We have lived in Barranco, a district of Lima, for the past seven years, having moved to Peru from California. My life, and that of my family, is quite naturally centered around our neighborhood.
As I define it, my neighborhood consists of the block where I live and its immediate surroundings. This is where I go for my twice daily walks with my dog, Falcor. It is our territory, and we know it well. In turn, we are well-known here.
Therefore, as you might expect, the two of us keep a close eye on what is happening, and we are pleased to report that 2011 has been a year of improvements for the neighborhood. For example:
- A derelict parking lot is now a beautiful new home;
- A house with peeling paint now sparkles with a new color;
- On both ends of our block, new lawns and gardens have been started;
- An abandoned business across the street has been completely remodeled and will become the residence of a new family and;
- Construction has now finished on a beautiful new apartment complex around the corner and the new tenants have taken residence
In addition, last year under the leadership of my next door neighbor, we all came together on the block to solve a security problem. We hired Sr. Sanchez, a retired government employee, to be the guard for the street. All year he has sat in a chair on the street during the day, sometimes walking up and down our block.
Evidently this has been an effective deterrent to the bad guys. No one in the neighborhood has been robbed during this time. However, there has been grumbling about Sr.Sanchez. Some consider him to be a snoop. It seems that he is just a little too interested in everybody’s affairs.
To top off the year, just yesterday, after years of neglect, two crews came from the city. One arrived to trim the trees on the block which were badly overgrown. More precisely, daring young men with machetes climbed the trees and chopped vigorously at every branch they could reach. I felt sorry for the trees for being attacked this way, but it is nice to have more light on the street.
One person who was not happy with this was the lady across the street from us, our neighborhood gossip. Now she has no branch cover as she monitors the activities of the rest of the neighborhood from her upstairs window. She is out in the open, in plain sight, and she doesn’t like it.
Finally, just before the tree trimmers, another city crew came to break up the sidewalks. Evidently, the new Mayoress has put a priority on repairing sidewalks. Certainly, this is a worthy idea, as many are cracked and uneven. I guess it is even worth enduring the sound of the jackhammers.
As you can see, things are happening in my neighborhood. Seven years ago, when we first arrived, it was just a quiet, sleepy neighborhood. Now it bustles with activity.
Sort of like what I see happening with the rest of Peru.
You can listen to Larry reading his stories at www.soundcloud.com/larryoflima.