Porteño Corner: Eddy Mendoza, Peruvian Carpenter

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Eddy Mendoza
Age: 45
San Martín (province of Buenos Aires)

Q: How long have you been here and where are you originally from?

I’ve been here 18 years. I’m from Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru.

• How did you end up in Buenos Aires?

I came as a tourist and I ended up staying because there is more employment in carpentry here.

• Do you have your family here with you?

No, here I’m alone. I’m married and I have a 20-year-old son. My son is in Peru. My wife is working in Spain. I wanted to go too but I didn’t get the visa. I wish I could — a piece that earns me 2,000 pesos here would be worth 12,000 in Spain.

Here I just make enough to get by. I wanted to go to the U.S. too but it’s impossible to get a visa. Argentina welcomes anyone, which is great. I don’t think countries should be able to say who comes in and who doesn’t. The earth belongs to all of us, not just the people who drew up lines dividing the land.

• You’re here celebrating the bicentennial with your Dominican friends. What do you think of the festivities?

It’s very nice. It’s good that the people can enjoy themselves. It’s just stupid that (President) Cristina didn’t show up.

• Why do you think she didn’t show up?

Because of her ego.

• Why do you like Argentina?

I like the quality of the people; they’re warm and affectionate. In general, Argentina offers everything you’d want in a country and they are welcoming to foreigners.

• Some people here are prejudice against Peruvians, have you experienced discrimination?

In the street, yes, but in a work environment, no. Once people know you they love you for who you are and it doesn’t matter where you’re from. There are always people who laugh at you for your accent, the color of you skin, or even the color of your shirt, but there are ignorant people all over the world.

• You say people can tell you’re a foreigner by your accent, although it’s not that strong. Do you speak Lunfardo?

I understand lunfardo, but I don’t speak it because I try not to offend people.

• What do you miss about Peru?

The customs and the food!

• What customs in particular?

Well, the behavior of the people. Where I come from people are more human, genuine and sincere. Here the people are nice but it’s more superficial.

•And what do you think of Argentine women?

They’re very pretty! I like Argentine women very much. They have huge egos though, until they’re in love and then suddenly they have the lowest self esteem in the world.

• So you date Argentine women?

Well yes, I go out with them to have dinner or whatever, but I tell them; ‘Listen I have a wife, she’s in Spain.’ I don’t lie. I may tell them I care for them but I don’t tell them I’m going to love them forever.

• What about your wife, is she allowed to date others too?

Well if she wants to, I can’t stop her. Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente (Eyes that don’t see, heart that doesn’t feel).