Mamacita linda fusses at me because I’m always gone longer than I say whenever I go to the bank, to my accountant, things like that. She’s got a point: I work in the house, sit in front of a computer most of the day, so on the rare occasions that I get out I often spend a little extra time just to get out of the house. I’ll stop by to see some friends who work downtown, chat with my accountant or Patricia’s friends who work at the bank, things like that. Whenever I leave the house and say I’ll be back in a half an hour, mamacita knows that I’ll probably be back an hour and a half later.
Our maid also figured this out but she’s good with the kids and doesn’t mind being alone with them for a while. Our maid usually brings her 2 year old boy to the house and after Brianna gets home from her jardin the two of them play together, it works out well. They make a mess, get dirty and the maid cleans them all up. I’m usually so engrossed in my work that I don’t pay attention unless there’s a big spiel going on.
A while back I left to go to the bank and told the maid I’d be back in a half an hour. Mamacita linda was at work, Brianna in her jardin, so the maid was home alone with her little boy and our baby – who was asleep. On this particular trip I didn’t stay out long, no particular reason, I just happened to make a quick trip to the bank and back. When I got back to the house our maid was giving her little boy a bath in the back patio. Surprised that I was back so soon, she kind of sheepishly said “I’m washing Abraham”. I said OK. I didn’t think anything of it because when the kids get dirty she always fixes them up.
But then the maid repeated like 3 times: “I was just giving Abraham a bath”.
Me in my own world, I replied it was fine, no problem. She said: “It’s just that where I live there’s no running water so I took advantage to wash Abraham while we are here.” She had expected me to be gone longer, and she was kind of flustered that I got back and she was giving her boy a bath rather than doing stuff around the house. I told her not to worry, it was fine by me.
But I was floored that she said there’s no water where they live. I know there are quite a few areas in Peru that don’t have running water but somehow in my ignorant gringo bliss I figured it wasn’t right in my backyard. Not that it’s less bad in any place – everybody deserves to have clean running water – but I always figured places without water would be in the “pueblos jovenes” outside of Lima, or in the really remote areas of Peru. Not right here on the outskirts of Cuzco.
And I had just ran to the bank to pay my monthly taxes too. I felt like kicking a wall. You mean I just ran to pay a bunch of $ to the government and while I was at the bank my maid felt like it would be a good time to bathe her boy in my house because they have no water in her house? What do the government bureaucrats do with all their tax money? What can be more important than providing clean water?
I’m not saying it’s easy, there are mountains, deserts and a big jungle in Peru but everybody should have running water. The leaders of government, business and academics need to get their priorities in order, it’s a disgrace that people should live in a country that has such great resources and not even have basic services.
Shocked, shocked I wasn’t.