" which are roughly something like "boss, master, uncle" although that person is none of those things to them.

I have never seen a country where people whistle so much to get someone's attention, as if they were whistling for a dog, instead of calling the person by name or going over to talk to them.

Like in Ecuador, no one seems to have books in the home. They just watch TV. Here is a picture giving you a good idea of an average Peruvian home. There is almost no furniture. But there is a TV. This was not a posed picture, by the way. This is how this young girl spends her time while her mother cooks and washes clothes by hand.

People don't store food in Peru. They don't have kitchen shelves stocked with food. They can't afford to buy food for more than one day at a time. So, typically, they go to the market everyday to buy the things for that day's meal. And they don't have refrigerators so they can't keep things like meat, they have to buy it each time they want it. To me this is a huge waste of time, among other things, but that is the way it is here.


Overall I would say Peru is proof that the Catholic Church is a failure.

I often find myself saying "I hate this place." Yet I am still here because there is so much to do here. I have met so many intelligent children here who are being hit and brain damaged. I feel both sad and guilty at the thought of leaving without trying to do everything I can to help them.

See Notes on Don Carlos



Push carts with loud speakers

Bands on the street -- Trujillo, Chiclayo

Police blowing whistles (People really like whistles in Peru)


Cars with loudspeakers on the roof



Spanish Lite

They use the same word for a lot of things here. In other words, their vocabulary is really limited. I have seen lots of examples of this, but today I just remembered "Luz". Luz primarily means light. But they also use it to mean electricity. For example when the electricity goes out, they say "Se fue la luz." And to say they have to pay the electric bill they say "Tengo que pagar la luz."

Gancho is another one they use for a lot of things. A gancho can be a bow in the back of a school girl's head, a clothes hanger, a clothes pin, or a hook. I just checked my Spanish translation program. (L&H Power Translator Pro) I looked up gancho. It only gave "hook" as a translation. But the Peruvians use it for a lot more than that. I don't know if they have words for all the different things like clothes hanger in Spain, but I expect that they have a lot wider vocabulary there.

"Mover" - This word obviously looks like "move" and it does mean move. But they also use it to mean "stir". For example, I asked Laura what you call stirring the sugar into the oatmeal and she said "mover." Then I said what do you call it when I pick up the pot and move it to the table. And she said "mover."

I was explaining these kind of things to Jerren and I said, "They have a really limited vocabulary. I think it is because their brains are so damaged from being hit and going to the schools here that their brains can't handle too many words. I guess you could call it "Spanish lite".

Another example...

One of the recent presidents was Fujimori. Now anyone who knows a little about the world can guess that is a Japanese name. And yes, it is. Fujimori is from Japan and he fleed Peru and went back to Japan when the Peruvians started to find out how much money he stole from the country as president. But now he is talking about coming back and running for president again. Kind of like Marion Barry in Washington DC. You might know about him. He is the one who was convicted of either using or selling cocaine - I can't remember which now - but then was re-elected anyhow. I think there was also something about him and prostitutes too, but I'm not sure. Well, anyhow, the Peruvians call Fujimori "el chino" - lol - even though he is clearly not from China!

Toma - The Peruvians say "toma" for both "drink" and "take". Like when Laura would push a sandiwch or something in front of my face, and say "toma". It was an order to "take". (I tried to teach her to say something like "do you want some?" with limited success.) But tomar also means drink as in "voy a tomar un cafe."

Romper - break or tear

Hechar - Pour milk, Hechar llave. Throw.

To Lock - They don't seem to have a verb for "to lock". They will say either "hechar llave" or "cerrar con llave".

Llave - Llave most often means "key" but they also use it for valve and faucet. To say turn off the water in the sink faucet they will say "Cerrar la llave." They will also use it for the switch or circuit breaker that shuts off electrical power in a building.


Reasons I stay in Peru

One of the reasons I have stayed here is there is more of a possibility of finding young people who are not already in the school brainwashing system, since they can't afford to buy the uniforms and school supplies. I still have some hope of starting my own school, or traveling around teaching from house to house in the poor areas. And there is no lack of poor areas. I also have the plan to help some poor families.

I can park my van in cocheras for 60 cents per night

Here is a file I started on things I like about Peru..

Some people of Peru



Band on the street trying to raise money for something. Making a terrible noise. (Trujillo)


Chiclayo one night




Push carts with loudspeakers

images/tricycl1.jpg 2, 3 missing...............



Cars with loudspeakers


This one is blasting out religious chants which the children and parents behind are repeating







Waiting in line to get into the bank (Chiclayo)


A private typing school one block from the main square in Trujillo.


School children walking on a quiet street holding a rope to keep them in line. (Trujillo)


Here is a another group of children roped-in waiting to be paraded around. (Chiclayo)


17 year old who carries a shoe brush and shoe polish to school.



modelo - maria reyes profesor de ingles

lives in esperanza

Mother and daughter on mule. They crossed to other side of the road and the daughter looked at me with fear instead of with a smile as most children do. I waved at them but they just looked away.

This sign on the door of Lucero's grandmother's house says "This home is Catholic. We don't accept Protestant or other propoganda. Long live King Christ! Long live the Virgen Mary of God."

Stealing Covers

Here is a picture of my foot in one of the holes in the sidewalk where someone has stolen the water meter cover to sell it for scrap metal. Then there is another hole nearby.



This is a missing manhole cover in the middle of the street. It is big enough for a car tire to fall into.



This is the office of the language department of the University of Seņor de Sipan in Chiclayo. The office is open and the secretary is sitting behind the bars. She comes out to unlock them so you can go in and talk. (Chiclayo)


Here is a girl showing her ID to get into her school. It is one of the "pre-university" schools.


There are armed gaurds with bullet proof vests like this all over in the cities. These two are in Chiclayo. I talked to them often as I walked by and one day they let me take their picture. But I would guess they are not supposed to let people take pictures. These two are outside a casino.

Pressure to drink

Story 1

One day I went to lunch with two friends. One of them owns an internet cafe. They are in their thirties. I had a little beer with them but was drinking it very slowly and didn't want to finish the glass they had poured me. They told me that in Peru it is a custom that the others don't drink more until you have finished your glass. So they said, "We are waiting to drink till you finish." I said, "Well, you are going to be waiting a long time then." They laughed as if they had never heard someone say something like this before.

Story 2

This is not just one story. It happens very often. When I am walking past some men who are drinking, and I don't even know them, they often want me to come drink with them. Once I went into a bar just to get change because it was one of the only things open and some men wanted me to come over to drink with them too. It is annoying to keep having to tell them no. And it is unpleasant because I don't like to reject people and have to say no. What makes it especially bad is they don't just ask you once and accept your answer. They keep pressuring you, trying to make you feel guilty etc.

My first morning in Peru. Around 6 in the morning I was laying in bed and heard this very loud noise. I thought it was a bell to wake people up to tell them to go to church. I got up to see what the noise was and I found out it was this man banging a metal bar against the side of this metal cart. He is collecting trash and this is how he lets people know he is coming so they can come out with their trash, as this lady is doing. It was one of many signs that they have no respect for people's sleep, quiet or for the sounds of nature.