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Bringing Peruvian History to Life on Public Transport

Captura de pantalla de video publicado en YouTube.

Screenshot of video posted on YouTube.

Frequent users of public transport in the Peruvian capital city Lima are accustomed to sharing transitory space with vendors of oral and musical products.

These improvised street musicians and storytellers — all of them looking for a few coins to put in their pockets before moving on to the next bus — are characters people hardly pay attention to as they blend into the busy urban landscape.

There is one group of young university students, however, that in recent weeks has placed higher demands on passengers’ attention.

Youth group Cultura PE, made up of university students, has landed on a unique, fun and educational way to talk to people about Peruvian history.

Since April, the members of the group have been getting aboard the buses traversing the Peruvian capital Lima's main arteries and making brief speeches about the lives of the historical figures who gave their names to those same streets.

As per the group's Facebook page:

Cultura PE, busca despertar el interés de los ciudadanos por conocer la historia de nuestro país en los buses que cubren las avenidas más transitadas.

Cultura PE aims to awaken citizens interest to know more about our country's history through the buses that cover [Lima's] most passed-through avenues.

The group's name, Cultura PE, can be understood both as a shortened form of Cultura PERÚ — playing on the country's .pe web domain — as well as a reference to the popular word pues which translates as “well, okay”.

Thus the group presents itself as “Culture, okay!”

The below clip uploaded onto the group's YouTube channel provides an idea of how Cultura PE goes about its work.

In it they board a bus that traverses Salaverry avenue, named in honour of Felipe Santiago Salaverry, the youngest-ever Peruvian president (1806-1836), a well-educated army officer who was executed by firing squad:

In the next video, a bus travels along Sucre avenue, carrying the name of Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), a Venezuelan politician, diplomatic, statesman and Army officer that served as Governador of Peru after the country won its independence:

Upon finishing their speech, they hand out some cards to the passengers with information about the historic figure they have just discussed.

Then they get off that bus, and continue sharing culture — pues – on another one.

On their Facebook page, people leave positive remarks and even requests to join the group:

Angelly Arias Avendaño Que bueno que jovenes como ustedes tengan esta iniciativa!!! Felicitaciones!

Angelly Arias Avendaño It's great to see that young people like you are having this initiative!!! Congratulations!

Gerardo Josic Rodriguez Paredes Aceptan a nuevos integrantes??? quisiera de vez en cuando salir a vivir esta grandiosa experiencia !!!!!

Gerardo Josic Rodriguez Paredes Are you accepting new members??? I'd like to get out once in a while to have this wonderful experience!!!!!

Feren Castillo Lujan Excelente iniciativa, esto debe expandirse a nivel nacional en la brevedad

Feren Castillo Lujan Excellent initiative, this should go nationwide as soon as possible.

Perfil del grupo en Facebook.

Image of the group's profile on Facebook.

The educational project is a worthy one: Peru was ranked among the last of the 65 countries evaluated in 2013 under the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

PISA, conducted once every three years, determines student performance levels among 15-year-olds in different jurisdictions using standardised tests.

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