Peru has a relationship culture

Ccunac Leute

Which sometimes leads to surprising results

Friday morning: on the banks of the Apurimac River the erection of a few new light masts is being celebrated.  This is no big deal and one would think that at most 50 people would attend.  However, when the boss of the semi-state-owned electricity company Electro Sur invited me a day before the ceremony, I knew right away that this was an event that one just did not miss.  Of course the whole thing took up the entire morning: the ceremony, which was due to start at 10 a.m., would start around 11:30 and the lunch-meet-and-greet afterwards could not be avoided.

I was less interested in the light-bulbs shining six metres above my head, much more so however in the line-up of the Electro Sur’s directors.  Apart from the director general from Cusco everyone was there, even a senior boss, which whom I have been in contact with regarding an important matter.  So all of us dutifully clap after the profound speeches and tuck into the chicken with relish.

Peru’s bureaucratic procedures are so slow-moving and obscure that you want to throw in the towel daily.  The incompetence of some of the officeholders defies any description.  Applications take years.  A stamp, a signature or a date: one of the three is always missing.  To get a written guarantee from our Bank in Abancay (in Europe the whole procedure is done and dusted after 30 minutes) we had to go to the bank every day for the last five business days and spend over twenty hours in the bank’s buildings.  Depending on what kind of person you are, you either cry or laugh.  Had we invited the bank manager for a meal this hurdle race might have been reduced to just two days.  Without a personal relationship to the decision maker(s) his team’s desire to help you is at a minimum.

For this reason I am standing under a light mast and clap so loudly as if Thomas Alva Edison himself had just ground-breakingly revolutionised the light bulb.  The next time I visit the electricity company the CEO’s secretary will probably give me immediate access to her boss.  This could result in a quantum leap for our topic “Electricity for Diospi Suyana”./KDJ

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