9. Dezember 2014No Comments


Marcos Arenas Oliden and Sebastián Fiestas Ramirez are sitting on a bench at the beach promenade of Pimentel. They just met. We start chatting. It's a bright, sunny day. The beach is empty. In the distance, fishing boats are gently rocking on the waves coming in from the Pacific. There are about 800 fisherman in Pimentel. Sebastián used to be one of them. He is 74 years old and retired, but has been volunteering at the local Marina. He checks the papers of Fisherman and helps if there are problems with authorities, for example when crossing the border to Ecuador. He likes his current life, but often misses the feeling of being out at sea.

Once, a long time ago, I caught a fish which weighed 250 kilograms. Nowadays you don't catch fish that weigh more than 100 kilograms. I used to work on a big fishing ship far away from the coast. It would take us 20 hours on a smaller boat to reach it. There we stayed until we had caught five tons of fish, usually a week or so. Or until we ran out of petrol. There used to be more than enough fish in the sea: Bonitos, Sucos, Cachemas, Anchovetas, Caballa, Mero, Tollos... It was good work. Out there, when we were not working, we played cards, listened to the radio, talked, slept a lot. We didn't drink much alcohol. And didn't argue much either. Only sometimes, work-related.








We have a long tradition of fisherman in our family. One time I was on a boat with my brother and some other fisherman, close to the shore, just south of Santa Rosa. It was four o'clock in the morning. It was pitch dark and a storm came up. A wave swept everyone off the boat, except for one person. A kid, 18 years old, had bound a rope around his hip. We had to cut all the ropes of the nets and eventually managed to get everyone back on board. No one died, but it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Every year a few fisherman die out there.







8. Dezember 2014No Comments


For anyone passionate about travel and photography, experiencing exotic countries like Peru is like an endless string of exciting photo opportunities and going to the mercado in Pimentel is no different. It is a feast for all senses. Fresh fish, vegetables and fruits pile up along the long ailes. The tangy smell of chili enters my nostrils as I walk past heaps of spices and salsa sauces. The meat section is both fascinating and repulsive and I can't help but wonder what my vegetarian friends would say to the sliced carcasses of pigs and chickens hanging from racks of metal. Bloodstains on the floor testify to the freshness of the meat, because other than the breeze that penetrates the lofty market hall, there is no cooling whatsoever.

I have shopped at the mercado many times before, but feel a little uneasy this time. Carrying around my bulky DSLR camera is like screaming "I am rich" into the faces of locals, most of whom struggle to make a living with the few goods they are selling. Trinidad and I approach a few elderly market women, that look like they have a story to tell. Their expressive faces are beautiful in their own way and radiate a kind of content you immediately feel drawn to. Every time I ask if I can take a picture, they kindly refuse my request.

Old people here are very superstitious. They don't want their picture taken, because they believe that something bad might happen to them. Like a kidnapping. Or someone might ask them for money

Margarita tries to explain the behavior of her neigbors to us, as she hands over a bag of vegetables to a customer. She has been working at the market for 24 years, selling produce from the region. She is picking corn kernels from the cob and hands them over to Graciela, who grinds them to a mash and then wraps them in corn husks to be cooked later and sold as humitas, a traditional native American dish. We don't get to talk much, but she is happy to have their picture taken.

A few weeks later I return with a print of the photo and get a smile and three corncobs in return.











8. Dezember 2014No Comments


Franklin comes to the Muelle in Pimentel often to fish. He doesn't use a fishing pole, just a thin nylon thread with a hook and a stone at the end. A hand full of small mussles serves as bait. He opens one, scrapes off the meat and pokes the hook through it. With a quick movement he throws it far into the sea and waits for fish to bite.

When I stand here, I don't think of anything. Time passes, without you even noticing it. Before I retired I used to be a teacher for history and geography at the school Santa Maria de la Paz in Chiclayo. It was a very fulfilling job. Many students come from unfortunate backgrounds and dysfunctional families. I believe students learn a lot of unimportant stuff in high school. It doesn't make sense to make them memorize the names of all countries in Africa. What for? I think as a teacher it is crucial to talk to the students, learn about their circumstances and find out what knowledge can help them later on in their lives. I wanted to teach them something important. Some former students became good friends and many still recognize me in the streets and say hi.

Trinidad and Franklin go on to talk about the educational system in Peru. He is quiet happy with the changes the minister of education has made to the system recently and hopes for a positive lasting effect. Just as we are about to leave, a fish catches the bait and seconds later dangle on Franklin's hook. It will be dead within the hour. And probably on a plate later tonight. Provecho!






















7. Dezember 2014No Comments


Before we got to know Julio Canelo, we simply called him "the toothless guy". He greeted us with a friendly and loud Hello every time he saw us. It kind of creeped out the girls. It still does, actually, but us guys enjoy a chat with him every once in a while. About Germany, about Pimentel, but mostly about football.

I used to be a professional football player. I played all over Peru. Cusco, Arequipa, Chiclayo. We spent a lot of time on the road and in expensive hotels. In my mid-twenties I had a serious knee injury, but I was very lucky to recover without any long-term damage. What destroyed my career was not an injury. It was too much alcohol and too many women.

Julio calls himself "El hijo del pueblo". Everyone knows him. He now earns his living running errands and doing small jobs for people in Pimentel. Going for walks with our office dog Kira, taking care of our neighbor's garden and looking after the house when he is gone for the weekend. For the picture he squats down like back in the days, as if he was posing for a group picture with his football team.






6. Dezember 2014No Comments


Sonia Burgos Larrea has seven dogs. She feeds them, she takes care of them, makes sure they don't have flees and gets medication for them if necessary. You could call her the advocat of the street dogs of Pimentel.

I saw this poor creature at the side of the road. It looked terribly beaten and thin as a stick. There were patches of flesh where there should be fur. I could literally feel the pain it was in. So I called a vet and asked what he could do. There was nothing really... except putting it to sleep. In that moment I decided that I wanted to help the street dogs of Pimentel lead a better life. I talked to vets andcollected signatures, but when I filed a petition at the municipality in favor of the dogs, the papers disappeared and I had to file a new request. It's still a long way, but the situation has improved a lot.

We meet Sonia and her granddaughter Romina in front of her house. One of her dogs lies at the curb. He raises his head in curiosity, before he goes back to sleep.



6. Dezember 2014No Comments


Augustin Ayala Martinez started working as a cleaner for the municipality, but shortly after decided to follow his passion: gardening. A colleague encouraged and helped him to make the transition 40 years ago. Since then, he has been working as the gardener and landscape designer at Parque de Quiñones, Pimentel's Plaza de Armas.

The best tree to sculpt is a cypress. I come up with an idea for a sculpture or an arrangement of flowers, order all the necessary plants and then start working on site. If I realize it doesn't work out the way I want, I improvise. Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about how I can improve the sculpture.




Gardening is a form of art. I am always happy when people walk by and tell me how much they enjoy the park, or how they discovered a new sculpture.

Augustin's favorite and most sophisticated sculpture is the crocodile.





Trinidad and I meet Augustin and his wife Ameli during their lunch break under one of the biggest trees in the park. Ameli joined his work 25 years ago. None of their children pursues a career in gardening, but one of their sons sometimes looks after the park. Grandson James tells me he wants to become a policeman when he grows up. He picks up the big scissors and starts trimming the grass. Maybe there is still hope for continuing the family business.



Every village and city in Peru has a square called the "Plaza de Armas". It is the center of public life and usually the cleanest spot in town.


Parque de Quiñones

Parque de Quiñones