Donating to Venezuelan Refugees in Peru

gAGCgf4G-Zr7a9eoeHwRAIwP0n0R6G46TAyNaPAY6-YDeZdJq8ufGgLjTBf_JcVkv44PKhzu5PZ0vTswYFAHOc77JyVVcf96oToJssYjtm25kvYXchx77eoRjGoATmdeRVw6xOa4x2oWmlHoVITSi-hfwSWMOUjI7Bh_VhgQfm_UW789gze55H2XNZI recently cleaned out my closet and donated eleven large sacks of clothes and shoes to an NGO that assists Venezuelans in Peru, Union for Venezuelans in Peru. If you want to donate, call the executive director, Martha, 992-824-991, and she will meet you at the Union for Venezuelans in Peru at Avenida Benavides 3082, which is actually located on the Ovalo Higuereta, in Surco. The building is not marked as the Union has not spent money on signage (the employees wore white work shirts with the name of the organization on them). The office is on the third floor but it was not open yet when I made my delivery. The Union for Venezuelans in Peru will also pick up.

When I chatted with Martha, she explained that the refugees are in need of everything as they arrive only with what they can carry in their hands. She said that many are young families. She told us about a family that were happy as they picked up an inflatable mattress. Makes one think.

In the last few years, nearly a million Venezuelan refugees have arrived in Peru. Thirty years ago, Peruvians were fleeing to Venezuela and not the situation is reverse. Peru is currently in the honeymoon phase of this reverse situation and the Peruvians are welcoming the Venezuelans with resident permits and work permits. Many work as taxi drivers, in restaurants, and some sell candy to make a bit of income (I know one shop owner who gives the candy for free the first time around so that the refugee can build a bit of capital — like the Grameen system — although this shop owner will probably not get a Nobel prize. He does it for the humanity of the situation). I have seen Peruvians buy these candies out of an act of charity, much in the vein of “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

mq85phLqAjhl1iHQxC4cx1aN7zgb84xGEJevOLPTPM4-xKS6pK8lDwuoHrH0oT25-SN_OLWQjWGxAzxR0LhpdGbBCoVT2sOEzGZmvywFdL_E1_eUepLKuP-1-ncp2hKTEhrORqjEiEvr26IeH5QYgmR4wZX8WoysG75L-XQ9F4nL2CQFyE-yIdOGdLIn many of the shops and restaurants, the workers are Venezuelans. They have the advantage that they speak the local language. When I was in Port of Spain, many of the workers were Venezuelans (Trinidad is only a few miles off the coast of Venezuela). This proximity means that many Trinis speak Spanish as well. I actually understood the Spanish better than the Trini form of English when in Trinidad.

Here in Lima, due to the influx of Venezuelans, there are more and more Venezuelan eateries. When I lived in Caracas, I developed a taste for arepas and now I can find good ones here as well. I did not get some after the trip to donate clothes. I had enough food for thought.

 

The Child Voice Birds

Here in Caracas, every morning, I hear the voices of children. Or so I thought. In actual fact, the cries are those of a parrot. These wild birds can make a cry that sounds exactly like children calling out in some make believe language. I keep forgetting that I’m in the tropics.

The photo is just here for entertainment value. It’s from Chacao market.

Venezuelan Food and Drink in Venezuela

corn-for-sale-veArepa, arepa, arepa! It got to the point where I craved an arepa every day when in Venezuela. When in Rome. Here are some of the typical Venezuelan foods that I tried.

Arepa: a cornmeal bread used to splice and fill. New versions involve the use of beets and spices. There is a sweet version with cumin. Arepas can be fried or grilled. I liked running it through the toaster a few times.

Tequennos ( double en equals enya): mozzarella cheese sticks served with honey. A bar food.

Empanada: a dumpling usually made of cornmeal filled with shredded fish, cheese, meat, etc. ingredients-ve

Cachapa: corn omelette filled with beans, cheese, meat, etc. cachapa-ve

Chupe: soup, usually chicken broth with potatoes.

Perico: scrambled eggs with tomato and onion. Just like in Colombia.

Parilla: means grill and the Venezuelans love things on the grill.
Soup for breakfast: like the Colombians, the Venezuelans have a soup for breakfast but here it is primarily used as a hangover cure.
Paisa queso: a salty fresh cheese with large holes.
Hallaca (tamale): served mostly around Christmas. Also, at Christmastime, one can get “ham bread” which is a roulade bread made with ham, olives, and cheese.
Casabe: flat cassava bread.
casabe-ve
Cassava (nachos): pronounces with the “vee” sound is a dish of nachos. Casabe with the “bee” sound is a flat bread.

Desechado “shredded”: they do love shredded meat on everything. It’s like meat is a vegetable topping, sort of the way cheese is on every salad in the U.S.

Fresas con crema: strawberries with cream. It’s a thing. Good too.

There are many other types of typical Venezuelan food. But, I mainly heard the mantra of arepas every time I asked about national foods.vino-verano-ve

As for drinks, the fresh juice is fantastic in Venezuela. As is the rum. The Santa Teresa and the Diplomatico brands were both good enough to drink neat, hold the coke (and as most of the Coke is made without sugar, that is practical). There is a form of sangria called “vino verano” or summer wine which is red wine mixed with a soft drink.

 

Dim Sum in Caracas

14642356_10154595409009618_7761823639592039314_nYup, that’s a thing here. The dim sum places serve “brunch” and it’s best to go fairly early in the morning — like at 7 a.m. or no later than 9.

14670721_10154595407759618_8734189639895963433_nThe dim sum restaurants in Caracas have their own ordering system. There are no carts pushed by waiters here. Here you have to go up to a buffet and pick your items. The waiter will still notate it on a chit which you take to the cashier to pay. In addition to the usual items in a dim sum selection, they have a few local varieties of food. The pork is crispy and less red than in other places.

14670790_10154595406654618_7352959441999699665_nNext to the dim sum restaurants (I think there are two or three main ones), there is a Chinese market which only happens on Sundays. This is another reason to go eat dim sum on Sunday morning. The market has everything you could need to make Chinese food, from seafood, bean sprouts, instant noodles, to fresh tofu. The dim sum restaurants are in an area called “country club” near the river.

14642271_10154595327849618_5591894706066765038_nOh, and another thing, there were a lot of chicken feet.

Chacao Market in Caracas

14721518_10154599602749618_3622970407324197371_nIn any town, the market is my favorite place to visit. In Caracas, for the expat, Chacao market, is the place to buy fruits and vegetables. Chacao market is a five story high building but the stalls are located on the first two floors. The central area is open all the way to the ceiling. This makes for good people watching from the second floor railings. Despite what one hears about in the news, there is lots of food available if you have the money. Along with fruits and vegetables, the market has cheese stalls, egg stalls, and deli stalls. There are also some stalls specializing in imported goods. It’s possible to find almost everything, once in a while, at a heft price. There was a bag of rice which cost $130 back in December. Now it costs $280.

14720447_10154591938289618_2513827240827488746_nWhile shopping, I like to get a deep fried empanada snack. In the photo, the empanada cost under one buck. Sauce included. The prices have doubled in the past month.

Upstairs, one can buy juice from the juice guy (a liter costs about $2-3). I’m not sure why he is the only one in this business but he is. While he now has his own credit card machine, for a while he didn’t. There were primarily three types of juice available: orange, orange and carrot, and beet, orange, and ginger/mint (I think). Sometimes, he also sold grapefruit. No mandarin juice (which was common in Colombia).

This brings up another thing about this market, and I suppose many other places here. Not everyone has a credit card machine (or “point”) so sometimes you get sent down to another stall to charge your card and then you come back with the proof of payment. But, most vendors have a “line” or telephone line to connect their debit machines. When paying, you must enter your ID number and pin. You need your ID for almost everything so it’s good to memorize it.

Chacao market also has flowers for sale but nothing like the massive flower market in Bogota. Venezuela, like Colombia, has a varied climate so they could grow anything they could dream of. Some differences between Chacao and Paloquemao (in Bogota), is that the Venezuelans must have some use for unripe papaya because it’s possible to buy it in Chacao, but not in Paloquemao. Also, the cold weather fruits like applesa and pears are much pricier in Caracas. Chacao was still my favorite place in Caracas.