Recent Posts

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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November 29, 2012

St. Martin School for Special Education (Centro Educativo Básico Especial Don José de San Martin) has a special mission:  to educate disabled children.  Each day parents bring their daughters and sons here to Cusco’s Wanchaq district — on foot or by bus — to give their children an opportunity to learn and develop with the help of educators who understand their needs, their abilities, their potential.  Many of the students are deaf; there are two classes set aside for hearing-impaired children.  Others face a range of other disabilities — mental or physical — which slow or even block their development. …

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November 28, 2012

Cusco is a magnificent place.  As the capital of the Inca Empire, it was so central to their people’s existence it became known as “the navel of the world.”  When Francisco Pizzaro and his motley cohort of conquistadores came upon the city in 1533, they marveled at its order, design and architecture.  Nearly 500 years later, people continue to flock here from all over the globe to walk its ancient streets, visit its churches and museums, sample its Andean cuisine and visit the countless archaeological sites scattered throughout the region.  According to a recent government report, in 2011 more than…

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November 26, 2012

San Jerónimo is located along the main highway that connects Cusco, the region’s capital, to Puno, the port city at the edge of Lake Titicaca which forms the southeastern boundary of Peru.  At 3,245 meters (10,646 feet) above sea level, the sun shines brightly most mornings and rain clouds often gather in the afternoons — local farmers are anxious for rain to water their recently-planted fields.  San Jerónimo’s founding dates back to the time of the Incas:  the royal family’s clan (panaca) was headquartered here.  During the colonial period a large plaza and many stone houses were built in this…

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November 25, 2012

Service in Huacarpay

Huacarpay is home to perhaps five hundred people — it’s hard to tell.  This one-street town at the edge of Huacarpay Lake was inundated by flood waters in January 2010 and life has still not returned to normal.  Frightened residents moved to higher ground on a ridge that overlooks the lake during four days of heavy rain.  Their adobe houses were saturated with water and began to collapse as the waters rose.  Living in tents above the town, they endured wind and cold temperatures in tents provided by U.S. AID, Backus Corporation (a Peruvian beverage maker) and other donors.  The…

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November 21, 2012

Service in Lucre

Lucre, a mountain hamlet of 4,000 people, is nestled between steep slopes and framed by blue skies.    The first Mennonite Church in Peru was founded here in the 1980s and each Sunday a group of Spanish- and Quechua-speakers worships here.  On the other days of the week the members of Iglesia Evangelica Menonita de Lucre (Lucre Mennonite Evangelical Church) venture into the surrounding hills to tend their animals and work their fields.  This is a high altitude location: 3,162 meters, or 10,374 feet, above sea level.  But the lay of the land and the protection offered by the surrounding mountains…

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