On July 9, 2013

Ayacucho, the real Peru. The city is geographically separate from other big cities and cultural centers of Peru. There are hardly any tourists, especially during the weekdays. I walked around with my friend Kiki, a blonde Dutch girl almost as tall as me. We walked around feeling like giants and turned heads, got the ‘gringo’ cat calls, and made most people smile.

Kiki is volunteering at an organization helping the local street children. She told stories of the physical and sexual abuse most people experience. The city has high rates of alcoholism and the poorer kids buy glue to sniff since its so cheap and available. The city has a history of violence from a terrorist group and the government. People were being taken from their homes and killed in the recent past. Since schooling was not an option, most parents now are working long hours at unskilled jobs leaving the current generation of kids to fend for themselves. Combined with the vicious circle of abuse and drugs, the city needs to heal.

I met another Dutch guy who is a professional football (soccer) trainer in Europe. He organized a tournament for the kids in the city and I got to watch the semifinal a and finals of two age groups. It was awesome to see the kids have fun and play with a purpose as well as the parents getting involved and cheering. Unfortunately nobody wants to organize another tournament, despite the success of this one. It’s the mentality of Peruvians to be passive, and in general they are not good at organizing. Talking with Peter, yet another Dutch man who owns a hostel in town, he complained about the consistent lack of organization here. He also mentioned the three business ventures he almost had running before getting everything stolen by an employee or partner. He’s waiting more than three weeks for paperwork after he paid for a car, which seems to be the norm here.

Finally I met Stephan, a Belgium from the Dutch half who is working as a manager of a really elegant hotel for 6 months. He’s been in South America for 6 years already.

Once again it turns out the people you meet can make a busy, dusty town into a paradise.

One Response to “Ayacucho”

  • what about the incas, building such an amazing civilization when europeans were in the dark ages?

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