Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness...
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain
I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to some wonderful places on this earth. . .a lot of luck and putting myself into positions to be able to travel. One day I hope to travel full-time.
Recently I went to Lima, Peru for the 7th Annual IOC Athlete Career Program Forum. I enjoy seeing sites off the beaten track and trying to get a sense of place. I did my research and found a tour company called Haku Tours that is based in the Shanty town of Lima. The Shanty town is this complex and enormous area outside of Lima. Not a tourist destination, in fact if you don't go with a tour company like Haku tours, you will not be allowed into the community due to the abundance of child trafficking. A sprawling combination of squatter shacks and more permanent dwellings with dirt floors a few necessities. No roads, only staircases up the steep desert hills It is hard not to ponder and feel some guilt about your life's privilege when walking through these narrow lanes.
Our tour guide, himself a resident of Shanty town, states that many people find a tiny piece of land and squat on that land while building a simple concrete block structure. Most of the residents have migrated from the agricultural regions in search of economic opportunities. The houses really are just shacks built on desert and stone hills. Our tour guide shared with us that if a resident pays for water and electricity to be brought to the shack then after 5-10 years of paying for the utilities they legally own the residence are eligible for healthcare. Some people can pay and some never can afford to pay and will always remain a squatter. One house we visited literally had a wire running to one light bulb that was never turned on just to be able to say she had electricity.
Very interesting to note there was no beggars to be seen in these poor communities and you didn't see anyone going hungry. You really got the sense that everyone took care of each other. They have a system of elders among the towns that keep track of all the comings and goings of strangers. The Haku tours raise money to build daycare centers among the dwellings so some parents can be freed up to make the long commute to work. The residents were very kind and shared with us corn alcohol and stories of their community