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Senor de los Milagros, 34

Senor de los Milagros by Juan Arellano

A Doce Horas De Distancia (“12 Hours Away”) is the weblog of a Peruvian mother of two living in Maryland and married to a Jewish American man. In a post titled “Prejudice, Discrimination, or Simply a Mistake?” she describes the faulty assumption of her daughter's teacher.

— Honey, show your nanny the picture you painted yesterday…
— Excuse me, I am not her nanny, I am her mom.
— Ah, oh, uh…I heard you speak Spanish so I thought you were her nanny …I am sorry…uh…my twin’s nanny is from Peru…she is such a good nanny…I am sorry…

Hacia una semana que habiamos matriculado a mi hija en ese colegio. Ese dia habiamos llegado temprano y estabamos sentadas pintando con crayolas cuando llego la profesora y nos escucho hablar en espanol. Su logica me resulto muy interesante “como hablas espanol, entonces eres su nana”. Su pre juicio: todas las hispanas son nineras. Existen millones de nineras hispanas en los Estados Unidos. Son baratas, por eso la ninera de sus trillizos era hispana. Las nineras hispanas hablan a los ninos que tienen a su cuidado en espanol, porque no saben hablar ingles, y como los ninos pasan la mayor parte del tiempo con ellas, tambien aprenden a hablar espanol.

No solo fue la confusion la que me incomodo, si no ese airecito de discriminacion que soplo en mi cara cuando me hablo. Poco despues retire a mi nina de ese colegio, por otras razones, claro. De todo esto lo que mas recuerdo son son las suplicas de esa profesora diciendome que piense en mi hija antes de cambiarla de colegio, y yo mirandola a los ojos y diciendole en el mas perfecto ingles que jamas ha articulado mi lengua, pero con mi acento hispano bien pronunciado, que “of course I am only thinking of my daughter”.

It was a week ago when we had inscribed my daughter in the school. That day we had arrived early and we were seated, painting with crayons, when the teacher came in and heard us speaking in Spanish. Her logic was interesting, “you speak Spanish, so you are her nanny.” Her pre-judgement: all hispanics are nannies. I was infuriated. There are millions of Hispanic nannies in the United States. They are cheap, which is why the nanny of the twins was Hispanic. The nannies speak to the kids they care for in Spanish because they don't know how to speak English. And since the children spend the majority of the day with them, they also then learn to speak Spanish.

It wasn't just the confusion that discomforted me, but rather the hint of discrimination she blew in my face when she spoke to me. A little later I withdrew my girl from that school, but for other reasons, clearly. Of all this, what I remember most is the imploring way the teacher told me to think of my daughter before changing schools. I looked at her in the eyes and said in the most perfect English I've ever spoken, yet with my Hispanic accent clearly pronounced, “of course I am only thinking of my daughter.”

Meanwhile, back in Peru, La Casa del Árbol (“The Tree House”) is a weblog, which encourages reading among Peruvian youth. Recently it featured a two part interview with Peruvian writer Maritza Valle Tejeda. Here is a small excerpt:

El problema de lectura en el Perú es muy grave, según estadísticas y estudios diversos somos un pueblo que abandonó los libros y la buena lectura. Analfabetos funcionales nos llaman ¿Cuál crees que sea la raíz del problema?

Primero no creo que seamos un país de analfabetos pero si de iletrados. Y creo también que las raíces del problema son dos: En las zonas urbanas la llegada de la televisión reemplaza las horas de lectura o literatura oral que se acostumbraban hacer en los hogares; cuando el abuelo contaba sus aventuras, o los padres leían con sus hijos antes de ir a dormir. En las zonas rurales el problema es la falta de libros y materiales adecuados.

Nos hemos olvidado de la lectura recreativa que es el cimiento para la comprensión lectora y el razonamiento matemático. Está demostrado que aquellos jóvenes a los que sus padres les leyeron de niños alcanzan el mejor desarrollo …

The reading problem in Peru is very grave. According to statistics and numerous studies we have abandoned books and good reading. Functional illiterates they call us. What do you think is the root of the problem?

First, I don't think that we're a country of illiterates, but rather that we are uncultured. I believe that there are two roots to the problem: In the urban areas, the arrival of television replaced the hours of reading or oral literature that was a custom in the home; when the grandfather recounted his adventures or the parents read to their kids before bedtime. In the rural areas, the problem is a lack of books and adequate materials.

We have forgotten about recreational reading, which is the foundation of reading comprehension and mathematic reasoning. It has been shown that young people whose parents read to them as children, reach a greater level of development.

We end our peek into Peruvian kaffeeklatsch with a post from our usual Peruvian contributor, Juan Arellano, who is once again hoping to stir the motivation of his fellow country-bloggers to discuss one particular topic; the upcoming regional and municipal elections [ES].

Nuevamente molestamos a los bloggers para motivarlos a postear sobre un tema en especial. Esta vez nos alejamos de los temas blogueros para tocar uno de actualidad: las elecciones municipales y regionales. Por definición las elecciones son algo donde participa la ciudadanía, aunque se comenta que este proceso está resultando bastante apático entre el electorado, lo cual no sabemos si se debe a un hastío político, a que ningún candidato emociona a la gente o, en el caso de Lima a que los resultados ya estan practicamente vistos.

Como siempre, hay quienes se involucran más que otros, ya sea como activistas de un partido o como simples votantes que se informan y emiten un voto consciente. En el otro lado tenemos a quienes ni les va ni les viene el tema político y si bien acuden a votar, probablemente lo hagan al azar o guiados por cualquier cosa menos por un análisis de las ofertas electorales. Una variante adicional esta formada por quienes consideran que si bien es un derecho ciudadano tampoco debe ser una obligación el votar. El asunto pues va, entre otras cosas, por hacernos una idea de cuanta participación ciudadana se da realmente en estas elecciones y si esta participación es espontánea u obligada.

En fín, las opiniones y puntos de vista son abundantes, y los bloggers, acostumbrados a opinar sobre todo, pueden ejercitar una vez más su derecho a informar al mundo sobre esto. Se puede elegir cualquiera de los subtemas planteados para postear o los tres si son de su agrado, al final son sólo guias, pautas de temas que pueden tomarse o no. Si para alguien no le resultaran motivadores pero desea participar, también puede exponer su propio acercamiento al tema o su punto de vista, siempre y cuando se mantenga dentro del tema general. Por supuesto se espera el uso de diversos enfoques y acercamientos, el uso del humor y del sarcasmo es aceptado, pero recuerden “El pacto de no agresión”. Eso sí, solicitamos a los participantes ser constructivos y proactivos. Es fácil decir que algo o todo está mal, lo interesante es ver como cambiarlo para bien, o sacar provecho de las situaciones adversas.

peru-elections

We are once again bothering the bloggers to motivate everyone to post about one specific topic. This time we move away from “blogging themes” to discuss something more current: the municipal and regional elections. By definition the elections are something in which the citizenry participates, even though it is often commented that this process is becoming plenty apathetic amongst the electorate. We don't know if the apathy is due to political weariness, that none of the candidates excite the voters, or, in the case of Lima, that the results are practically guaranteed.

Like always, there are those who get more involved than others, whether as party activists who or simple voters who inform themselves and cast their ballots with awareness. On the other hand, we have those who don't pay any attention to politics and if they go to vote, they probably do it at random or guided by anything except electoral analysis.

In the end, the opinions and points of view are abundant and bloggers – accustomed to to opining over all else – can once again exercise their right to inform the world. Any of the following subtopics can be chosen to post about. Or you can choose all three – at the end they are only guides, suggested topics that you can take up or not … We ask the participants to be constructive and proactive. It's easy to say that something or everything is bad; what's interesting is to see how it can be changed and made good or finding benefits in adverse situations.

The suggested sub-topics include:

  • How is campaigning going in your district? Have you participated in any way?
  • It looks like Luis Castañeda will be reelected mayor of Lima. Do you agree? Who would make a better option?
  • Our electoral system is far from perfect, but then so is democracy. Many consider the recently deceased Valentín Paniagua to be one of the best recent presidents of Peru and yet he arrived to office by chance, not election. What is the best manner of choosing who leads the country or a city?

You can see all of the participating posts [ES] so far at BlogsPeru.

2 comments

  • Hello, I understand how difficult it may be for foreigners and the confusions always made. All know is that, America is wonderful place and soon on condition that, non englisher speakers learn English, all the discriminations thay might face now will disappear.

  • Johana Manosalva

    There will always be someone that threats us foreigners like that. Whit that I mean like we are supposed to work in the type of job that the person who judges us thinks fits.
    But it feels so good when you prove them wrong by talking correctly and being someone that they never imagine you to be.

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