Recent Posts

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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November 20, 2010

Service in Azulis

It’s a rustic six weeks of service for SSTers Nate and Serena, who are living about as far off the grid (no phone, no Internet, no electricity, no road access) as they can in Azulis, a community of about 30 Yanesha families in the department of Pasco. Azulis is about a 2-hour drive from Villa Rica, the nearest town, and then another 50 minutes of walking through the jungle. Nate and Serena packed in their mosquito nets, knee-high rubber boots, and can-do attitude for their stay in this rainforest community. Serena has been working with the Instituto Etnobotanico Yanesha, where…

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November 9, 2010

Service in Chanchamayo

The road from Lima to La Merced is winding and steep and long, and during the 189-mile journey, travelers get a view of Peru’s three regions: the arid coast, the imposing mountains, and the lush, green jungle. La Merced (pop. approx. 50,000) is the provincial capital of the Chanchamayo region, which is blessed with warm weather, waterfalls, and superb coffee and fruit production (think bananas, pineapple, citrus fruits, and avocados). Two of our SSTers, Sara and Caleb, are experiencing that agricultural sector firsthand for six weeks. Sara is at Chanchamayo Highland Coffee, an organization that works with local farmers to…

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November 9, 2010

Service in Huaraz

Our travel schedule has kept us from posting lately, so apologies for the delayed update. Kevin, Heather, and sus hijos visited Huaraz at the end of October to check in with Lauren, Derek, and Paul, who are doing service in this mountain community. Huaraz (pop. 120,000) is about 260 miles from Lima and is the capital of the state of Ancash. The city itself is more than 10,000 feet above sea level, and the surrounding mountains rise far higher, making for spectacular scenery. (Peru’s highest peak, the nearby Huascarán, is over 22,000 feet—nearly 2,000 feet above North America’s highest, Alaska’s…

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October 19, 2010

Despedida

The SSTers’ farewell to Lima was, as several commented, “sappy”—a mix of sad and happy. Sad to say goodbye to our gracious host families here, our Goshen friends, an exciting city, and the first half of our semester in Peru–but happy to go explore new places, meet new people, and find out what the “service” part of the term has in store. We celebrated our host families, language instructors, and several others at our going-away party, the despedida. Each student demonstrated exceptional skill at public speaking in Spanish with a short tribute to his or her host family, and the…

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October 19, 2010

Our visit to the district of Villa Maria del Triunfo in southern Lima showed us what a pueblo jóven looks like as it grows up. The area, which was founded almost 50 years ago, is now home to approximately 360,000 people, many of whom struggle with underemployment and poverty. Our first stop was Jesus Mi Buen Pastor, a preschool with about 60 students. The SSTers got a preschool-style workout as they granted repeated requests for “airplane” rides and other high intensity playground activities. Our hosts for the night were our friend Alicia and her family, who directed us right away…

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October 13, 2010

Villa el salvador

Just 50 years ago, Lima’s population was close to 1 million. Today the greater metro area is approximately 8.5 million, or nearly one in three Peruvians. The stories behind that spectacular growth are sometimes tragic: earthquakes and floods that decimated communities drove people into Lima, as did the terrorism perpetrated by the Shining Path and other radical groups in smaller cities and villages in the 1980s and ‘90s. But many migration stories are hopeful: People move from the countryside to Lima in pursuit of education, employment, and a better life. Unfortunately, that pursuit is typically difficult and dangerous. One of…

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