Thursday, 1 November 2007

Peru stops for stats

The day that Ben arrived was census day. I'd seen it written up on the sides of houses for a while like political ads. What I hadn't realised was that the whole country shuts down, including intercity buses and even taxis.
Basically from 8am to 6pm everyone has to wait at home for a census collector to come and ask them demographic details. The questions are fairly similar to the Australian one but this year controversy struck when women were asked the number of their children that have died. In a catholic country the inference that they could be asking about number of abortions this sparked more talk than whether you could list jedi night as your religion!
They take the census very seriously, last time our guide was on a remote trek and someone knocked on her tent at 6am to do the census with her!
Well, that's my little bit of quirky Peru for this week. Can you imagine Australia shutting down for the census, I guess it demonstrates a commitment to statistics....


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