Recent Posts

October 25, 2013

What would happen if you combined the accuracy and reliability of the National Public Radio network with the immediacy and reach of CNN, added the variety of a satellite radio network, and transplanted the resulting media company to Lima, Peru? You might well get Grupo Radio Programas del Peru (RPP), a radio and television broadcasting company formed in 1963 by Manuel Delgado Parker. Operating from a skyscraper in the San Isidro district of Lima, RPP has more radio coverage – its stations reach 97 percent of the country – than any radio network in Peru. Its RPP TV news channel…

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October 23, 2013

Visiting a master

Why would an octogenarian continue to work 10- or 12-hour days when he has earned a comfortable retirement as a successful, internationally-acclaimed artist? “For me it isn’t work,” explained Peruvian artist Victor Delfin, when we visited his studio and home in the artistic seaside district of Barranco. There, his joy in creating art was evident. His home was filled with sculptures and paintings. In his back yard, we could examine and touch huge metal horses and lions. A sitting room held a great, metal firebox with elaborate designs and chairs of wood and leather made by Delfin. Even the bathroom…

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October 15, 2013

Until the 1990s, scholars pointed to Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and India as areas that first gave rise to civilization – locations where ancient peoples organized societies with class systems, built enduring cities with public sites, cultivated food for large populations, domesticated animals, developed recording systems and appreciated the arts and sciences. In 2001, the Sacred City of Caral-Supe in Peru was added to that elite list when radiocarbon dating confirmed that urban life, complex agriculture and monumental architecture flourished there 5,000 years ago – long before the rise of civilizations in India and Asia and 2,000 years earlier than anywhere…

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October 13, 2013

Learning during the Study-Service Term takes many forms, from living with host families and going on field trips to soaking in hours of lectures and participating in-depth language learning. Nothing, however, quite compares with hands-on workshops. Students recently enjoyed two stimulating cultural experiences: learning how to play a new musical instrument and make two Peruvian gastronomic treasures. Camilo Ballumbrosio, an extraordinary Afro-Peruvian percussionist known throughout Peru, introduced students to the cajón, a wooden six-sided, box-shaped instrument developed in Peru and played by slapping the front or rear faces (generally thin plywood) with the hands or fingers. He also demonstrated Afro-Peruvian tap…

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October 9, 2013

Embracing nature and traditions

Living and studying in modern Lima, one can forget that huge portions of Peru are in agricultural production and that some traditions are as powerful as ever. So it was good to be reminded of both facts on a visit to the Instituto de Educación Superior Tecnológico Privado de Técnicas Agropecuarias in Lima’s southern agricultural district of Lurín. The institute, more commonly know by its Spanish acronym INTAP (which translates as Integrating Technology for Agricultural Production), is dedicated to improving crop and livestock production. Students come to INTAP to learn how to raise guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, donkeys, cows and…

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October 8, 2013

First-time visitors to Lima, Peru are confronted by many stark contrasts, among them the huge disparities between the city’s richest and poorest residents and its most established and newest neighborhoods. Goshen students witnessed these contrasts when they spent time with some of the city’s poorest residents. In doing so, students experienced a range of emotions as they completed a service project, learned about the reality of life in a shantytown and ate a modest meal with people who lack running water and sewer connections and struggle to make ends meet. The day began as students left the upscale district of…

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October 7, 2013

Visitors to Peru seeking to learn about pre-Columbian civilizations usually make a beeline to Machu Picchu, an essential travel destination in South America. The 15th-century Inca refuge located high above the Sacred Valley, 50 miles northwest of Cuzco, is considered among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and has been designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Although no other Peruvian site can match the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, Lima can offer visitors a keen understanding of pre-Conquest history. As James Higgins, author of “Lima, A Cultural History,” has…

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September 22, 2013

Dancing to the rhythms of Peru

Who says Goshen College students can’t dance? Members of the Fall 2013 Peru SST unit kicked up their heels – and lifted high their legs, arms and bodies – during a spirited workshop on traditional dances of Peru. Their instructors were Pedro Farias and Lisette Alcántara, enthusiastic and talented dancers who have performed with many professional groups. Using videos, music and patient step-by-step instruction, Pedro introduced students to three traditional Peruvian dances—one from the Amazon rain forest, one from the Andes and one from the coast. Pedro provided the historical background and context about each, including the meaning behind the…

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September 22, 2013

City of Kings and Presidents

Goshen students had one of their most memorable days in Lima – called the City of Kings by its founder, Francisco Pizarro – by touring the historic downtown district. Their day was accented by visits to two historic churches and an insider’s tour of the Palacio de Gobierno – the home of Peru’s president. The day began with a bus trip from the Miraflores district to the Parque de la Muralla (Park of the Wall), which is beside the Rimac River. The park features an original section of the defensive wall that once surrounded the central city and was built…

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September 17, 2013

A Full Day of Orientation

Richard and Judy met the students at Casa Miraflores, the hostel where they spent their first night in Peru. As we set off along the Avenida Comandante Espinar, we suddenly found ourselves walking down a corridor of flag-waving, cheering school children. They were so happy to see us! We had no choice but to keep going until we got through this celebration, so we smiled and nodded. When we had a chance to ask what was going on, we learned that they were waiting to greet some North American visitors and thought we were them. So we received a warm…

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