February 23, 2003  |  Sunset over Lima
Lima sunset

Lima sunset
Lima sunset, two views

I'm on a balcony overlooking the Pacific, a lovely sunset going on, the bright red-orange disc kind of sunset, the unblinking going-going-gone kind of sunset. (It was explained to me that nearer the equator the sun goes down much faster, diving straight down into the sea rather than sliding into it at an angle further up north. So true, don't know why it never occured to me before. Enjoy your long sunsets.) My British compatriot of Peru is in his hammock listening to Harry Potter on digital audio, the usual studiousness given up for the day as the magic of Harry Potter drew him in deeper. I am in a calm and happy moment as is usually the mood at sunsets, with a boost also from a few hours of productive work late in the afternoon, writing an equipment grant for the NGO, for which I get to stay in this lovely and privileged San Isidro house.

The organization, Shinai Serjali, does good work, great actually, honest and painstaking with no promise of easy ways out. They work with indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon who've only come into contact with national society in 1984, after which an estimated 40-60% died from introduced respiratory diseases, they've had to relocate, the loggers and petrochemical companies continue to infringe on their rights. They're facing the most important decisions for their future, but concepts such as pollution are entirely abstract to them. That's a trip. Some communities in the surrounding areas choose to stay in voluntary isolation, though they've not necessarily gotten what they wanted. It's like that old joke of someone's about to be rescued from a desert island, but ask for the day's newspaper first, then refusing the lift. It's like bringing children into the world. Serjali's task is to "bring up" the group in record time, so that they can stand up to the bullies and otherwise make something of themselves in this world.

Posted by yingzhao 12:05 AM | Permalink
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