Recent Posts

September 28, 2014

Señora Gregoria Flores leads the way past rows of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, cilantro, parsley, potatoes and more. We’re following her trail, surrounded by lush terraces of green, in a place where a garden has no business growing: Villa María del Triunfo. We’re on arid, sandy land. And we’re walking underneath high-tension power lines, surrounded by the most humble of homes, each one seemingly built on the back of another. Villa María, a southern district of Lima that was founded more than 50 years ago, is home to more than 360,000 people, many of whom struggle with underemployment, poverty…

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September 25, 2014

Tracking Money to the Centimo

While I was preparing for SST during the summer, I was thrilled to see that the American dollar was worth 2.8 times more than the nuevo sol, Peru’s currency. In my mind, I pictured being able to buy tons of goodies and gifts for practically nothing. When I landed in Lima’s airport, this dream seemed even more possible. My mere 120 American dollars transformed themselves into 300 soles! Unfortunately, what I failed to realize was that many items in Peru are priced very closely to American prices and require more soles than one would imagine. My first experience with this…

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September 21, 2014

We traveled to the home of Victor Delfín, one of Peru’s most celebrated artists, expecting that our visit would end the streak of interviews he has granted SST groups over the years. We planned to tour the house but not see Delfín himself on this day; a museum staff member had alerted us earlier that Delfín was recovering from a cold or some kind of bug that had kept him in bed. His seaside home in Barranco serves as a residence, studio and gallery. A guide led us through rooms upstairs and downstairs, pausing to tell us about dozens of paintings, sculptures…

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September 21, 2014

A 10-minute walk from Casa Goshen, the home office of the SST program in Peru, we found Manos Amigas, a Christian organization that exports handicrafts on behalf of independent artists, advocating for fair prices and tracking shifts in consumer demand for crafts. Yannina Meza, who directs Manos Amigas, or “Hands of Friendship,” met us at the door. She told us that Manos Amigas works with dozens of artisan groups and workshops in Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancayo and elsewhere,  whose knitted scarves and gloves, carved gourds, polished stone earrings and other products are shipped abroad. On the day that we visited, a…

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September 20, 2014

Laura shares a journal entry: Bus after bus passes by, each one so impossibly full that I can’t imagine a square inch of floor space that isn’t covered by feet. Yet the people in front of Shina and me manage to squeeze themselves through the  door, even it it means that an arm or a bag is left dangling out the door in the process. That particular morning we waited one hour before even getting on one of the blue buses. So far, the commute to and from Good Shepherd Anglican Church and my house has been the most frustrating…

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September 16, 2014

We drove away from Lima on Friday, headed north on a highway that hugs the coastline, the Pacific to our left and steeply banked sand dunes to our right.  The sun came out, a welcome change from Lima, which is still nearly always covered in clouds late in the winter season. After about 120 miles, we turned inland, following a dirt road. We drove past fields of corn and asparagus and peppers, all watered by irrigation. We passed a couple of three-wheeled, moto-taxis. We saw a sign welcoming us to “Pueblo Nuevo,” or “New Town,” apparently so named for a…

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September 11, 2014

The Rosas of Lima

 Abby shares a journal entry: I felt like there was something symbolic and in some ways very sacred about arriving in Peru and being with our host families for the celebration of Saint Rosa of Lima. I was struck by the story of St. Rosa at the Cathedral of Lima. She was the first saint for Lima. She was a poor, ethnically diverse female, and yet she became the first saint for Lima. The guide at the cathedral talked about how she was chosen as a saint as a way of reminding people of the divinity that exists in all…

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September 7, 2014

We left our home base at the Buen Pastor church on Friday morning, taking a bus toward Cono Norte, or the northern rim of Lima, where immigrants pour in from the mountains and the jungle, eager to stake a claim to a hillside patch of rocky, sandy soil. Pastor Benjamin Salas Aguirre and his wife, Livia Achahuanco, met us at the Anglican church mission in Puente Piedra, or Stone Bridge, a district of more than 230,000 people. The district was founded in 1927, but on the hillsides are the shacks of immigrants who arrived in recent years and even recent…

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September 5, 2014

Downtown Lima

Our tour of downtown Lima began in an early colonial monastery, Convento de San Francisco, known for its religious art above ground and its history below ground. To be sure, we admired the courtyard, the carvings, and the paintings, including “The Last Supper,” by Diego de la Puente. But what really got our attention were the bone-filled crypts, with skulls and femurs arranged in concentric circles. The church served as a burial place until 1808. On one wall we read John 11:25-26, in which Jesus proclaims, “I am the resurrection and the life . . .” A short walk away…

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September 3, 2014

Well, we’re off and running! The first days here in Lima have been so full it’s been hard to stop long enough to post a blog. That said, we do want to share a bit about orientation and give you a glimpse of the adventures we’ve been having as we explore a new part of the world together. Students spent their first two nights in Lima at Albergue Miraflores House in the Miraflores section of the city, about halfway between our apartment (“Casa Goshen”) and El Buen Pastor, where classes will be held. Since the hostel served breakfast, our first…

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