Cultural Fact Friday: Ironing sin electricity!

Shopping malls, Target, H&M, Forever 21… In the the U.S. if I needed to buy a pair of jeans I got in the car and drove to American Eagle. When said pair of jeans became too big or too small they got moved to the shelf in my closet where clothes goes to die, or they got passed on to someone in my family to sit in their clothing graveyard. If the zipper breaks they end up in the trash can. Then I get in my car, drive to the store, and the process continues and American Eagle loves me because I spend a bunch of money on a new pair of jeans.

One of the things that has amazed me the most in Peru is the “waste nothing” attitude! About 5 weeks into our training in Lima the zipper broke on my favorite pair of red pants. I was so sad. As I was about to throw them away, my host mom stopped me and what happened next blew my mind. She told me to give her the pants because she knew someone that could fix them. Sure enough two days later she returned with good as new red pants and a receipt for $2. Mind blown!! What is this secret pants fixing magic and how is it so affordable!

So fast forward four months and I’m now 40lbs lighter thanks to the parasites who decided to take up residence in my stomach and hang out for a while. All of my pants look like this…
Peace Corps Volunteer Weight loss

I remember the secret pants fixing magic and set out to find the superhero in my town. Turns out I live two doors down from Señor Tailor who quickly pulls out his chalk and starts marking denim. Two days later I walk in and pay the “neighbor discount” of $2 for not one, not two, but THREE pairs of pants! Instead of buying a new pair of jeans for $40 a pair I fixed three for $2. Looks at the amazing results…
Tailoring jeans in Peru

Amazed by the skills of Señor Tailor I stopped by often just to chat. Turns out not only does he fix clothes, he has also outfitted almost every single one of the 600 students at the high school in town! Meaning there is no uniform store, Señor Tailor and his lovely assistant hand make every single plaid skirt and pair of dress pants.
School Uniform in Peru

The best kept secret… how to get the perfect pleat! A coal iron. Yes, I am serious. Señor Tailor still heats coals and puts them in the iron in order to iron all of the clothes that he makes. The same way his father, and his father, and his father, and his father (get the picture) did!
handmade skirt in Peru

Coal iron in Peru

So basically forget buying that new pair of jeans and just bring them down for some magic fixing when you come visit me! You’ll save enough that it will basically (not really) cancel out the cost of the plane ticket!