September 12, 2010

Getting settled–and unsettled

close quarters for our ride south

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since our last update. The last seven days have been filled with a little bit of everything: Spanish classes, sightseeing, presentations on Peruvian politics and traditional medicine, mountain hikes, an overnight service visit to an orphanage, and chifa, the local version of Chinese food.

The Peru SSTers have jumped right in, getting themselves to and from class via combi (sometimes a feat in itself!), venturing out to small local restaurants for “menú” lunches (think “today’s special”), visiting historic churches and Lima’s main square, and spending time getting to know their host families.

Just as the students started settling into Lima life, the group headed to Casa Hogar Villa Martha, a home for nearly 100 children and teenagers about an hour south of the city.

The SSTers got to work cleaning, cooking, and playing with the kids. In the evening several residents joined our group for some singing in the chapel. We also brought along 20 warm, llama-wool blankets for Villa Martha thanks to a generous donation from Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen.

The children get most of their food from an on-site farm, and they care for both the animals and the extensive garden. Our second day at Villa Martha started at 5:30, when the residents get up to do chores before breakfast and school. We joined them for breakfast then packed up, said goodbye, and headed out to nearby Lomas de Lúcumo, a nature refuge that provided welcome respite from the city. Tour guide Alfredo pointed out wildlife and pre-Incan cave drawings, and the students explored an old silver mine.

All the activity and fresh air—not to mention the packed schedule earlier in the week, and the post-hike lunch of arroz con pollo—contributed to siesta time for everyone on the bus ride back to Lima.

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