May 8, 2011

first fruits—and first taxi rides

Day one in Lima: a picnic overlooking the Pacific

The students spent their first full day in Peru getting their “Lima legs”—they walked the mile and a half from their hostel to Goshen Tambo, the directors’ home and the students’ meeting place every Wednesday. Along the way they stopped to change their U.S. dollars into Peruvian nuevo soles and visited the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, where they will be meeting for language classes, lectures, and workshops. They also passed by Huaca Pullanca, a pre-Inca ruin in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

We took the morning to talk about our schedule, safety and transportation, and cultural norms. For our morning snack, longtime program assistant Alicia Taipe Tello and her daughter Janay prepared a dozen types Peruvian fruits for the students to taste, including lucuma, granadilla, pacay, chirimoya, tuna, mango, papaya, aguaymanto, and maracuyá. It was a flavorful break!

For lunch we enjoyed a picnic on the Malecón, a beautiful park overlooking the Pacific Ocean that’s a short walk from Goshen Tambo. On the way we passed through a traditional market and admired the stands with fruit, flowers, meat, and fish.

Lima continues to experience faintly autumnal days with just a hint of chill in the air. But early afternoon was warm and sunny, and we were glad for the opportunity to wander down to the beach and to play a bit at the park.

The SSTers’ first task of the afternoon was to get back to Good Shepherd by taxi. They split up into groups of four, and each of the four groups successfully negotiated a good price and arrived at the right place at the right time. We spent the afternoon covering a few more survival tips and going over the syllabus and assignments for the semester.

After the taxi victories, our evening challenge was to get to dinner via bus. All 19 of us—the 16 students, plus Kevin and Heather and Celia, our coordinator, squeezed into an already-full bus heading down Avenida Arequipa, a major thoroughfare. Fifteen minutes later we arrived in the district of Lince at Comunidad Reto, the Mennonite church that hosted us for dinner. Pastor José Manuel Prada Bernal warmly welcomed the group and shared a little about the church, which is the only Mennonite congregation in Lima. We enjoyed a meal of pollo al horno (oven-cooked chicken), mashed potatoes, bean salad, and maracuyá juice.

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