Friday, November 26, 2010

In which I wax poetic about Andean Barbie

Last night some lovely girlies and I went to a concert of Andean music put on by an organization for the benefit of "Trabajadores del Hogar" otherwise known as "empleadas" otherwise known as house maids.

The housemaid issue is interesting enough in itself, and a huge topic of interest, discussion, and controversy amongst our group of do-it-yourself United Statesians (sounds pretty good. I'm gonna stick with it.) But I wasn't dwelling too much, I confess, on the challenges facing the empleadas, but rather marveling at how familiar everything felt.

I think at one time almost the whole thing would have been somewhat strange and foreign: The men in business suits and ties playing traditional Andean music over a sound system. The women singing in loud, sliding voices while dancing in colorful skirts with 4-inch heels. The crowd clapping, singing along, and yelling "Eso!" or "Otro! Otro!" The woman who introduced the show mentioning guests from the US several times and yelling "Sex, ladies, sex!" when we took a photo after. Somehow, I know it all.

Even the above white, lanky Barbie in traditional dress did not surprise me in the least. And in fact, I felt like we were kind of in the same boat, she and I. Other than our perfect figures (what? did you say something? good) we're both imports. She's not from here, originally, and nothing will change that. But no one could tell little Peruvian girls not to play with Barbie.

Here she stays, and is accepted, and belongs. And though she be controversial, she is as much a part of life in modern Peru as the vendors who sell apple pie on the micros or the political adds on the sides of houses.

I know I'm not Peruvian. I never will be. But somehow I live here. Somehow I'm starting to belong.

The talent

You need not know all these places, dear reader, but I will ask you to be impressed that I remember them.

Balloons balloons balloons!

(left)"We are the exception to labor rights"
(right)We cheered on Adette, 2nd from left, who works with Lexi's family, center.

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