Are Americans resourceful? Well, I think we all know the answer to that. We are not. En ninguna manera. I would dare say we are one of the most wasteful cultures in the world. Where did this behavior come from? Maybe because we always know there will be more available. We have become so accustomed to having a stable economy that the thought of ¨what if there won’t be anymore tomorrow¨ doesn’t even pop into our little heads. Well I am certainly guilty of this as well. If something has a rip, tear, scratch, I throw it out. Don’t even think about repairing it. Food….forget about it! Americans throw away more food ..it’s truly a wonder how we all got so obese. Or if something malfunctions..how quickly do we walk away or call someone else to fix it? How did we get this way? Isn’t it time we change in these uncharted waters of American history?
Well this is where Peru steps in. Peruvians do not waste. Anything. Peruvians are extremely resourceful and to be wasteful in front of one would be offensive. Why are they this way? Well all you have to do is look back 20 years in their history. Peru has not had the pleasure of knowing a stable economy like we have. In fact Peru over the last 25 years has suffered from a very unstable economy. Although they may be finally leaving this ugly pattern behind, the people are still as resourceful as ever. I have noticed this with food more than anything. People use all the parts of the chicken. They eat fruit even if it has a couple of bruises on it. They don’t prepare food for 20 people when there are only four…well maybe they do, but you bet your ass those four people eat every last bite. I bet if you searched the trash can of the average American, you could find a week’s worth of meals for one person.
Also, every time there is a problem with my boyfriend´s computer or car, he doesn’t throw his hands up in the air and call it the quits. He, very patiently might I add, evaluates the problem and attempts to fix it over and over again until the problem is resolved. My patience runs out in about the first five minutes. He always asks me ¨Que tienes?¨ or basically ¨What’s your problem?¨. And when I think about it…I don’t know what my problem is. Why am I so annoyed when he tries to fix problems? It goes back to this American idea of ¨it’s not worth it, just toss it¨. That idea doesn’t really exist here. You can save almost anything. Now, some Peruvians truly take this idea too far. When you go to the center you can see people selling food on the streets. Think twice before using that plastic fork my friend. That was probably found in a trash can 10 min ago.
Now I’m not saying we should take resourcefulness this far. But I do think Americans could learn from Peruvians. We waste so much because we ¨know¨ there will always be more. Well what if one day there isn’t? Will we be able to adapt quickly enough to survive? I think we should take advantage of these difficult times and maybe change our attitude about how we use things. Pull something positive out of this mess. I think we could do it. Poco a poco.