RPCV Returns to Peru      (continued from p. 1)

tried to entertain us with stories, questions, etc., trying to make the time seem shorter. Finally it arrived, having been waiting a long way from the airport - we got in and took off down the dark streets to Calle Santa Marta in Pueblo Libre. We got to Pueblo Libre in no time at all which caused me to realize that $15.00 was way too much, however the chofer couldn't find the street. Round and round we drove.
The streets were rather deserted at this hour, and the people he asked didn't seem to know where Marta was or gave wrong directions. Finally he decided to go to the local police station - a very sensible idea - but it was closed. He was getting obviously very discouraged, sorry to ever have picked us up but to Nick and I it seemed like only another leg on our already long journey. We decided to look for a phone booth. The first one was broken. The second one worked but the number in my book for the Bendezu house was wrong. Nick then called Rafael, in Cleveland, and passed him to the chofer to give directions to his house in Lima. The sight of this Limenian guy on the deserted streets getting directions from some

one thousands of miles away, in fact on another continent seemed very funny, but it worked. In ten minutes we were pulling up to the house, Oscar bounding out to meet us, Chela rolling up in her chair and Nick's grandmother, Mama Chela, behind to give us "un abrazo muy fuerte" and a warm welcome.

During the next two days, more and more people came to visit. The first day it was Rafael's brothers and their wives, the second day the brothers and wives came again, plus their sons, the sons' and daughter's children and a few miscellaneous people who I couldn't quite place but seemed to know me very well, telling stories of Nicolas when he was a baby. Que verguenza de no los reconocer! The grandchildren of Chela are living with them now and although quite young, quickly had the other children running through the house and screaming, something the two little girls did frequently during our stay.

The women were dressed much more informally than in years past, and no refreshments were served the first night. It's no longer possible to

have downcast transplants from the Sierra living there constantly to wait on people day or night, which is probably a very good thing. On the second night someone went out and brought in "Chifa" - Chinese food. It's so much better in Peru! Alicia told me that it had been Peruvianized, just as Chinese food in the US has been Americanized. The Peruvian version is delicious, as is all the food.

Mama Chela is still an incredibly affectionate and down to earth person with some Serrana in her - it's a kind of humility. And at 84, with very poor eyesight she still wears high heels which I teased her about. Before leaving  Nick fixed Chela's computer and Chela drew me a family tree but just concerning the people that we had seen. To draw a whole family tree for the Bendezus would take too much paper and too many hours

The next day we went to Arequipa. From the plane you can see hundreds of miles of wind-sculpted desert with an occasional snow covered mountain or mountain range

(Continued on page 10)

Where were you when…  Ken Rustad   (continued from p. 8)

Their mission is largely propaganda. I had used some of their general movies on such topics as making better adobes, selection of potatoes for seeding etc.-- Bolivians planted the smaller genetically inferior potatoes instead of planting the eyes of the bigger superior potatoes. (Bolivia is the birthplace of the potato --300-400 varieties.) U.S.I.S. made xerox copies of over fifty thousand copies of a portrait of John

Kennedy and handed them out. This was very crass for me.

Later, however, I and other Peace Corps volunteers saw these JFK pictures on adobe walls in the remotest corners of Bolivia, the most Indian country in the Americas -- about 60% indigenous. The father of the family I lived with later informed me that there were plans for President Kennedy to visit Bolivia the follow

ing April. Instead we got the President of France, Charles DeGaulle, a charismatic person himself. The people said it wasn't close to being the same. No other American President has come close to matching John Kenney's popularity in Bolivia or most of Latin America for that matter

Ken Rustad

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Volume 14, Issue 4

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