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January 22, 2013

Tipon

The Inca culture constructed palaces, fortresses and temples that were built to last.  Made from massive stones that were tightly fit together, these structures are impressive in their cunning engineering and enduring beauty.  Our first visit to an Inca archaeological site took us to a little-visited placed called Tipon.  According to one theory, it was here that the Inca Pachacutec, the royal leader responsible for expanding the empire far beyond what we now know as Peru, asked his engineers to research and develop water delivery technologies.  According to our guide, Hector, the channels and fountains we observed depended on two…

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January 19, 2013

This is the rainy season in the Andes.  But the rain that fell this week is nothing compared to the torrent that lasted four days back in January 2010.  That extraordinary storm flooded the Cusco region, closing the airport for several days and the railroad line to Machu Picchu for several months.  Homes, businesses and fields were washed away in the flooding.  And the tourist dollars that pump up the local economy disappeared for a while, meaning that people had to deal with both the loss of their assets as well as a drop in their incomes. During the months…

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January 17, 2013

Our first week of lectures and workshops began with a diverse set of presenters.  Jerrell, who teaches economics when not helping Jane lead the Peru Study Service Term, opened with a presentation on the Peruvian economy.  At first glance Peru seems quite poor when compared to the United States — the average Peruvian earns the equivalent of $5,500, while up north the average income is $48,890.  But prices are much cheaper here; taking this into account would double Peru’s average income by comparison.  And these figures do not take into account the value of the potatoes or corn a farmer…

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January 15, 2013

Orientation — Part 2

The Andes are spectacular.  With peaks reaching over 20,000 feet and valleys made green by the recent rains, the tallest mountains in the western hemisphere provide a striking backdrop to our study program.  People have called the sierra home for thousands of years.  They have sustained themselves through strong traditions and hard work, learning from their ancestors how and when to plant potatoes, corn and habas (broad beans).  Seasons are marked by planting time and harvest time, by the wet season and the dry season.  Knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation in the form of stories and…

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January 13, 2013

Orientation — Part 1

Our introduction to life in Peru began in the nation’s capital, Lima.  The students awoke to a warm, sunny day and took a walk through the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, observing the modern architecture and some oddly familiar images — the new KFC on the corner offers valet parking.  They changed their dollars into nuevo soles and learned how to work the ATM machines.  After stretching their legs, the students arrived at the directors’ home, Casa Goshen, where fresh orange juice was served and introductions were made. In the afternoon we took a walk down to the malecon,…

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January 10, 2013

Arrival

All is well.  Nineteen tired but eager students emerged from immigration and customs with all their luggage in tow and smiles on their faces.  After a quick group photo, we boarded a bus for Miraflores House to get settled before beginning orientation in the morning.  Rest well…

January 5, 2013

Change is everywhere.  From the KFC’s and Starbucks that are replacing traditional eateries here in Lima to the appearance of hundreds of off-highway vehicles for this weekend’s Dakar Rally, the old is giving way to the new.  Globalization promises new opportunities, higher incomes and greater awareness of what is happening in the rest of the world to Peru’s thirty million inhabitants.  At the same time, distinct customs, languages and ways of life are disappearing as people migrate from the mountains to the cities in search of what they hope will be a better life for themselves and their children. This…

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December 3, 2012

Departure

We left before dawn for the airport.  The streets were quiet.  So were we, for the most part — each to her, or his, own thoughts. Three months ago this short bus ride marked the beginning of a journey.  Now the journey comes to an end. The luggage was unloaded, then checked in at the counter.  Boarding passes, with seat assignments, were issued to each.  One more group photo.  One more chance to say goodbye.  Feeling sad to go, but happy to be going home. We love you, students.  Be safe.  Travel well. You are different now — more open,…

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December 3, 2012

Perspectives

During the retreat two students presented original writings  — Anna read a letter she penned for her presentation and Ben recited a poem he drafted during a time of reflection on our final day.  With their permission, the two pieces are reprinted below.   LETTER TO A DEAF CHILD IN PERU Dear Somebody, You are a somebody.  No matter how many people treat you like you are less than a person, you matter.  I know your teachers treat you like you are stupid, but you can do anything you put your mind to.  Even though the world acts like it…

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December 3, 2012

Retreat

Retreat is a time to share, reflect, play and prepare for the students’ return to the United States.  We traveled south to Kauai, a retreat center owned and operated by Scripture Union and strategically located on a quiet stretch of beach.  The students began with presentations of the research they conducted, through face-to-face interviews, during their time on study. Topics included: Future of Shantytowns Flowers of the Rain Forest Coffee in Chanchamayo But My Baby Can Hear:  CODAs in Peru Newspapers of Ayacucho The Evangelical Church in Peru Tantawawa Deaf and/or Special Needs in Peru Cocona Quechua Pets in Peru…

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