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January 24, 2011

We spent our second day in the Cono Sur visiting a biohuerto (community garden), where the SSTers helped clear a few plots and marveled at the resident gardeners’ ability to cultivate 18 types of fruits and vegetables in soil that–in its natural state–is little more than sand. The gardens are a joint venture between local residents, an NGO, the city government, and the electric company, which donated the land under electrical towers for the project. The biohuertos of Villa Maria do double duty by increasing food security for local residents, especially families with young children and the elderly, as well…

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January 23, 2011

Fútbol

After a long day of painting, SSTers took to the field for a friendly game of soccer with young futbalistas from Villa María del Triunfo, the district in the Southern Cone where Alicia lives and where she and her family hosted us for the night. We enjoyed the chance to spend some time with kids in the neighborhood, as well as the chance to get to know the place Alicia told us about earlier in the week. In her talk she told us how the neighborhood’s first houses 35 years ago were constructed of reed mats and lacked electricity and…

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January 23, 2011

As the students entered their second week in Peru, we traveled to the part of Lima known as the Cono Sur (“Southern Cone”), just a 50-minute bus ride from our class location in Miraflores but a world apart in many ways. The Cono Sur includes about a dozen districts, most of which are densely populated. Many residents of the Cono Sur are first or second generation Limeños who migrated from the countryside, and unemployment and underemployment rates in this part of the city—as in two other “cones” to the north and east—are exceptionally high. Shalom House in the Pamplona Alta area…

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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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