Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Gringo that failed

A gringo is defined by Wikipedia (the most reliable source ever) as slang Spanish word used in Spanish-speaking countries, principally in Latin America, to denote foreigners, often from the United States. The term can be applied to someone who is actually a foreigner, or it can denote a strong association or assimilation into foreign (particularly US) society and culture.

Being a foreigner in Latin America, this is what I am sometimes being called, in a friendly manner (I hope). I am not the whitest person ever, but compared to the people here in Peru, I feel that I am the king of Sweden (I know there is no king in Sweden). 

I go into the shanty towns everyday with the credit analysts from the bank to visit clients, verify if their micro-company is doing fine and also to ask for the money back when they don't pay. When walking in the streets, Ray-Ban-less (they've been stolen),  people look at me skeptically, obviously because I am the king of Sweden, and being the attention seeker than I am - I . love . it. So after having watched many movies and documentaries about gringos going South to help the most disadvantaged people, I pictured myself being the next Jesus Christ - even though I am not really helping them, I'm just making sure they all have debts. 

I already pictured myself being the good samaritan of the 'hood and that I would be remembered forever by the kids after I play ball with them on the dusty, unpaved and dangerous roads. I imagine them telling their kids in the future the story of that guy who came into town and helped their families  get a TV. Then we could take a picture and all laugh about it and be best friends ever. A bit like these guys below:

So today I decided to do so. I waved at kids on the streets that actually smiled and waved back at me, but that wasn't enough to be remembered as The Savior. So at around noon, as we parked the car on the side of a dusty street to go talk to a client, I spotted a group of kids playing with water guns - which were almost empty - so I carefully approached them, "hola chicos!" I asked for a bit of water to wash my hands since I had just eaten a fruit and my hands were sticky. All of them got shy, obviously intimidated by my Scandinavian royal blood, but one of them approached with his hands closed as if he was holding something - I figured probably some water. I got close to him, innocently put my hands below his and waited for him to pour the fresh water that would save me from my stickiness. But things didn't go as expected; he started squeezing his hands together instead of opening them up and as soon as I understood what was going on, it was too late. It turned out he had a small, but loaded, water balloon in his hands that exploded in my face and all over my shirt. He then went back to his friends and laughed hysterically at me along with his buddies. 

I kept smiling and laughed about it, but silently wanted to strangle each and every one of them and give them a loan that would take them 3 generations to pay back! Hopefully I got over it and I'm not in charge of giving the loans. Nevertheless, I shall succeed in my mission in Peru even if it means having to bribe the kids by getting them some chocolate. I will get my picture!


  1. lol seems like you're having fun. Take care there in the shanty towns.

  2. funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnny

  3. obviously intimidated by my Scandinavian royal funny.

  4. Hahahahahaha!!!!i think that my future grand children will remenber that too!

  5. LOL! I hope you're well Fadi, i have regular updates from Sarah and it looks like you're enjoying yourself! Mwah