International Clarity: Peru, with Machu Pichu

International Clarity: Peru (from Hannah Cabrera)

This week’s guest author: Hannah (and Diego) Cabrera

I will go ahead and admit right now that before college, I probably could not have pointed Peru out on a map. I knew a little bit about Machu Picchu, only because it was in a Spanish textbook I had as a junior in high school. And I thought it sounded funny. Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu. Try saying that ten times fast.

Then some things in my life changed. I decided to change my major to Latin American Studies, so I suppose I can contribute most of my knowledge of Latin America to my college education. Then I married an extremely good looking Peruvian. So here are some good things to know about Peru.
First off, here’s a map.


A Few Basic Facts about Peru

Population: 29,849,303

Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara

13% of the population speak Quechua, an indigenous language of the Andes.

Ethnic Groups: Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

(Source: CIA World Factbook)

Things that People from the US don’t know about Peru

  • Peruvians don’t eat tortillas–which would mean no burritos, tacos, or enchiladas.
  • Peru’s geography is very diverse, and is made up of three major elements: Coast, Mountains, and Jungle. The culture in each of these geographical areas is also very diverse.
  • Peru is the number 1 producer of silver in the world
  • Peruvian actor Marco Zunino was the first Latino male actor to have a major role on Broadway.
  • Peru is home to the oldest university in the Americas. The National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, was founded in 1551.
  • Everybody’s favorite Disney movie, The Emperor’s New Groove, was based on the ancient civilization of the Inca, whose empire was based primarily in modern day Peru.


Things that People from Peru don’t know about the US

I consulted my husband on this one, since he is the expert. When I asked him what had surprised him most about the United States, he told me our form of government. He thought that the United States was a true democracy, where the majority of the people’s votes elects the president. (He came just in time for the last presidential election.)  Also, he thought that the people were more in control of the government than they actually are.
The other thing that he mentioned was that he thought immigration would be a lot easier (when done legally) than it is. My husband got here just 4 days before our wedding because it took 9 months to get a Visa. Then, it took 15 more months for him to get his Temporary Residency (he just got his green card today! FINALLY!) He was surprised by how difficult the US makes immigration to those who try to do things the right way.
Another thing he mentioned was that he thought that the citizens of the United States were overall more informed about the rest of the world. I think we’re working on that one with this “International Clarity” series.

Ways that Peru tops the US

(completely my opinion, I didn’t do much research on these)

Public Transportation

I’m not going to try to make up a statistic about how many people own/use cars in Peru, but I believe it’s safe to say that it’s substantially less than in the US. However, it’s pretty easy to get to where you want to go with public transportation. Peru has the combi (a small MysteryVan type vehicle used as a public bus), taxis, the metropolitan bus, Mototaxis (like little covered scooters with a back seat for two), and in Lima there is a brand new electric train that just started operating in January 2012.

Music and Dancing

Of course, I think all of Latin America has us beat on this one.

Family Unity

As a whole, I think Peru (and again, most of Latin America) generally places more emphasis on the importance of family and family time together. The whole notion of “move out as soon as you turn 18” doesn’t really exist, and I don’t really think that’s a bad thing.

And finally, in my humble opinion, Peruvians make the cutest babies. See?

This is my adorable Peruvian American baby girl, Lucia Belén.


Here’s a documentary about Peru that you might enjoy!!


From Kyle again:

If you have experience in both the U.S. and another country (for at least 3 months in each spot) and would like to write a post, email me at and I can send you more information.  Thanks!


Keep seeking truth.


You may also be interested in:
International Clarity: Mexico (from Sear Rodriguez)
Peru Post 10: Avoiding the Single Story
Peru Trip Post 1

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