Here’s a Peru tale I’ll never forget… On the road from the Valley to Cusco, there is a section that collapsed into a ravine, so while under construction, it goes down to one lane and we often have to stop a few minutes for traffic to flow past. On Wednesday I had just lit a cigarette, hung my arm out the window and this crusty ol’ Peruano dude, complete with gold rimmed teeth, walks by, stops at the car and takes the smoke from my hand! With a smile and a puff, he tells me “Welcome to Peru”! He kept on walking, and that’s exactly how it happened.
Any foreigner with white skin living in this country might understand the truer, deeper meaning of this interaction. Most people outside of Lima are poor beyond what humanity should allow and because of my skin color, I am a constant target for thieves, beggars and con artists. I tithe, and I am proud to admit it. I give away money, food and cigarettes every single day with a simple request that they pay it forward and do something nice for someone else. I would have given my cigarette bandit an entire pack, only if he’d stopped a little longer to introduce himself.
I live in the weirdest place on earth.