Since arriving home, many have asked me about my time in Peru. I’ve fielded general questions about my personal experiences, as well as several about Peruvian culture, history, and politics. I can give my take on Peruvian culture, since traveling and living for a couple months allows one to at least taste local flavor. But since I had no job with a distinguished academic or professional organization–and therefore no boss or colleagues to regularly direct questions to–and since I found my Spanish wasn’t good enough to maintain sophisticated conversations, I wasn’t able to educate myself well on serious or complex topics, including many from the national history. So when I’ve been asked about Peruvians’ attitudes toward Fujimori or the Shining Path (who are, apparently, the most-well known Peruvians in my circles back home), I haven’t had thorough answers. The best I can offer is that I heard little about Peru’s deadly war that ended only fifteen years ago, so it seems that chapter is tucked into the country’s memory. Maybe the war still comes up, just not with foreigners. I’m sure it is remembered. But the country bears no remaining physical scars. And images that would indicate recent pain and not-yet-healed wounds in another time or place seemed innocuous here.
I’ve begun working my way through the 6,000 photos I took in Peru (which is not so many when seen as only 100 photos a day). I’ll have small albums posted this week.