Recent Posts

March 29, 2014

This semester, five students in the Peru SST program are providing service in Ayacucho, a city of about 151,000 in the south-central Andes of the country. Ayacucho is famous for its 33 Catholic churches, which are said to represent one for each year of Jesus’ life. Because of its substantial Catholic population, Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, most importantly during Semana Santa (Holy Week of Easter). No public celebration in the city can compare to Semana Santa, which draws tens of thousands of visitors from throughout the world. Still, Ayacucho’s Carnaval (Carnival) celebration also has many fans, including Goshen’s students. This year,…

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March 29, 2014

The five students in Ayacucho are doing well and have some great experiences to report. We (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) visited them on a couple of sunny days, interspersed with refreshing nighttime rain – typical weather for this time of year in the Andes. Ayacucho occupies a scenic valley about 2,761 meters, or 9,058 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. The city of 151,000 people is known for its colonial architecture, many Catholic churches and religious observances. In their free time, the Goshen students were enjoying the celebrations of Carnaval, sort of…

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March 28, 2014

Malaina and April are spending the service portion of their Study-Service Term in the coastal town of Chancay, a couple of hours north of Lima. Chancay is a port and verdant agricultural area along the Peruvian coastal desert. The town of 54,000 people boasts a castle, a bustling central plaza, a viewpoint and even a famous ghost who rings the bell of an old church, according to local lore. During a service visit, SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver were warmly welcomed by the municipality’s director of educational programs, Rosa Huarca Equizabal. She described the municipality’s ambitious programs…

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March 27, 2014

Less than two weeks after Goshen College students departed for their service assignments, we received the heartbreaking news that Father Jeffrey L. Klaiber, a gifted historian and a great friend of the Peru Study-Service Term program, abruptly died (March 4) due to complications from heart surgery. He was 71, but had the energy, wit and intellectual curiosity of a much younger person. A Jesuit priest, Jeff lived in Peru for 38 years and was the country’s leading expert on the Catholic Church and the intersection of faith and politics. He also was an authority on Liberation Theology, the Jesuit presence…

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March 27, 2014

Farewell to Lima

The morning after the despedida, or farewell celebration, Goshen College students gathered at Casa Goshen for their final service orientation. Students participated in an exercise designed to show them what it might feel like to be poor and disadvantaged – like many people they would encounter on service. We reviewed cultural mores, health advice, academic (and behavioral) expectations and what to do in case of emergency. The students also got their service reading assignments and reminders about logistical matters. And we ended our session with reflections and prayer. For lunch, students enjoyed pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian dish of smoked chicken,…

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March 26, 2014

The time in Lima drew to a close, and it was time for the Peru Study-Service Term students to say A Dios – go with God – to their host families in Lima. So the students planned a farewell celebration or despedida – a beloved Peru SST tradition. Since television game shows are popular in Peru, the students decided to include games in the program. Families laughed as volunteers tried to knock over cups with tennis balls tied to the back of their belts, eat donuts on strings, find a small piece of candy in a pile of whipped cream or catch…

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March 25, 2014

Creating wearable art from Peru

Shortly before leaving Lima for their service assignments, Goshen students had a chance for individual creative expression during a jewelry workshop with Eliana and Ricardo Mauriola Carrasco, long-time host parents and friends of the Peru Study-Service Term program. Eliana and Ricardo make jewelry as a cottage business and sell necklaces, bracelets and earrings overseas. Ricardo and Eliana described their Peru-grown materials, which included large and small seeds, carved and polished coconut skin and shells, dyed in many bright colors. Most of the materials come from the Amazon rain forest. Some have special meaning. For example, some Amazon people believe the…

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March 25, 2014

Why does an artist choose one medium over another? How does an artist stay motivated enough to create beautiful art year after year? Why would an artist get involved in politics? And why would an octogenarian artist continue to work 10- or 12-hour days instead of enjoying a carefree retirement? Goshen College students got answers to those and other questions while gaining insights into the creative process during a visit to the home and art studio of Victor Delfin, Peru’s leading painter and sculptor. Delfin, 86, is considered Peru’s most accomplished artist. The youngest child in a poor family from…

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March 24, 2014

Every afternoon in Lima, students spent three hours with their Spanish teachers, Irene Arce Zavala, Ana Bracamonte Bardalez and Biviana Goto Sanchez. They belong to the Grupo de Español Inca Garcilaso, a teaching team that offers on-site Spanish classes to visitors in Lima. Irene, Ana and Bivi like to get the three classes interacting with each other and with Peruvians as much as possible. They prefer not to focus too much on levels – realizing language learning is a fluid thing – so they named the classes after Peru’s three regions: Sierra, Selva and Costa (mountains, jungle and coast). Irene,…

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March 22, 2014

Fulbito with family and friends

Goshen College students devoted one of their final Saturdays in Lima to play. Along with host family members and friends, they went to Parque Mariscal Castilla in the Lince district of Lima to play “fulbito,” a scaled down version of soccer. Fútbol, or soccer, is Peru’s national sport, but fulbito is played more frequently, especially among children and adults and regardless of their fitness level, because it can be played on a smaller field and with fewer players. A Peruvian invention, fulbito is played on a basketball or volleyball court, of artificial grass, concrete, asphalt or even dirt, called a…

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