Peruvians, Hawaians and Italians…Small scale globalization?

27 June 2012 at 11:11 7 comments

By Icaro Rebolledo| KF18 | Peru

Back at university, a friend of mine used to tell me that if I couldn’t cross the road walking (as opposed to running) then I should not cross the road. Personally, I thought he was just being lazy, but he had a point… so I started walking. However, here in Chiclayo (Northern Peru) I would argue that if you don’t run to cross the road, then you really are not 100% sure you’ll make it to the other side… so I have gone back to running, with a 100% success rate so far! ‘Unlearning’ a little has indeed been the goal I have found both most challenging and most important! On the one hand, I have never tried ‘unlearning’ anything in my life! On the other hand, how are we supposed to properly understand the context in which people live, if our reasoning is so influence by our own preconceptions!? I’ve always thought that people themselves know what’s best for them, much better than any person outside their day to day environment, which is where empowerment comes in to play.

Yet, a pizza has made me re-assess this a little!…Yes! The pizza spoke to me!…. or more the guy who made the pizza; a big, friendly Italian guy who arrived here 6 months ago, after meeting a girl from Chiclayo back in Torino he decided to come with her and try his luck here setting up their little pizza place. That was my second visit to the place and, like the first time, I was the only customer in the place with my peruvian friend who I had invited. As I ask my friend to choose the type of pizza we are to share and he suggests ‘hawaian’, I shout across the restaurant to the pizza guy… “A large hawaian please!”… to which he replied (gesticulating as only Italians can do) “hawaian? REALLY!?… you are the only foreigner who comes to this town and you ask for hawaian!”. So! after (happily) changing the order, he explains to me how he was forced to include the ‘hawaian’ in the menu because that is the only thing they ask for here…but deep inside he feels it is just wrong and it actually saddens him a little as he is an experienced chef!

And here is the issue! There is of course no ‘wrong’ pizza flavour (even though hawaian probably is the closest to that!), but surely the years of hard work of an experienced Italian chef do potentially have something new and valuable to add to anyone! In the same way, even though we as fellows by no means have the equivalent experience of my new Italian friend, I’d like to think that our little personal and professional experience also has a lot to offer to the people of the places we are volunteering at. In fact, people I interact with here are eager to learn about our thoughts and experiences. As foreigners, tourists, expats, etc, we also have a role in trying to make people think and act outside their comfort zone and expose themselves to situations or debates that we think could enrich us all. My italian friend probably want’s a “hawain-pizza free” society…he won’t get that! I guess he and us, personify a friendly part of globalization, which increases the range of options people have available and the potential to do (eat) something different, but the choice remains local… and on that note, wishing Egyptians a great future!

P.S: and what of the picture!? Well, it looks like a determined colourful global dunkey with a load of mileage, but still with a long way to go… like most people reading this post!

Icaro Rebolledo is a Kiva Fellow, working in Peru this summer with Kiva partner Edpyme Alternativa, a microfinance institution in Northen Peru. Find out how you can become a Kiva Fellow or just more information on kiva and microfinance in general on

Entry filed under: Americas, blogsherpa, Entrepreneurial Support, Family and Community Empowerment, Innovation, KF18 (Kiva Fellows 18th Class), Peru, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

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  • 1. broxmarion  |  13 August 2012 at 23:50

    This image is really so nice. After looking this I actually excited. I can say that this article is awesome and helpful to us. Thanks and keep it up…
    pizza blog

  • […] Kiva’s platform in particular as a recipe for peace and love through provision of empowerment;  as a channel through which positive globalisation is expanded; or  as providing the foundations for the building of a global community. Now I have also […]

  • 3. paulina  |  2 July 2012 at 09:45

    what’s wrong with hawaian?!!! i love it hehe. keep posting, muchos besos figaro, xxx

  • […] Peruvians, Hawaiians and Italians…Small Scale Globalization? Icaro Rebolledo | KF18 | Peru Using the metaphor of an Italian chef’s frustration with Peruvians’ love for Hawaiian pizza, Icaro discusses the importance of a melange of opinions and experience, especially as it applies to our work and life as Fellows. […]

  • 5. kiva1varick  |  29 June 2012 at 03:46

    Love the image at the beginning of the post, keep ’em coming Icaro.

  • 6. Jorge David Rebolledo  |  28 June 2012 at 06:28

    Very interesting…the pizza philosopher lol…next time you should visit an all you can eat chinesse buffet lol…
    Seriously now: Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Keep in touch

  • 7. Eduarda Carmo Vaz  |  27 June 2012 at 16:58

    ma dai, hawaian?!? i can imagine the italian’s frustration 🙂
    nice post!

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