Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Would you like to take a walk in Monte Hermoso?

There really isn’t much to see and it won’t take more than 5 or 6 minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other, but I’d like to show you what there is of it. I call it a town, but it’s really more of a mini-village. The Spanish word for it is ‘caserio’ which means, well…I’m not sure what it means.

We’ll start at the school. You’ve already seen a photo of it in a previous post but this is a slightly different angle. The school sits in the middle of the town. This is Main Street running off ahead into nowhere. The scenery isn’t any different behind us. Notice that there are no adults to be seen in any of these photos. The people are inside their houses watching us. That’s always the case in these remote villages. I’m not sure why. And there is always quiet...silencio. I mean nothing but bird sounds and the occasional bray of a burro. You see that green building under the tree next to the school? We’ll go there next.

This is Monte Hermoso’s medical clinic. The plaque on the wall next to the door reads – “The Government of the United States donated this medical post to the Government of Peru as a symbol of friendship.” If I understand it correctly the building was actually erected by members of the United States and Peruvian armed forces, which would account for the sloped roof. Peruvians living on the coast build flat roofs. The clinic was commemorated on September 15th 2006.

We’ve walked about 100 feet from the clinic to an intersection and typical street. I don’t know what your reaction is to this view. I guess it depends on where you are and how much experience you’ve had with developing countries. I’ve grown accustomed to this scene. It is everywhere up and down the coast of Peru. Even in the larger cities including Lima you don’t need to get very from the city center before you find yourself in these conditions. Do you see that pig in the center-left of the photo? Let’s follow it around the corner of the house on the left.

The pig got a little nervous as we approached and joined its comrades…a burro, another pig (lying down), a dark colored cow in the background, and whatever that thing is with the horns and rope wrapped around its face. It looks African to me. Maybe you know what it is. When I first saw the significant numbers of cows and pigs in the area I questioned whether these people were really poor. After a little research I learned that the value of a scrawny cow is less than $250 and a pig much, much less.

Now we’re at the very next yard. See what I mean about ‘scrawny’? The pigs look more like starving dogs than the porkers I’m accustomed to in the States. The pig in the foreground is a nursing mother. Her piglets are lying to her right.

This is the park. It’s only ½ block from the pigs we just left. The central theme is of the different types of birds that inhabit the area. The park doesn’t have the manicured look of the bigger city parks, but for a little desert village it’s not bad. And you know what’s remarkable about this park? No graffiti. Go back and look at the photos of the school and medical clinic. No graffiti. I have never been in a town where walls and park benches and statues were not plastered with scrawling. In fact in most towns I’ve been in the bird statues would have been stolen long ago for resale. Not here. The school director told us there is no crime or delinquency in Monte Hermoso, though he did add that some of the men like to drink. To which I replied…and that’s bad because…?

Did you notice these little urchins following us during the tour? I thought not. Don’t worry, they won’t beg or bother us. There probably haven’t been any gringos here since the clinic was built in 2006 so they’re just curious. If you want to give them a piece of candy or a sol (coin) they’ll gladly accept it. I usually do.

I could see myself living in Monte Hermoso. Yeah…there’s lots of desert and not much to do but there’s also lots of green cultivated fields. And there are trees and birds and animals. And quiet…don’t forget the quiet.




  2. Hi Lucho… all I can tell you is that Monte Hermoso is a 30 minute combi ride from Morrope. I don’t even know which direction because the ‘road’ twists and turns so much.