UN-Happy 178th Anniversary Dear Chiclayo City
Today, in 1835 (178 years ago), Chiclayo was declared a city by Peruvian President Felipe Santiago Salaverry. Initially, known as the “Heroic City” to recognize the courage of its citizens in the fight for independence; Chiclayo later became the “Capital of Friendship”.
Growing up in Chiclayo is one of my most treasured memories. The traffic and the car noise was crazy, but I miss it. The people were super friendly and genuine, and I miss that too. My parents’ friends were my “aunts and uncles” and their kids were my “cousins”. Family wasn’t limited to blood; friends were your family. The sense of community was so natural, everybody knew everybody.
Families stayed in Chiclayo for generations. My family was one fo the most influential families of the city (back in the day of farms and plantations). My great-grandfather Julio Fernandez Chonate was an entrepreneur that made his fortune with hard work and by acquiring several properties around town and its surroundings. He married my great-grandmother Maria Augusta De La Oliva Vilchez, and together they lived in a big property that they named: “La Quinta Chonate”.
They had 4 children together: my uncle “Julio” (RIP), my uncle “Cholo Carlos”,my aunt “Mery”(RIP) and my grandpa “William”. They all grew up in Chiclayo; although they all left to other countries to pursue higher/better education, they all came back to their beloved Chiclayo. They all had children who grew up in Chiclayo (one of them is my mom), and the story repeated itself. The children of the children left Chiclayo, but they all came back. Life in Chiclayo was good.
Now, that the children of the children’s children (me and my generation) have become adults; the story has changed. My family does not own “La Quinta Chonate” anymore. It was sold to the city for housing. My uncle “Julio” served as the Mayor of Chiclayo and one of his children “Julio Armando” now owns a resort that he named “Quinta Chonate” in remembrance of our long gone family home. Many of my cousins still live in Chiclayo. I don’t.
I want to go back, but not right now. However, I feel that my city needs me right now. There has been manifestations, and the people of Chiclayo are not happy with their Mayor. There has been accusations of corruption, but what makes me really upset is that my city is destroyed. I am a Civil Engineer with a Master’s in Traffic and Transportation Engineering, it is paradoxical that my beloved Chiclayo is suffering of damaged road drainage, traffic deficiencies and deteriorated roads.
Today, on its anniversary day, the national newspaper “La República”, posted an article in Spanish titled: “Chiclayo is bombarded in his 178th Anniversary”. I read it, just to find out that it is a sarcastic metaphor that expresses the discontent of the “chiclayanos” (residents of Chiclayo) towards their Mayor.
Today, I join my “chiclayanos” in their celebrations; however, there will be no celebrations. Chiclayo is destroyed. Chiclayo needs to be rebuilt. I will go back, one day after I accomplish what I came here for. However, the issues that are happening right now, need to b e taken care of now.
Chiclayanos, please wake up.
Chiclayanos, please don’t wait until I get back.
Chiclayanos, take action now.
Photo credit: MacchuPicchu.org
Posted on April 18, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged American Dream, aunts and uncles, capital of friendship, car noise, chiclayo, current-events, DREAM, felipe santiago salaverry, great grandmother, heroic city, julio fernandez, maria augusta de la oliva, peru, peruvian president, quinta chonate, treasured memories, uncle julio. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.