Living the Peruvian dream

Living the Peruvian dream


Gosen City grew up as a haphazard settlement near a garbage dump on the outskirts of Lima. Not a promising beginning perhaps, but things are starting to shift.

Peru has experienced years of economic growth and President Ollanta Humala said when he took office that he would slash poverty rates to 15 percent by July 2016. That goal is still a long way off, but a number of Gosen City residents have seen their lives improve bit by bit.

. LIMA, Peru. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Victoria Ochante, 67, used to collect garbage for a living, but now thanks to her savings and the help of her daughter who got a job in Lima, she is retired.

She spends her time taking care of her grandchildren and says she feels much happier.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Lucia Liaza poses in the market stall where she sells food and spices.

The 50-year-old left the highland city of Ayacucho two decades ago. She said that recently she has been able to afford a few luxuries that she couldn't before.

“We used to work just to eat, earning one sol [$0.36] a day, but now I take home up to 80 soles [$28.50],” she said.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Carpenter Antonio Abad poses in his workshop in Gosen City, where he arrived in 1995 when it was just a ramshackle settlement.

He began helping neighbours build their homes and now has a factory that makes windows, doors, and furniture.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Neighborhood leader Honorata Huaman said that when she was just 9 years old and living in Ayacucho, her mother sold her for a sack of rice and another of barley and she was brought to Lima.

She survived both cancer and a relationship with an abusive husband, and now at 60 she is a small businesswoman in Gosen City. She makes her living selling cakes, and uses the profits to donate food to needy children.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Maria del Pilar Condorcule, 40, has helped clean up a garbage dump that was in front of her house and is now planting vegetables with her neighbours.

She grows everything from beets to radishes, potatoes, and lettuce.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Dorila Gallardo is retired after more than 20 years washing clothes in Lima during the day, and selling sweets and cigarettes at night.

She has finally managed to build a new house next to her old one, which used to get so humid inside that they had to dry out the floor mats in the sun.

“This winter we won’t get sick!” she said.

. LIMA, PERU. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Teodora Martinez has to wake up at 3 a.m. to fetch fresh vegetables for her shop. She said that neighbours come to buy her wares every day now and they purchase more than they did before.

Martinez commented on the many women who are seeing their lives change in Gosen City.

“Life is hard here, many men couldn’t take it and they left. But we women give our children a future, in whatever way we can. We help each other,” she said.