Yes, we were on a mission, but I managed to work in a little shopping. It is astounding to contemplate the contrast that is Peru, as well as that of other developing nations. My first foray into shopping was in Chimbote, where—accompanied by Big, another member of our team, and a Peruvian translator, I ventured into the city’s main market. We were hoping to find juice drinks for the carnival we had planned for the children.
Fresh cuts of goat hang alongside gym shorts.
Our group had two doctors and two nurses who worked from sun up to sun down each day in the indigent hospital. Although they dealt with many run-of-the-mill ailments and diagnoses, they also faced diseases and traumas never seen in the United States. The intricacies of the Peruvian health care system defy comprehension. For instance, when hospital patients receive a prescription—even for medicine they must take while hospitalized—they are responsible for obtaining the medicine from a pharmacy and having it brought in to the hospital to be dispensed by a nurse. So, here we are at a nearby pharmacy, purchasing various prescriptions and buying diapers for some of the children in the pediatric unit.
My next shopping expedition was taking some high school girls shopping for school supplies. School starts March 1. Our destination was Plaza Vea, a modern shopping venue that opened a little more than a month ago. As you can see from the photo, middle class Chimboteans are loving it. It will undoubtedly mean the loss of smaller mom-and-pop bodegas and tiendas.
My final shopping adventure was at the Indian Market in the Mira Flores neighborhood of Lima. Somewhat like a vast outdoor mall, the Indian Market is the place to shop for traditional Peruvian handcrafts as well as for jewelry, silver, and works by local artists.
The Mister and I bought a couple of things for ourselves, one being this alpaca blanket, which we are using as a throw in the family room. High quality alpaca and baby alpaca are similar in quality to Scottish cashmere. It is not quite as soft, but it does not pill. It is quite silky, making it perfect for scarves, as well. Unfortunately my photography skills are lacking, but another favorite find are these coasters. Handpainted glass backed with wood, they are really much more elegant than they look here.
My final purchase was Peruvian coffee, dark and rich. Next time, though, I think I’ll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping at the Indian market. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the Olympics under my alpaca blanket!