The Two Sides of Lima

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The inequality of the two sides of Lima

We could say Lima has two sides, or several. To sum Lima up I’ll base it on my experience in this chaotic city that divides millions of people every day.

We get to live the Peruvian culture in full, thanks to Antony, our first Couchsurfing host in Latinoamerica. He lives in one of the hills in Lima, consideraded dangerous for some and believe me that’s what I thought on first sight too.

SAM_4163SAM_4192Lima y sus diferencias sociales

Side A: Flor de Amancaes, the hills of Lima

My mind insists on clasifying the place as dangerous for the images that are related to the houses/ slums on hills in Latinoamerica. Crossing th bridge, leaving the centre behind is getting in another world where messy houses decorate the hills.

The two sides of Lima

I remember when I arrived and thought: Where am I? when my Europissed mind kept on telling me that wasn’t my place, those indiscreet looks would be more than looks. But it wasn’t that way. I discovered a quiet place, Rimac, one of the oldest most populated areas in the city, that today remain careless.

Night views are impressive, the lights tinkling around give another look over Lima, one in which the shouts of the energic moms say: ‘Joselín, come to eat’ or the seller yells ‘Tamaaaaales’ very early in the morning substituting with it the incessant noise of the centre of Lima.

Now that I see it from the distance, I’m grateful for having been able to see that side of Lima because when I travel I don’t like staying in what’s familiar, in what I’m used to. How are we going to get out of the comfort zone and learn, then?

We spend some beautiful days with Antony in which we discover that ceviche tastes better in the street than in any restaurant, visit his grandmom’s house that opened the doors from the first instance and enjoy an always ready smile of his friends.

It was a coincidence that it was him who accepted to host us. Interestingly enough he created an NGO together with his friends to teach art to children in the poorest areas of Lima. When I use the world poor, humble or disadvantaged I get lost and tend to generalise too much. Not all of them are humble neither disadvantaged. Isn’t it a term made up by the highest social classes? What do we mean when we say poor or disadvantaged? How can our ego classify something we don’t know?

I take the smiles of children and volunteers of Arte y Alma with me, an NGO that brings art to those who need it the most. Between kite, masks and doodling workshops I discover the happiness of the moment, of the beautiful learning process that we offer to these kids, a world full of creativity and games.

Los barrios desfavorecidos de Limavoluntariado en Lima Perú

And ART… loads of art.

volunteering art in Peru

Viajar y hacer voluntariado en Lima

talleres creativos en los viajes


Side B of Lima: Miraflores and Barranco

Some days after we decide to go to another part of Lima, just to try we say. It’s called Miraflores and just when we cross the street that separates it from the centre of the city do we realise how the urbanization changes. The arrangement of buildings is structured and obvious, the white skin colour of locals invades the one tanned by the sun. I can’t believe where I am, it suddenly seems that I’ve entered in a tunnel and I’ve appeared in Europe. A superficial and organised world prevails before my eyes, still baffled.

Couples playing tennis, upscale restaurants, an enviable promenade and a different feeling. It’s very discordant, I was discovering the other part of Lima. A smily face but that in a way it doesn’t really match, it was a false and hypocrate face, the one that turns the back to the reality of South America.

I observe the distant traffic and I ask myself if people that live here have ever tried emoliente (herbal tea) or maca (herbaceous plant) in the streets of Lima, where their fellow countrymen survive while they live over the life.

Barranco the richest part of Lima

The last day before going volunteering in a coffee farm in which we’d stay for nine days, we spend our free time visiting Barranco, the most cultural place in Lima.

Graffiti are a real beauty for the eyes.

Barranco is the other side of Lima

Street art in Lima

arte callejero graffiti en Barrancos

arte callejero en Perú

I stay still and thoughtful after having seen the different parts of Lima that show me a complex and divided reality that’s submerged in the Latinoamerican society.

Dedicate some days to visit Lima if you’d like to understand that reality and take it as an alive example of what’s happening in the world, that social inequality that burns and divides.

If hesitanting, do visit Lima.

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Would you like to learn Spanish before going to Peru?

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