Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 Peru Inspired Gift Guide

If you're looking for Peru inspired gifts, you've come to the right place! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Food and Drinks
For the cook in your life, get them a Peruvian cookbook. They have tons of great recipes like ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, papa rellena, and much more.

If someone you know loves trying different alcoholic drinks from around the would, they should definitely try Pisco Sour. If they like taking shots, there are a number of Peruvian shot glasses to choose from. And despite what the Chileans may say, Pisco is Peruvian.

If you want to buy a unique non-alcoholic drink for someone, try Inca Cola. It's what Coca Cola is to the USA and what Irn Bru is to Scotland. Chicha morada is a drink made from purple corn. Although it sounds weird, it's really good and unique to Peru.

Pima Cotton 
Peru has quality material such as alpaca (used to make blankets and clothing) and pima cotton. When buying cloth, don't skimp on the price since you will get what you pay for. Although something might be more expensive, it will probably last much longer than the cheaper item and therefore save you money in the long-run.

Famous throughout the world, pima cotton is used to make many things such as sheets, clothing for kids and babies, as well as shirts for adults.

Christmas Ornaments
Ornaments make great gifts. There are a number of Peruvian ornaments out there, such as Machu Picchu, nativity scenes, llamas, and the Peruvian flag.

Tumi is a Peru inspired company that makes gorgeous bags and luggage. The quality can't be beat either. Whether you're looking to give someone a bag for business, travel, or casual, they've got you covered.

More Gifts
If you're looking for more ideas, here are other Peru inspired gift guides I've written.

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cholo: Funny Nickname or Racial Slur?

I was reading Babies On the Move (the baby on the cover is from Indonesia, you can tell from the coins sewn around the basket) the other day to my daughter. It has babies around the world and how they get around. They have families from North America, Africa, Asia, and Latin America featured as well as babies being wrapped in blankets, papooses, strollers, and more.

One of the pictures in the book is of a native Peruvian and her child, typically referred to as a cholo, chola, cholito, or cholita. Short stature, ruddy cheeks, lots of layers, hats, and colourful clothes. They typically live in the mountains. You can find more about this term on Wikipedia.

I worked at a private bilingual school in Lima which had started as a German school. We went to a school in the shanty towns near Lima before Christmas and one of the little kids came up to me and asked me which country my students were from.

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I realised the irony of it all. I told him that they were Peruvian, just like him. Yet they weren't just like him. My students were from wealthy families who could afford private schooling, trips abroad, and even therapy to help them deal with all the issues they had. They didn't even look like the children at the shanty town school since most of my students were blond-haired and blue-eyed.

Speaking Spanish will help you greatly. You'll be treated differently than if you speak English all the time, it'll help you assimilate, and you'll be able to communicate easier. If you're looking to learn Spanish, Fluenz Spanish, Rosetta Stone, and Synergy Spanish.
Funny Nickname?
Peruvians tend to use a lot of nicknames rather than using given names, this is just part of the Peruvian culture. Some of them include: gordo/a (fatty), tio/a (uncle / aunt), chochera (not really sure how to translate it), amigo/a (friend). Despite my students' background and looks they commonly referred to each other as chola.

Even some of the teachers would call each other or the students chola as well. Some people are proud of their heritage as you can see by this shirt that says, "being a cholo is fantastic". Other people disagree and believe that cholo is a racial slur.

Racial Slur
Some Peruvians don't like the word cholo since it reminds them about how the Spanish came and conquered the Incas. Peruvians are still bitter about this conquest. They say the Incas were tall and strong and the Spaniards polluted their bloodline and mistreated them.

Wikipedia says that it's a racial slur. And I suppose it could be depending on the context. I guess cholo is similar to the n-word in the US. I personally would never use that since I'm not black and it would be seen as a racial slur. However, I have heard blacks using the n-word when talking to each other. Outside of Peru, cholo has become a fashion statement. Think Latin rapper style.

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Feeling Good Inside and Out

The following is a guest post by Jim Killion. He has an NGO and book about volunteering in Peru. You can read more about him at this post.

If you're thinking of going to Peru, knowing Spanish will help you adapt to the Peruvian culture. If you're looking to learn Spanish, Fluenz Spanish, Rosetta Stone, and Synergy Spanish.

Everybody wants to feel good don´t they? Everybody would like life to be a tad more convenient and manageable and in the shortest amount of time possible. And why not? After all we deserve it.

I was on a visa run to Toronto, Canada in November visiting with some wonderful friends who have supported this project for years now. While staying at their home, I was reacquainted with what has come to be strange to me because my day to day living in the Peruvian Andes is so different. Heated homes for one example. Floors with carpeting. Hot running water and a refrigerator, with food. A bed. Cars that were not 10 years old and beat up. Stores with thousands of choices and restaurants with page after page of options. Those everyday conveniences I had in my first 50 years spent in the U.S. has almost completely vanished from my memory, the impression of Peruvian living in the Andes, over the last 5 years, has replaced every nook and cranny of my thinking.

Every person´s definition of comfort is different. What makes each of us feel really great is also different. A pair of shoes that fit, warm clothing, basic hygienic supplies, soap and shampoo, deodorant and fingernail clippers are normal for most folks in developed countries. Where I live, it is barely a consideration. To have those things, for the children that we reach out to, is a luxury. But it would make them feel really good to have them.

I was able to bring back a few hundred pounds of materials and supplies into Peru for the children thanks to my Toronto friends and many others like them. This is what makes them feel good.

As good as in a fine meal at a nice restaurant or soaking in a Jacuzzi hot tub? No, it is different. It feels good on the inside, in a very special way and in a very special place in your heart. That´s how my friends and our supporters describe it to me. That is how I feel everyday, waking up in an unheated house, solid concrete walls in Huaraz, Peru. A bare light bulb hangs from the ceiling, water may or may not come out of a facet and is cold only. I adjusted, I manage, I never complain because I chose this life to be able to create the project called Changes for New Hope. I never regretted this decision. It is what makes me feel good inside, in that very special place. It is such an overwhelming feeling, the compassion and love in such a dynamic way that I generally forget the minor inconveniences that had replaced my North American life which was very comfortable.

We do what makes us feel good, gives us a sense of purpose and happiness. Some need to find it externally in some form or fashion. Others, a few unique individuals have found that special oasis of peace and tranquility and love deep within themselves by touching the lives of others who need them. Sometimes it is a post card with a message of heartfelt hope. Sometimes it is a box of materials and supplies like the ones I just mentioned. Sometimes it is a visit to help in a hands-on volunteering way. Sometimes it is funds. No matter what manner your heart is sharing, the feeling is incredible. It is real. It does´t end with a hangover, or a breakup text message or the shakes. It is a wonderful feeling of having found a purpose and it does not diminish or fade.

I invite each one of you who may be considering how to feel wonderful, deep within yourself, to try this experience, touch this piece of the world and the children who only want to feel good and share the comfort of your own heart with theirs.

Jim Killon

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Youngest Birth Mother Was Peruvian

With all the young girls out there giving birth, the youngest is still Lina Medina, from Peru. She was 4 when she got pregnant and 5 when she gave birth in 1933. She and her son were raised to believe that they were siblings, but her son found out she was really his mother when he was 10.

Some native cultures, such as the Wayuu in Mexico, traditionally get married and give birth quite young. Unfortunately, many of the young mothers were raped by close friends or family members. Here's a complete list of the youngest birth mothers.

The Ultimate Peru List recommends:

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