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December 3, 2013

Back home again in Indiana

Members of Goshen College’s Peru Study-Service Term unit for Fall 2013 arrived back in Goshen Monday afternoon and enjoyed a joyous welcome from family friends and members of the college community. Becca Augsburger, Alan Leichty, Rudy Litwiller, Joshua Schlabach, Landon Slabaugh and Lauren Weaver  arrived at the Newcomer Center by bus about 4 p.m. Jacob Putnam, our seventh student, ended his journey in Chicago, where he lives. The flight from Lima to Houston, Texas left at 1:47 a.m. Monday – 47 minutes later than the scheduled departure. However, the flight arrived at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston with about…

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December 2, 2013

Headed home to Goshen College

Goshen College students returned from their closing retreat at the beach south of Lima on Sunday afternoon and arrived back at Casa Goshen for a frenzy of last-minute activity. They had less than two hours to pack up their belongings, make sure their suitcases weighed less than 50 pounds and to discard unneeded items. For all that work they got a reward – a delicious Peruvian meal of causa (a potato stuffed with shredded chicken), lomo saltado (a beef stir fry served with rice) and a fresh juice blend of mango and passion fruit prepared by Alicia Taipe Tello, our…

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December 2, 2013

The period of working in service assignments in cities across Peru came to an end, and the students caught night buses back to Lima, and then taxis to Casa Goshen. They arrived early in the morning on November 28 – Thanksgiving Day back in the United States, but just an ordinary workday in Peru. The students were tired but happy to be reunited as a group and excited to share stories about their service experiences. After hugs and greetings, students enjoyed the traditional welcome breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee, tea – and lots of catching up. Then, after a…

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November 26, 2013

Service in San Ramón

Alan, Becca and Joshua are working in San Ramón in the province of Chanchamayo – the entry point to the selva central, Peru’s central rain forest. They have been fully engaged in their service assignments, working mornings and afternoons. Still, the students also have enjoyed their host families as well as the flora, fauna and warm temperatures of San Ramón, which is located along the Carretera Central (the central highway) that links Lima in the west to the rain forest in the east. San Ramón, which has about 30,000 residents, is located in the departamento (state) of Junín, on the…

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November 24, 2013

Service in Tarma

Jacob and Landon are volunteering in Tarma, a delightful city of about 60,000 residents located in a fertile valley about 3,053 meters, or 10,016 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. Jacob and Landon are enjoying their rewarding service assignments and warm host families. They also have taken time to get to know Tarma, which was founded in 1538 in the departamento (state) of Junín, between the central coast and the central Amazon rain forest. Because of its spring-like weather and natural beauty, Tarma was nicknamed the “Pearl of the Andes” by Antonio Raimondi, an Italian-born scientist and…

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November 24, 2013

Service in Ayacucho

Rudy and Lauren are volunteering in Ayacucho, a historic city located in a scenic valley about 2,761 meters, or 9,058 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. Rudy and Lauren are enjoying their service assignments and host families and also are taking time to explore a city of 151,000 people known for its colonial architecture, 33 churches (one for each year of the life of Jesus Christ) and religious observances. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1540 as San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga and intended it to be a bulwark against a possible Inca…

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November 13, 2013

As the time in Lima draws to a close, the Peru SST unit has a tradition of gathering the Lima staff and host families for a despedida, or goodbye party. This semester’s group felt a little intimidated, being only seven in number and having heard great things about elaborate past despedidas. However, as they began preparing, the magnificent seven got inspired. They decided on a fall theme, with flowers in autumn colors, a pumpkin-carving contest and apple-bobbing (in Lima, summer is just beginning). During their last two weeks of language classes, they put in extra time to prepare a short…

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November 6, 2013

The day to visit Machu Picchu finally arrived, and it dawned sunny and beautiful. We arose early, ate a quick breakfast, rubbed on sunscreen, filled our daypacks with water bottles and snacks and headed for the bus that takes tourists up a road of hairpin curves to the world famous site. Even the bus ride up is breathtaking, with steep, green mountains rising on all sides. When we arrived and stood looking out over the famous ruins, we understood why Incan royalty chose to build a city and spend time there. Our guide, Oswaldo Palomino Alvarado, explained what we were…

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November 2, 2013

The Peru SST group spent three sunny days exploring Cusco and Peru’s Sacred Valley with the help of our guides, Abrahan Quispe Corrales for Cusco and Oswaldo Palomino Alvarado for the rest of our trip. Cusco was the heart of the Inca empire when the Spaniards arrived in 1526; in fact the Incas referred to it as the “navel of the world.” At that time, the Inca realm extended thousands of miles, encompassing parts of modern-day Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Inca leaders ruled over an estimated 10 million inhabitants, from 1438 to 1533. After the conquest, the…

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November 1, 2013

Goshen College students began their week in Cuzco with study, music, dancing and quiet time with new host families. It was a great start to what proved to be a rich week filled with hiking, learning, exploration, new experiences and awesome beauty. After an uneventful flight from Lima to Goshen, students relaxed in Sol de Oro, a beautiful hotel perched on a hillside just outside Cuzco. Some students suffered from fatigue or headaches from altitude sickness; the elevation in Cuzco is 11,200 feet. The symptoms eased after a light supper, herb tea and a good night of rest. The next…

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