Recent Posts

September 7, 2011

Lectures and Language

Learning is fun — especially when it is relevant to life in contemporary Peru.  The week began with a lecture by James Plunkett on national politics and current events.  Mr. Plunkett moved to Lima in the 1960s.  He engaged us by telling the story of his life while simultaneously educating us about the presidents who have led this country for the past 45 years. After breaking for coffee, Alicia Taipe Tello told us her life story, beginning with her childhood in the Andean city of Huancayo.  Her mother was known for her knowledge of medicinal herbs and Alicia explained how…

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September 6, 2011

Historic Lima

Lima is the capital of Peru in many ways:  politically, financially, culturally.  Named “City of the Kings” by its founder, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the city is teaming with history from the colonial, republican and modern periods. During our visit we explored the main Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, a treasure trove of religious art and symbolism.  We witnessed the noon-time changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace.  We snapped photos at the fountain in the center of the plaza.  And we concluded our tour with a walk to China town and a meal of chaufa (fried…

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September 3, 2011

Two days have passed quickly — sharing, learning, sampling — singing, praying, preparing — and now it’s time for each student to enter the life of a Peruvian host family. They waited anxiously, expectantly, glancing at their papers to learn all the names and leaning into each other for encouragement.  One by one the families arrived — a father and son ahead of the traffic, an uncle and nephew on their way to the dedication of a church sanctuary, a mother and child bringing bocaditos (appetizers) for all to share, a mother coming straight from work, a family with children. …

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September 1, 2011

Arrival in Lima

They were easy to spot with their smiling faces and eager looks.   We were easy to find with our six-foot, hand-lettered sign that read “Goshen College”.  A few minutes later we left the airport and headed for Home Peru where the students will spend their first night.  We’ll devote the next two days to orientation – culture, language, safety, customs, money, food, transportation and the like.  But first, some rest.

August 29, 2011

Preparations

Our family is delighted to return to Peru to lead the Fall Study Service Term.  We directed the program for four semesters in 2009-10 and are thrilled to have an opportunity to live and work in this magnificent country.  We have lots planned:  Something old, something new.  Something borrowed, something blue (or green).  Since arriving earlier this month we have met with our Study Coordinator, Celia Vasquez, and our Service Coordinator, Jherlly Acosta Varillas.   We have reacquainted ourselves with our neighbors in San Isidro and friends at RETO Internacional Hermanos Menonitas Church in Lima.   And we have visited each host…

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August 2, 2011

Homeward bound

The summer Peru Study-Service Term concluded this morning with a pre-dawn bus ride to Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport for 13 students. The remaining three are heading on to further travel in South and Central America before returning home. For the Gary family, this is the end of Peru SST, too. We have led the last three units and have called Lima home for the past year. Tonight we’ll also be departing from Jorge Chavez International Airport. We are sad to leave, excited to be back, and grateful for the many wonderful people we have met and places we have…

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August 1, 2011

We spent our last weekend in Peru on the beach at the Union Biblica retreat center, about an hour and a half south of Lima. It was a beautiful place to reflect on the past three months and to prepare for our homecoming. We were delighted to have the group together once again after spending six weeks apart during service. The SSTers shared many stories about their experiences in the selva, sierra, and costa (jungle, mountains, and coast). We heard lots of laughter during our time together and sensed the deep affection and appreciation the students developed for for this…

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August 1, 2011

Final projects

Our retreat included presentations from each student on their final project. We heard about a wide range of topics related to Peru: Translational problems and patient care in the medical mission setting Disability services in Chimbote Single mothers and their children in Chimbote Multilingual education in Peru The effects of poverty on education in Peru Food and diet habits in Ayacucho Native medicinal plants of Chanchomayo Gastrointestinal infections in rural Peru The effects of poverty on children’s health care in Peru Inclusive and special education in Tarma Coffee, fair trade, and free trade Young mothers in Tarma Reasons for abortion…

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July 12, 2011

Service in Ayacucho

Ayacucho is one of Peru’s most historically significant places. During the 6th century A.D., when the Wari civilization ruled much of Peru, its capital was located just outside of what is now Ayacucho. Twelve hundred years later, in 1824, Peru’s struggle for independence from Spain ended in victory with the Battle of Ayacucho. And it was here in the late 1970s that the revolutionary Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) movement started, with the goal of destroying the existing society to build a new communist state. The battle that ensued between Shining Path and Peruvian government forces resulted in an estimated 69,000…

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July 11, 2011

Service in Tarma

Tucked in the mountains and surrounded by fields of flowers, Tarma is known as the “Pearl of the Andes.” That moniker may be a little grandiose for this unassuming town of about 52,000 residents, but it certainly communicates the warmth and welcoming nature of this central highlands town. Three SSTers, Kayla, Caleb, and Mara, are working at the Fe y Alegría school (Faith and Hope) in Tarma, which is part of a network of more than 2,000 Catholic schools in South America that provides quality education for low-income students. The school, which is high on a mountain overlooking the town,…

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