What Do Bars and Fences Say About Lima?


Yesterday I received an interesting comment on this photo which displays the typical bars and electric wiring on most of the buildings you see in Lima. The comment noted how this photo represents the disparity between the wealthy and the poor in Peru.
In contrast, you don’t see so many bars and fences in the above photo, although if you look carefully you’ll see that most of the buildings aren’t all that inviting either. It’s not as if there is a big open yard that anyone could walk into, most of the street facing sides of buildings are impenetrable walls.
When my wife first moved to Wisconsin, one of her first impressions was how people just left things like their bicycles out in their yards. Not locked up or anything, just laid out there. She’s also expressed concern about returning to Peru with our two daughters for fear of kidnapping, or other things like that.
When I was a single person living in Lima, I was aware of the dangers, but they didn’t bother me all that much. Perhaps it was just hubris or stupidity of youth, but the fact is nobody bothered me all that much. I suppose there are easier targets than a mid-twenties guy who weighs about 200 lbs.  Then again, if they want to get you, you can be gotten (life has shown me that too). Maybe the thing that saved me was that most of the time I dressed in rags. No wealth was apparent, so I wasn’t a target.
It is rather sad, however, that the people of Lima have to so visibly fortify themselves against a perceived army of impoverished zombies who lurk in the streets at night. Are they really there? How many of them are there? Is it the kind of thing where they will attack every single night, or is it just probable once or twice a year? How much of the worry is illusory? How many of the fences are just put up out of habit?
The thing about the fences is that they show a perception of wealth disparity, but the solution is totally ineffective.
Folks, a fence does not protect you. Anyone can knock down a fence if they really need it. A greater protection is to eliminate the army of impoverished souls.
The economy of Peru has been improving over the years, so let’s hope this solution will happen with or without a concerted effort to make it so. Somehow…I don’t think any concerted effort is forthcoming, but thankfully advancements in science make the alleviation of some kinds of suffering inevitable. I’ll take that result, even if it comes about by accident.

If you would like a larger file of the above image for a print or use in a  publication, just send $10 to my paypal account at stsoflima@gmail.com, and mention the title and date of the post where the image appeared. Be sure to include an email I can contact you with for questions.

For those of you who haven’t already, make sure you do me a favor a pick up my books Beyond Birkie Fever and The Bone Sword over at the Rhemalda Bookshop!  If you happen to write a review somewhere, please let me know!  Also, add Birkie and Bone Sword to your cart on Amazon.com!
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