I’m currently working on a YA novel that takes place primarily in Peru. I’ve been to Peru–once. That was enough time to collect some wonderful photos and notes on the people, places, and cultural details I saw, but unfortunately, I wasn’t there long enough to learn everything I now need to know for the book. For the most part, I’ve been able to fill in the gaps by reading what other travelers have to say about the country. Sites such as Life in Peru, Virtual Tourist, and Rachel in Peru have been extremely helpful, as have a variety of humanitarian websites and sites advertising bicycle and jungle tours…but I still have some unanswered questions.
I’m finding that it’s not too difficult to track down information about even extremely small, off-the-beaten-track villages. Travelers and expatriates chronicle their experiences and share photos online–I was even able to find a photo of a particular suspension bridge along the (mostly unpaved) road from Urcos to Puerto Maldonado, Peru. What I need now, though, is a closer look at what life is like for the people in Peru, especially the 50% of the population that lives at or below the poverty line.
Needless to say, these are the people who are writing about their lives online. They also aren’t the people most tourists get to know.
My first and best choice is to visit Peru again and, this time, interview a lot of the kids who spend their days selling postcards and finger puppets; but since that doesn’t seem an option for the near future, does anyone have any suggestions for me?
(Photo from Flickr archives)