Hola guala, sabes que eres bonita eh? Phrases like this, meaning something like „Hey beauty, you know you’re gorgeous?“, unfortunately are also part of our everyday life as European young and female volunteers. It’s not too easy to talk about this objectively, but as it’s part of our reality here I feel like it shouldn’t be left uncommented. I personally only get stared at and as soon as the people realise that I know Spanish, they mostly will start a nice conversation with me. Like this, I already got to know lots of people here, taxi drivers, waiters or just random Trujillanos on the streets. But as soon as I’m with other friends, rather pale and blonde, talking German and therefore obviously being a stranger, men will start whistling, taxis will slow down and even catcalling is common. This honestly makes me feel very uncomfortable walking the streets here in Peru and I now know what it must feel like to live like this for a longer period. I got an impression what discrimination feels like and I probably have to make up my mind yet again about this issue.
There’s also the forbidden political topic of corruption I want to discuss briefly to not create the illusion that I haven’t experienced it so far. October 7th took place the communal elections and the campaigns beforehands were huge. Every evening, there were small parties in the streets, fireworks and painted walls everywhere in the city. As there is a obligation to vote in Peru, the night before drinking is illegal. Every Peruvian citizen travelled to his city of origin to participate in the elections. Sounds democratic and professional, but talking to the people uncovers deep frustration – what to do when you have to vote but all the candidates are politicians because of money or relations instead of their capabilities? It’s a sensible topic and the consequences of corruption also reach the educational system which made me personally very sad. How is the situation in this country ever supposed to improve when the future politicians are educated in the wrong way?
As I don’t want to offend anyone by posting tendentious content, you may contact me personally for further discussions.
But I want to stress that there aren’t only bad things and inconveniences. Although I haven’t been here for too long yet, I appreciate my daily encounters with several people that became part of my routine. There’s the woman selling sandwiches for 1 Sol that already knows my preferences and there’s the man wishing me a good morning at the entrance of the Sanna clinic, a hospital next to my school. My coordinators Juanjo and Señora Elsa are the sweetest organising everything for me and also the other volunteers in my house always have an open ear and will happily spend time together with me, sharing their music taste or just cooking and playing cards together. Thanks a lot guys!