By Mariana Bazo
Nearly 300 Haitians are stuck in Inapari, a tiny Peruvian village on the border with Brazil. They are victims of the 2010 earthquake in their country and traveled weeks chasing their dream of simply getting a job. They believe that in Brazil the upcoming World Cup is creating great opportunities.
Some 3,000 kilometers after leaving home, they reached the Brazilian border only to find it shut to them, closed to stop the wave of their compatriots that began to arrive after the disaster.
They wait in the middle of the jungle and understand little. They’ve bet everything on this chance, selling or just abandoning all their belongings back home to make it this far. They now have nothing in Haiti and can’t reach their destination, nor can they return. They even asked me why they’re not allowed to cross the border, assuring that they are good workers and are willing to work hard to live better.
Inapari is a lowland village of immigrants from the Andean highlands. A few years back it was opened up to the world with the construction of the Interoceanic Highway uniting the Pacific with the Atlantic across Peru and Brazil. With that road came many things good and bad. First came illegal logging. Then came illegal mining and smuggling. But at the same time Brazil and Peru are now united, commerce is more fluid and Machu Picchu is now only 12 hours away by road.
Today, separated from Brazil by only a bridge, Inapari is a village that breathes a climate of change. It is only eight blocks long and has 2,000 inhabitants who are adapting to their new world. Hostals and restaurants are preparing to receive more tourists, and the residents are more receptive of strange visitors who arrive on the highway that to them is nothing if not a luxury. Their new globalized world brought them a flow of Haitian migrants, as well as a taste of the world’s problems.