A Peruvian (or even South American) mentality post from the perspective of an Austrian girl.
Growing up in different societies of course creates different mindsets. Have I ever imagined that it could be that different? Not at all.
You know what you hear about South American countries in Europe – they take everything really easy, don’t try that hard and are a bit lazy. They like to drink and party a lot and the list goes on. That is what you expect coming here but somehow you are still not prepared for it.
Coming to Lima, a metropolis with lots of American influence, was probably a good way to ease us into Peruvian (working) habits.
The first thing that caught my eye was that no building, except the ones in the innerest inner city and some few exceptions, weren’t completely built, with a roof let alone painted. One time we even saw that the best hostel in a town was beautifully painted white in the front but walking around you could see the brick wall. You barely find proper built houses and when you do it seems like a miracle. Like my boyfriend said:
The houses don’t even have to look nice. As long as they have a proper roof and paint you already consider them beautiful, because they actually look like a house rather than a construction site.
Talking with our little experience of working in Peru I can also say that they don’t necessarily have a plan of what needs to be done, how to do it and in the end they lack proper tools to do so. But what shook me the most is that they always seem to be happy with what they have. Formulated like this it sound great and like something to long for, but seeing all the potential in the houses or shops in terms of comfort and living standards it is just not easy to understand for a European. They just don’t seem to do more than the absolute necessary. They don’t care much about hygienicly clean kitchens or bathrooms. Fixing things is not their biggest strength, if they even fix something then only halfway, so it is about to break again. If it works for the moment, it’s good enough to get by. But their favorite thing to talk off situations like these is: “Mañana!” And you take it as they say it but secretly you know “mañana” is not going to happen. Maybe next week, or even next month. The opportunity to improve their standards is there, what is missing is their will.
I am still looking for the reason for the evolution of this mentality, why they take everything just really easy and in general on the streets walk half the pace of me (which clearly pisses me off the most haha). My first thought was the hot weather, but I dropped this theory as soon as I arrived in places with temperatures below zero every night.
Most of you might say, well you are from Austria, of course you are used to something else. I don’t necessarily support the pressure of 8 hours of work straight a day and that everything needs to be perfect 100% of the time. But I think there should at least be a sense of improving or maintaining your standards, not going backwards or postponing your tasks for days and days. Cleaning your kitchen after cooking, fixing the window when it’s broken, putting a roof on your house after you built it! Just do it, it’s that easy!
But I guess that is just something new to get used to, or at least try! After all, it’s a whole population, of course with exceptions, that is not going to change.