Recent Posts

September 27, 2010

The art(s) of Peru

Peru has more than its fair share of beauty, from the mountains to the ocean to Peruvians themselves. Last week the SSTers paid special attention to beauty found in the arts, first with a workshop on joyeria (jewelry) presented by Mike’s host parents, Ricardo Mauriola and Eliana Carrasco. The two artisans create and sell items they make from natural materials found in the selva (jungle). After Ricardo told us about the materials they use, from seeds to rocks to natural dyes, we got to work creating our own bracelets and necklaces (with some help from the professionals). The following day…

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September 21, 2010

We’ve been busy here in Lima. In the last week we tried our hand(s) at the cajon, a wooden box-type drum that originated in Peru. Our instructor, Camilo Ballumbrosio, comes from a family of cajon players. Our other guest speakers included Father David Farrell, a Massachusetts native who’s done social justice work throughout Central and South America since the 1970s, who spoke about our time in Peru and what it means in the context of liberal education.  Father Jeff Klaiber, a specialist in the church and Latin America—and Indiana native who’s lived in Peru for 34 years—provided a great historical…

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September 12, 2010

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since our last update. The last seven days have been filled with a little bit of everything: Spanish classes, sightseeing, presentations on Peruvian politics and traditional medicine, mountain hikes, an overnight service visit to an orphanage, and chifa, the local version of Chinese food. The Peru SSTers have jumped right in, getting themselves to and from class via combi (sometimes a feat in itself!), venturing out to small local restaurants for “menú” lunches (think “today’s special”), visiting historic churches and Lima’s main square, and spending time getting to know their host…

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September 5, 2010


Our two days of orientation covered the basics of life in Lima—transportation, communication, money, health, and safety, among other topics—as well as some long walks, short bus rides, and exciting taxi rides. The students got their first look at Goshen Tambo (the directors’ home and heart of Peru SST operations, where the group will gather every Wednesday) and also the classrooms at Santa Maria Reina Church, where they’ll be attending lectures and Spanish classes. They met Celia Vasquez, our study coordinator; Willy Villavicencio, our service coordinator; and Alicia Taipe Tello, our assistant at Goshen Tambo. The group’s first lunch–a picnic…

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September 3, 2010

After a long day of travel the Peru SSTers landed safely in Lima. Director Kevin Gary and coordinator Celia Vasquez met the group of travelers at Jorge Chavez International Airport and escorted them to Home Peru, their lodging for the night. Since Lima is only one hour behind Goshen, jet lag shouldn’t be a problem. And that’s good for everyone, because tomorrow’s breakfast  is at 8, and a full day of orientation is set to follow!

August 28, 2010

Lima, Peru

Tucked between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the foothills of the Andes on the east, Peru’s capital city, Lima, has nearly 9 million residents—almost a third of the country’s entire population. On September 2, 11 more people will call it home: the Goshen College Fall 2010 Peru SST group. Program directors Kevin and Heather Gary and their children, Evie, Lucas, and Gabriel have been getting to know Lima over the past few weeks and are excited for the students’ arrival. Lima is a fascinating, bustling, and sometimes confounding city that seems to have a little of everything (at…

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July 27, 2010


We accompanied the students to the airport several hours ago and they are headed back to North America. Good bye, Southern Cross.  Hello, Summer!

July 27, 2010


We finished the semester with a retreat in Chosica, a town nestled in the foothills at the edge of Lima known for its sunny climate.  We spent time getting reacquainted and learning about each student’s research project.  Topics included: Peruvian Business:  The People and the Practices Plants and Animals of Mancos From the Market to the Table How to Kill a Chicken Culture and Fishing in Azulis There is More to Italians that Spaghetti and Lasagna (Italian Dance) Fruit of the Selva Stories and Legends of the Yanesha Community Educating Chimbote’s Future Ashenika Souvenirs:  Traditional vs. Touristy Yanesha Community Economics: …

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July 22, 2010

Service on the Coast

Three students — Ellie, David and Taylor — are serving in the city of Chimbote on Peru’s north coast.  All three are working with Los Amigos, the volunteer organization established by Father Jack and Sister Peggy to help address the causes and consequences of poverty in this port city. Ellie spends her days with children, playing with four-year-olds at the Our Lady of Perpetual Relief Parish preschool program, tutoring math with older kids at a library nearby and assisting with an after-school program that offers young people an alternative to gangs and drugs. David works with Ellie and other volunteers…

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July 17, 2010

Service in Cusco

Three students — Allen, Seth and Simon — are serving in the Cusco area.  Four days of constant rain last January caused unprecedented flooding in the river valleys near the ancient capital of the Inca empire.  Countless homes and businesses were destroyed in the villages of Lucre, Huacarpay and elsewhere. Pastors and members of the Mennonite Church in nearby San Jeronimo are hosting our students and organizing clean-up and reconstruction projects in the affected areas.  On some days the students dismantle ruined adobe walls.  On other days they build simple roofed structures out of Eucalyptus poles and corrugated roofing.  On…

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