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Vegetables or values?

It was sunny Sunday afternoon yesterday in Cuzco. After the hills training session in the morning in Sacsayhuaman, and a cup of coffee at Plazoleta San Blas, I thought that watching a football match at the Garcilaso Stadium of Cuzco would be the best way to spend the last hours of the Easter Holidays. One of the local teams, Deportivo Garcilaso played the Peruvian Cup against the youth team of the biggest team in the city Cienciano. Only five nuevos soles (approx. 2 US$) and I could be entertained for two hours while sun bathing on one of the grades of the stadium. I chose the side of the supporters of Cienciano hoping that, because it is the youth team, I could share the afternoon with enthusiast relatives of the young talents. I also expected less people on that side, waht would make my afternoon even more relax. But like the project I work for, the reality is not exactly the plan.

View of the Garcilaso stadium from the area of San Blas

Just 20 meters from me there were two men shouting racist comments against the number 17 of Deportivo Garcilaso, a strong right back defender. Like these two men, he has two legs, two arms, but you can imagine he is black, what for some people (like these two stupid men) may be a reason to be insulted. I let 10 minutes pass by, but I could not resisit it any longer so I addressed one of these two men. I also asked a police man to intervene, instead of laughing their “jokes” and participate of the racist shouts from time to time. Apparently nobody in my surrounding (except a second police man of the 5 that were following the match there) seemed t0 share my frustration. If I did not know about sports I could just go to the other side of the stadium. I felt really incapable; was I the stupid white man who does noet want to understand and integrate into the local culture? I also thought of the many Peruvians around the world that must suffer discrimination in other places of the world. How would they feel if someone in Germany called their national star Claudio Pizarro Indio or chicha? I am also sure that these two men and the policeman would love to have an autograph of their other star Jefferson Farfan, a black Peruvian that sport has helped to escape of poverty. I left the stadium angry and thinking that, may be, instead of growing vegetables and building greenhouses I should do something about values and education. Or use that big fields in the stadium to grow vegetables? (read a past related post here).

The only positive thing out of the experience is that I had 45 minutes left in the afternoon, what I spent in a second training in that day… just to learn as much about sports as my fellow football watchers…

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