Bribery is part of life here in Peru. If you get pulled over in traffic for example, just step out of the car and leave S/.20 (~$7) on the front seat. The cop will politely wish you a good day. While that may seem rather innocent, corruption in Peru has historically reached to the top levels (in English from IKN) of Peruvian government.
I’ve managed to get through nearly 2 years in Peru without bribing anyone, unless you count the time we were on the way to hand out Christmas presents to poor kids in a rural town and we had to give a cop a piece of Paneton for safe passage. Seriously.
Aside from the fact that I’m a cheap Dutchman, I just hate the thought of being part of the corruption. The bureaucracy is like a cancer here in Peru, with a bunch of middle class folks hiding in their comfy government offices enjoying the status quo, lining their pockets without doing a thing to improve their country. So I stubbornly persisted through getting legally married in Peru and obtaining my carne extranjeria without bribing anyone. But all that changed last week.
I got bribed.
OK, it wasn’t a real quid-pro-quo thing, more like what GE would call a facilitating payment. On the last day of class, which are always interesting, one of my students gave me this beautiful hand-made sweater for our baby girl.
It wasn’t the first time a student gave me a gift, but in this case the girl had missed more classes than she was supposed to, so it had a bit more of a “teacher please help me out” feeling attached to it 🙂
Honestly the so-called rule we have about students not missing classes is totally disregarded anyway, so it wasn’t as if she would have failed the class, but when she gave it to me in front of all her classmates, everyone laughed and said things in Spanish I’m only too glad I didn’t understand 😉