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On Wednesday,  April 25, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Peru for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the thrill of Machu Pichu and the majesty of Lima.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, and it is through pictures that those who are  dis-empowered and marginalized are given a voice said Andres Longui, a Peruvian artist. He  has been a long-time advocate of sharing camera operative knowledge and use for years. Longui has provided cameras and technical instruction to children and adults in rural communities in Peru so they could document and share with the world their experiences.

The result, a collection titled “Ojos Propios” (Translated: Through their Eyes) can be seen at the Peruvian Embassy in DC.

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Pictures Courtesy of Nandor Nagy of PIXofDC

Thingstodo.DC and the Peruvian Embassy hosted a cultural Evening at the Embassy of Peru and as a fellow Peruvian, I was eager to set foot on Peruvian soil. Attendees enjoyed a night of diplomacy, art, music, dance ensembles, and of course, Peruvian cuisine.

In 2017, Peru was named the “World’s Leading Culinary Destination” for the sixth year in a row by the World Travel Awards. Therefore, I cannot be labelled as biased when I say that Peruvian food is the best in the world.

The Embassy of Peru, located by Dupont Circle, situated in the Embassy Row Homes, regularly hosts cultural events. I do have to admit that Peruvians do know how to throw a party.

Doors opened at 7:00 pm and once again, I breezed through DC traffic by using Lyft line and arrived on time. Guests were warmly welcomed by the Cultural Events Secretary of Peru, who also asked us to tour the embassy and visit the Ojos Propios. exhibition.

William Gentile, a professor at American University and a visual journalist, said Ordinary citizens of the world now hold extraordinary power thanks to photography. Peruvians aged between 9 to 59 years old were given tools to record their everyday life. The results were breathtaking. Last year, Peru suffered some of the worst flooding in recent decades due to the sudden warming of the Pacific Ocean. I previously volunteered and worked for a disaster relief program that mitigated this situation and helped communities affected by the flood.

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Pictures courtesy of Nandor Nagy of PIXofDC

Pictures that captured this tragic event showed Peruvian citizens endurance during rough times and the strength behind a family bond.

Meanwhile, dinner was being served. The menu included: beef empanadas; Lomo Saltado (a stir-fry of  beef sirloin, tomatoes, onions, served with french fries and rice), Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken in spicy sauce); and Dulce De Leche Churros closed the meal as a sweet conclusion. A wide selection of Peruvian wine also accompanied dinner. Guests also had the great opportunity to try Pisco Sour, the country’s national cocktail.

After the glorious feast, event organizers gathered  guests in the main lobby. The Cultural Events Secretary gave a brief speech on the country’s cultural diversity. Diversity influenced Peru’s cuisine, music, and the arts (especially with dance).

And that is when the party really began. Performers dressed in colorful costumes erupted the dance floor with dances from the Andes and the coast of Peru.

Attendees were loving it and clapped along as the dancers engaged into a rendition of the Huaylash, which in Quechua (a spoken language from Peru) means “Youth,”. Huaylash is a dance about and a males pursuit for the females’ attention.  The male dancer demonstrated his youthful energy and strength while,  obviously, the beautiful woman was not very impressed by her suitor.

After the wonderful performances, guests snapped photos with the dancers. If you asked nicely, you could even pose with one of their fantastic hats.

The party ended way too soon! If I am ever in the mood for good food and music, I know I can always go back to the Embassy of Peru.

Gracias Peru for a great night!

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

Written by Moraima Bambaren

A 30 something year old transplant from Atlanta who is looking forward to everything DC has to offer. Currently working in the international non-profit sector, I enjoy meeting people from different parts of the world, attending cultural events and practicing my french whenever I can.

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