The little girl, five years old, walked up to me. She could see that I was having difficulty walking. An old injury had flared up and I needed to use a cane to get around. It was difficult and painful for me to walk and she noticed.
“I’ll help you,” she said to me. She grabbed my hand and we proceeded to walk down the street. All the while she was also engaging me in conversation. Maybe she wanted to take my mind off the pain of walking. Then her six year old brother came up and took over until we reached my house.
I’m an expatriate American living in Peru. For the past few months it has been difficult for me to walk. Even so, I want to get out and enjoy the beautiful streets and views of the Pacific Ocean that I love here in Barranco, a District of Lima, Peru. Also the doctor told me that it was important to keep walking.
Fortunately for me, people have gone out of their way to make things easier for me.
When I want to walk across a street or go up or down some stairs , someone will come up to ask if they can help me. Not once, but many times. The action is spontaneous and sincere. I’m embarrassed and usually decline because I don’t want to believe that I need the help.
When crossing a busy street without a traffic light, police, and even private citizens, will step forward and halt the cars until I can make it across. One person even drove his pickup truck into the street and blocked traffic. I then hobbled across and thanked him profusely.
I feel a concern for the welfare of older people like me. For example, a controversy arose in the neighborhood about whether my family should allow me to go out unaccompanied. In fact, often older persons are accompanied by a younger person. However, my neighbors didn’t know that this independent minded gringo had insisted that he didn’t want or need any help.
It is not easy having a problem walking. Still, it is comforting to know that help is always around me.
Larry Pitman is an American expatriate who lives in Barranco, Lima, Peru. He writes about his experiences living in Peru and particularly about dogs, food, and the people.