Look closely at the picture above. A father holding his 2 year old son. Normal, right?
I photographed this photo two months after arriving in Peru, July 2014. This photo is so memorable to me because it was the first time I had seen a man holding his child in Peru. In a country working to redefine gender norms it was a very strange sight!
As we traveled to the city on the combi this day, I felt so much pride to call this man my host dad. Meet Wilder, a father of three beautiful Peruvian children and host dad to 4 beautiful North American volunteers. He has been happily married to Jacqui for a long time and he lives in a humble homes on the rocky mountain of Yanacoto.
He loves rock music and is an aspiring guitarist. He worked at a bakery in Lima, until he met Jacqui and moved to Yanacoto to court her. My birthday cake was a delicious “Wilder” original so I can vouch for his baking skills!
He works in construction, and his weekly schedule is as follows –
4:30am – Wake up and get ready
5:30am – Get on the combi to commute two hours or more to Lima (depending on traffic)
8am- 6pm work on construction sites, making very minimal income
6pm – Commute two hours back to Yanacoto standing on the public combi
8:30pm – Get home and eat dinner with the family and play with his children
11pm – Go to bed
Although most nights he would be up well past midnight working on the house. Oh ya, he built the family home alone and is trying to finish it little by little. Stairs, roof, plumbing, electricity, floors… he does it all!
On Sundays he goes to the market with his wife and then cooks lunch for the whole family so Jacqui can have a little bit of a break. He does dishes, he changes diapers, he literally gives his whole life to his family.
In a country struggling with machismo and women’s rights, he is a living example of a good Peruvian man.
During my two years living in Peru I have witnessed one too many times, verbal abuse, expectations to be waited on hand and foot, expectations that the woman will take charge of the child’s every need, and many more examples of everyday machismo. That is why this Peruvian Profile goes out to the greatest Peruvian father I’ve ever met, Wilder, a change agent and example to his friends and extended family. The greatest part is that he doesn’t know it… He just does it.