Recent Posts

September 8, 2012

Orientation

Lima is a different world, a growing metropolis that straddles the narrow desert plain between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  The area receives only a centimeter (less than half an inch) of rain each year.  Rivers like the Rimac, which originate high in the glacier-laden Andes, provide water for human consumption and green spaces.  Amazingly, over 9 million people live here, a third of Peru’s population.  And, for the next 4 1/2 weeks, eighteen Goshen College students will add their presence to this dynamic city, accepting the hospitality of their host families and learning everything they can about…

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September 6, 2012

Arrival

They are here, at last! After a four-hour delay in Miami, eighteen weary but patient Goshen College students passed through the immigration and customs area at Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport and got their first glimpse of Peru’s bustling capital city.  We made the short trip to our hostel, the Miraflores House, so they could rest.  Tomorrow we’ll start exploring the city. Welcome — Bienvenidos

September 6, 2012

Preparation

This semester makes history:  For the first time, students coming to Peru to study Spanish will be joined by those studying Sign Language.  We will all be together for lectures, workshops and field trips — learning about life in this diverse and dynamic South American nation.  Then each afternoon 13 students will head off to Spanish class while the other 5 join a Peruvian Sign Language professor to practice the method of communication that is increasingly common in the local deaf community. Over the past year our team of directors and coordinators have recruited sign language instructors, interpreters and host…

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September 5, 2012

Renewal

As directors of the Peru Study Service Term, we are halfway through our two-year assignment.  The month of August provided an opportunity to renew our spirits as well as our visas. In early August we joined members of RETO International Mennonite Brethren Community Church on a mission trip to the Peruvian rain forest.  We traveled by overnight bus to Chiclayo on the northern coast, then by another overnight bus to Bagua in the Andes mountains, then finally by helicopter to the remote village of Tampe.  The national oil company,PetroPeru, offered us the services of a helicopter to help transport the…

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July 23, 2012

Departure

Several hours after returning from the retreat in Kauai, the students boarded a bus for the airport — their first leg of a long journey home.  We will miss you!

July 23, 2012

Retreat

The students gathered for several days after returning from their service locations to present their research projects, reflect on their time in the provinces, spend time in worship and prepare for their return to the United States.  Our retreat center, Kauai, lies along the coast a short distance south of Lima.  The weather was unseasonably warm and we savored the chance to be together before semester’s end. While on service, each student chose a research topic and conducted a series of interviews to learn more.  During the retreat they presented what they learned.  The titles of the presentations will give…

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July 20, 2012

Service in Tarma

Tarma, the “Pearl of Andes,” is a city 60,000 people located in a valley between Lima and the central rain forest.  Only an hour and a half from San Ramon, the city is a principal access point to the eastern flanks of the Andes Mountains.  At 3,053 meters (10,016 feet) above sea level, the climate is completely different than the rain forest – clear skies, hot sun in the day time and cold temperatures at night.  The temperature and soil is conducive to agriculture and Tarma is sometimes referred to as the City of Flowers – cut flowers are grown…

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July 20, 2012

Service in Chanchamayo

Chanchamayo is a beautiful province nestled on the wet, green side of the Amazon Mountains.  San Ramon is located here; so too is its sister city, La Merced.  The area was home to Ashaninka natives before the arrival of Europeans, called colonos (colonials) by the natives.  The majority of the immigrants came from Italy, bringing with them a taste for fine coffee and a green thumb when it comes to agriculture.  Today Chanchamayo is home to high-quality coffee that rivals nearby Villa Rica and orchards that produce a variety of tasty tropical fruits.     Hans volunteers at Chanchamayo Highland…

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July 17, 2012

Service in San Ramon

San Ramon, a city of 30,000 inhabitants, is the gateway to Peru’s Selva Central (Central Rain Forest).  Nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at 770 meters (2,526 feet) above sea level, the days are warm, the nights are cool and surrounding hills are lush with vegetation.  San Ramon has grown rapidly in recent years as people move here from the higher-elevation mountains and the lower-elevation jungles for work, for school and for the pleasant climate. Emily is volunteering at Clinica Elera (Elera Clinic), a private medical center with modern facilities and a well-trained staff.  Dr. Gustavo Elera, originally…

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July 13, 2012

Service in Oxapampa

Oxapampa is a charming city of 10,000 inhabitants situated in a broad river valley in the upper rain forest.  The town was founded by Austrian immigrants in the middle of the 19th century.  Life in central Europe was difficult at that time due to famine and war.  In 1853 a representative of the Austrian government signed an agreement with Peru to permanently relocate hundreds of migrants to the eastern flanks of the Andes.  Each settler had to (1) be a member in good standing of the Catholic Church, (2) be married and (3) have a trade. In 1857 the first…

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