Since being in Peru I have noticed that there are similarities between Peruvians and Canadians as well as lessons we Canadians can take from Peruvians.
First I would like to point out the similarities:
In Cusco, Saturday mornings are set aside for lawn care maintenance. Up the street from where we are staying you can find a guy who is cutting his grass with the assistance of four of his neighbors, who offer him sage lawn care advise or active criticisms. Each of these grass gurus are standing around with their hands in their pockets or holding a drink as they watch their compatriot battle the notoriously evil crab grass (yes they have it here too!) with a pair of scissors because lawns are very small here in Cusco. With a hard edge to his grass cutting technique he takes no prisoners ( or leaves any crab grass intact!) as each of his buddies look on, knowing it will be his turn at the next house to offer his advise or criticisms. Those of us in Canada with lawns are familiar with this type of urban peer pressure, except here in Canada the group offering the advise is also measuring the amount of torque used in their weapon of choice or the power of the poison, as they reach for another cold one.
Another similarity between Peruvians and Canadians is in regard to the “tax man”. In Canada we have been known to refer to these members of our society as snakes. In Peru they have a particular name for them…Cobras. Need I say more?
The lessons I feel we as Canadians could learn from Peruvians are:
Make our history accessable to all, for free. Granted Canada does not have a long history when compared to Peru, but the little bit we have available should be accessable to all Canadian citizens for free. Peruvians live with their history everyday, cities that were built by the Incas are still being occupied and are thriving such as the beautiful city of Ollantaytambo, and unlike Canadians Peruvians have free access to all of their museums and archeological sites when ever they want to reconnect with their past and do so regularly. If we as Canadians want to know where we are going, we need to know where we have been…I’m just saying.
Another lesson Canadians could learn from Peruvians is, enjoy life. In the country of Peru there are more than 300 festivals happening throughout the year for people to choose from. The longest lasting and most elaborate of which is the Candaleria Festival. Groups of people come from all over the country to participate in the numerous parades happening throughout the city of Puno for 18 days, dressed in ornate beautiful costumes that are similar (there’s that word again) to the costumes worn at Toronto’s Caribana.
If we Canadians had a festival every day, week, or month of the year (including the horrendous months of January, February and March) we may find our mental health improving as a whole across the country.