Lilia Paredes, like everyone else before the trip, wanted to leave her house clean and tidy before heading to Lima. Her husband, Pedro Castillo, is sworn in as the new president of Peru on Wednesday.
Before the presidential race and interviews, Lilia devoted herself to household chores and caring for her two children and younger sister. And although she will now be Peru’s first lady, she stresses that she will not forget those who need her most, including her neighbors in the town of Chugur, located in the remote Anjoya region, one of the poorest regions in the country.
“We will work for the most needy and the poor. For me it is very important. To work and achieve what no president has done before, to do something for these people,” Paredes said.
The changes will be massive for the Castillo Paredes family. Unlike any other president of the past forty years, the family does not own a home in Lima and Lilia still does not know whether to leave life in the country and move to the Government Palace, a neo-baroque residence located in the historic center.
“It is a palace that is not very important, because we are not royalty to enjoy it. If we go there to work, we will work without paying attention to the palace.”
Paredes also stressed that he would prefer his children to attend public education, a service he said is a challenge to improve in the next five years. If that happens, it will be the first time in decades that the president’s children have received a public education in Peru.
On the last night before leaving for Lima, Lilia and her family attended the Nazarino Evangelical Church. There, the community lovingly bid her farewell.
Shy in front of international cameras but close to her hometown, Lilia spoke a few words at the end of mass, carrying the same message as her husband Pedro Castillo.
With a microphone in his hand, he said, “We are all humble people, we all know us. We will never forget where we came from and where we must go back because a public job will not last forever. It will only last a moment.”
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