On The Streets Of Lima

I visited a company and three agencies. I didn’t have time for lunch, but I am planning on a hot dinner.

It is dark outside. At 8pm I leave the guest house in South Lima. I see a young man who is going through the garbage across the street. I cross and ask him a few questions.

“What are you doing here?” “I am collecting paper – for money.”

“How much do you earn in one night?” “Between 8 and 15 soles!” ($2-4) “How old are you?” “33.”

“Do you have a family?” “Yes, I have a wiife and two children.”

“Where do you live?” – “In Lima, we have one room for the four of us.”

“How much is your rent?” – “100 soles plus 30 soles for water.”

I say good-bye to Sr. Saúl V. and get going, since I am very hungry now. The Avenida de Benavides is always busy at night. Pizza Hut has a special offer for 29.90 soles. ” That is three times as much as he earns in a day” I am thinking. Right next door is a KFC. There is a long line in front of the register. As I am about to leave, a Bob Dylan song comes on “You are on your own, how does it feel…like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone.” I am thinking of Sr. Saúl V. outside among the garbage.

I finally end up in a Chinese Restaurant. I enjoy a chicken soup for 8 soles and a soda for 2 soles. Within 10 minutes, a days earning disappears in my stomach. I could cry.

Klaus Dieter John