Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lima Trips

I've made multiple trips to Lima over the last week, and have had little down time to report on them individually, so decided to cram them all into one post. Basically, there are three parts. Our first PC training trip, my trip to with my host brother and his friend to pick up Luara (a current PC volunteer), and our training trip to La Victoria.

Part Uno (One):
So we went to Lima on Saturday to get to know the city. Really, it wasn't too exciting. Lima is a huge city and we just saw a fraction of what it has to offer, the city center (with the president's house) and Miraflores (the commerical district). Neither really stood out for me, and the weather was cloudy (as I guess it typically is). Miraflores was interesting to me because it reminded me of Miami. It's an upper class neighborhood with nice ocean view houses, every fast food and chain resturant Montana still doesn't have, and people who speak both Spanish and English.

Linked below is a video I took of the Plaza Mayor in the center of Lima. It's where the Presidental Palace is located there, and it's also where 32 of us had to practice asking questions about the community (where are the dangerous parts of town, what is there to see in this part of town, etc.). This place was neat, but was saturated with tourist and trainees. However, as usual, the Peruvians were very patient and tried to answer our questions.

Community Diagnositic Training in Lima

This is Alan Garcia's house (the president of Peru), the door to the right is where he comes out to make public addresses.

This is me with the crowd control cops in the city center. They work 24 hour shifts, let tourist hold their shields, and consistantly say "no" if you ask to hold their guns.

Part Dos (Two):
Sumarines and Water Foutains...

Wednesday was a national holiday for Saint Pedro and Pablo.

Laura (the volunteer before me) had just went on vacation to Chicago and when she returned, Frank, Danny (Frank's friend), and I went to see her in Lima. We picked her up at her friends house, and then drove to the ocean. We walked around a little, and then decided to go to the submarine meusum. The main attraction was a out of commision sub that you could go into for a tour. The tour was short, but interesting, and we got plenty of goofy fotos (photos):

Attacking a nearby resturant

The captian calmly calling the engine room.

The crew (L-R Danny, Fran, Laura)

After this, we went to the Parque de Aguas (Park of Water), where there are bout 20 different water fountains with lights, lazers and music. It a park that is run by the municipalidad (4S/.), but is really clean and safe. There were a ton of tourists from all over, and lots of couples making out.

One of the many water/laser displays.

Water tunnel

This was Fran and Danny's idea.


This was the grand finale with lazers, music, and of course... water.

Una vez una submarinista,Siempre una submarinista..... Once a submariner, always a submariner.

Part Tres (Three):
La Vicotria.

This was probably my most impactful trip to Lima, as the other ones were more for fun and pratice. No doubt, this one was more of an eye opener. La Victoria was one of those barrios (neighborhoods) that every one was told to stay away from during our first visit to Lima. It's a market section where you can find, or see anything. Its muudy, smells, and can only truly be discribed as caos. You're constantly being pushed to move along, as people call out to you to sell stuff. There is no clear orgnization to the stands, and there a venders "squatting" where ever there is an open space. You can't believe what you're seeing: Live frogs that get blended up into a "power smoothie", clouds of bees as you walk by the honeycomb sellers, massive snakes cut open and splayed out as a display for snake medicine, piles of rotting potatoes for sale (smelling horrible), etc.  In addition to this, there are gangs of theives eyeing the crowd for easy prey, people with horrible wounds/medical maladies begging for money, and ninos de la calle (street kids) working how ever they can.

The ninos de la calle were the reason we were there. PC had set up a meeting for us to see the "educadores del calle" (Street Educators) program that was set up by the government to help the street kids. Basically, its a drop in center for the street kids set up above the market. Its run by facilitators who are there to support the kids in their schooling.  However, this is a huge task. These people are easily the poorest people I've ever seen. The kids are coming from rough setting, and the families need them to work. A street kid works crazy hours (it wasn't uncommion for a 10 year old to be out working until 3:00 AM), doing crapy work (picking up potatoes that have fallen to resell, cleaning up the market looking for recyclables, etc). The hope of the program is to try to break this cycle of poverty, by supporting them in getting some form of education, possibly leading to a better life. Simple plan, but tough population to work with. Take for example this one little girl. Her mother sells CDs from kiosk (no bigger than 5'x5') on street corner illegally (They don't have a permit for that spot). So the stand is also their house (because if they left it, the police would come and take away their stuff). So each night they wrap the kiosk up in blue plastic tarps and all three of them sleep there, during the day, they sell whatever they can... pretty rough deal.

We were divided up into groups of 3-4. In the group of 3-4, we were lead around the market by one of the facilitators. They took us to the various stands, where their students worked, and showed us the ropes of the market (i.e. move to the right away from those guys, they are theives). I never felt very comfomtable, and I don't have any pictures of this place, as it was stressed that we were not allowed to bring anything other than the clothes on our backs. No camera, no wallet, no earing/rings/watches, etc. Nothing. Although I don't have any fotos (photos), it's really was one of those things that I know I'll be thinking about for awhile.