In Peru there is the common perception that fans can kill you. No, I am not talking about crazed stalkers or rogue blades detaching from a mechanical fan and inflicting a mortal blow… Heck NO, that would be a far too easy.
Allow me to elaborate… I have a great deal of respect for cultural differences as I have traveled fairly extensively, but this one still gets me. People here are not afraid of being injured by a fan. They are afraid of the circulating air a fan generates. They believe it could sicken you and lead to death.
You are NEVER, EVER allowed to sleep with a fan on in your room!!! I have lived here for nearly 4 years and still don’t understand this. Thankfully after a few years of living in the US my wife was able to overcome her fear. We moved back to Peru in September of 2009. After about 6 years away things had not changed. When I asked my wife why, she told me to ask Mama Rosa. Mama Rosa shrugged her shoulders and told me that the air a fan generates is not natural. Out of respect, I never use a fan around her. I think she has only come into our Bodega a handful of times due to or use of fans.
I did my own completely un-scientific research with my students at the University where I teach. I figured they would be able to explain the phenomenon to me. Since they are my students, I could push their buttons and use some Gringo logic with them. They are intermediate level students and were able to elaborate in English. It turned out to be a fun exercise and a bit of an ice-breaker, since I was taking over the class from another teacher.
It went something like this…
Me: So I understand that you believe fans are deadly.
Them: Yes. Teacher you should never sleep with a fan on.
Me: Why? How is it any different from wind blowing?
Them: It is not natural, the air is generated by electricity.
Me: No, it is produced by the movement of the blades.
Them: It can make your too cold. When it is hot and you are sweating, that can make you very sick and kill you.
Me: OK. How about when you are driving your motorcycle to class, will that air make you sick?
Them: No teacher, it is natural, so it is OK.
Sensing that we were at an impasse, I conceded. While I still think fans are perfectly safe, I completely respect their belief that they can make you sick and possibly kill you. Apparently Peruvian are not the only people who feel this way about fans. Check out this Wikipedia link.Thanks for visiting! Let us know what we can do to improve our site.