The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Thirty-Six, Boundaries and Poverty, Peru and the World by Pamela Hartley Pinto
I am fortunate enough to live in one of the wealthiest parts of Lima, Peru. I live in a gated community with guards in every entrance, where pretty much every house has a pool, at least two cars, a huge backyard, maids, gardeners etc. This bubble is paradise for many and they/we forget that less than 15 minutes away on the other side of “paradise” is one of the poorest communities in Lima where people live in extreme poverty.
Their homes consist of dirt floors, no running water, no private electricity and no sewer system. This is the true definition of extreme poverty where people do live with less than a dollar a day.
The sad thing is that the only thing separating both places is a massive wall built by those who want to keep outsiders or the poor out. A wall that exemplifies the dichotomy of many countries where there is abundant wealth but also extreme inequality. At this time the wall that separates Casuarinas and Pamplona Alta is less than 2000 meters long and 3 meters high.
Once more this wall highlights the segregation and discrimination that exists in Peru. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country but there are things that frustrate me about the society I live in. This division emphasizes how people unjustly correlate monetary poverty with moral poverty. As if those who live in extreme poverty also lack values and morality itself.
This wall has been theme for controversy over the past years. Some argue that it is essential in order to “keep them out” others believe that the wall encourages crime and provokes those on the other side.
Personally I was very interested about this assertion and I asked several guards of Casuarinas and they all said that crime has not increased or decreased since the construction of the wall. Therefore this raises another controversy, is the all wall really fulfilling its purpose or is it just a symbolic necessity for those who live inside “paradise?”
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10
The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year
(c) 2014 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 8, Spring, 2014. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.