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January 22, 2011

One of the highlights of the study portion of SST is the chance to hear from guest speakers who really help provide a sense of the country. Jim Plunkett, a U.S. expat who’s been living and doing business in Peru for more than 40 years, gave us an overview of Peruvian politics and economics. Father Jeff Klaiber, S.J., an Indiana native and history professor who’s also been living in Peru for almost four decades, talked about the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America and its influence on Latin American politics. Both did a terrific job of explaining complicated…

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January 22, 2011

¿Habla castellano?

This semester our meeting place is the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in the Miraflores district of Lima. In a city with so much noise, we are fortunate be in a quiet place for language classes, workshops, and lectures from local experts. Our language instructors are Anita, Irene, and Moises. We are grateful for their enthusiasm, warmth, and their many years of teaching experience. As one SSTer said during our first week, “Every day I go back home to my host family with something new that helps me communicate better.” The students study Castellano (as Spanish is called here…

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January 16, 2011

¡Mucho gusto!

On Friday afternoon the SSTers were buzzing with excited, nervous energy. They had just gotten information about their host families and were preparing to meet them at 6 p.m., when they would depart for their Lima homes. Host family members—moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles—started arriving right on time and were ready with hugs and smiles for their new Goshen family members—and helping hands for all their luggage!

January 16, 2011

finding our way around

Lima was founded in 1535, and today the metro area has a population of close to 8.4 million. We spent our second day getting to know the historical center of the city, as well as getting a sense of the vastness of the surrounding areas, which have grown rapidly over the past 30 years (In 1981 Lima had just 4.6 million residents, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics). We took Lima’s new public bus system, the Metropolitano, downtown to Lima Centro, where we visited the Plaza de Armas and witnessed the changing of the guard at the…

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January 15, 2011

The first day

The students started their first full day in Lima with a stroll through the neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro. On the way to Goshen Tambo—the name of SST headquarters and Gary household—they visited their first Peruvian grocery store, Plaza Vea; learned where to exchange money; admired Huaca Pullanca, a pre-Incan ruin in Miraflores; and checked out the bustling Ovalo Gutierrez. We spent the morning at Goshen Tambo getting to know each other and learning a little about what this semester has in store. The students enjoyed a morning snack of Peruvian fruit, including chiramoya, lucuma, tuna (not the fish!),…

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January 13, 2011

¡Bienvenido a Perú!

After a long day of travel the SSTers landed safely at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. Coordinator Celia Vasquez and director Heather Gary met the travelers and escorted them to Home Peru, their lodging for the night. Our two-day orientation starts tomorrow morning, and we’ll meet our host families on Friday evening.

January 11, 2011

A promising forecast

We are pleased to report that the Spring Peru SST group can put away their winter coats after they depart from O’Hare Airport. The forecast for their first day in Lima is 77 degrees and partly sunny skies. But wait, there’s more—much, much more—that they have to look forward to than just a beautiful Southern Hemisphere summer. We’ve got a busy schedule packed with language study, lectures, workshops, travel, and plenty of opportunities to get to know Peruvians and their extraordinary country. Faculty directors Kevin and Heather Gary met with our host families on Monday evening in preparation for the…

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December 1, 2010

Departure

Nine of the 11 Peru SSTers departed tonight from Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport–first to Atlanta, and then on to Chicago O’Hare (the remaining two leave tomorrow for travel in Bolivia). ¡Vaya con Dios, amigos!

November 30, 2010

last days in Peru

After six weeks of service the SSTers said goodbye to their host families and work in Cusco, Huaraz, San Ramon, La Merced, and Azulís and returned to Lima for the final exam. A few hours later we headed south on the Pan-American Highway to Kawai, a retreat center on the Pacific Ocean about an hour outside of Lima. We were blessed with warm sun during our three days at the beach and enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with each another, sharing stories about new friends and host families, service work, and other adventures. We also took some time to…

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November 24, 2010

service in cusco

Kim, Erin, and Mike have been in the Cusco region for their service. They got to know the area (and even their host families) back in September, when the whole SST group visited Machu Picchu. All three were happy to return to this beautiful part of Peru and have the opportunity to go deeper into the community and culture there. Erin and Kim live just south of Cusco, in the district of San Jerónimo, and Mike a bit further, in Huacarpay (“walker-pie”). Erin has been working at Promesa, a bilingual school run by the Mennonite Church in Peru, where she…

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