• May 28, 2013

Peru: Every Heart
has an Innate Sense of Innocence

Sarah and kids from Lima

By Sarah F., vol­un­teer in Lima

I am really learning here that everyone has a child­like inno­cence that wants to be fed with love. A very close friend who is a per­fect example of this search for love is Rigoberto. We some­times call him Papi Lindo because he always calls us mami or papi lindo (which means nice or pretty girl or boy). Papi Lindo does not have a wife or a family. He does not have a car or a house. He owns his plastic bag of Tupperware, rags, and his alcohol. He is always found drinking in the after­noons by his bus stop at the base of the hill. Many people harass him, call him drunk or crazy, or merely look at him and treat him as though he has no value. But here in our house, we see a whole other side to Rigoberto.

He comes to our home some morn­ings and he politely asks us to shave his beard. He buys his dis­pos­able razor in the market and we take him to the patio and help him shave. Each time I am sur­prised by his true inno­cence: always saying please and thank you and praising us as we attempt to shave him. After, he likes to use our sink to clean his hat, and some­times has time to drink a cup of tea with us before leaving. This sup­pos­edly “drunk” friend is one of the most faithful and grateful people we know. Always beyond excited to see us in the streets with a kiss on the hand and a kind word or two. He feels respected in our house. He is able to accept this affec­tion that we offer him and opens his heart to love us in return.

To be honest, I could explain almost every rela­tion­ship we have here and how they all orig­i­nate from this inno­cent search for love. From the kids who attack us with dirty hands and mil­lions of kisses to the boys we visit in the juve­nile prison who make us bracelets and laugh with us for hours.

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