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July 27, 2010

Retreat

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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July 16, 2010

Service in the Sierra

Five students are serving in the foothills of the Cordillera Blanca, or White Mountains, home to the tallest peaks in Peru. Aaron spends each day helping children at the Bread of Life dining room in Huaraz finish their lunches and clear their tables.  Then he gathers an eager group of kids together to teach them basic words and common phrases in English. Ingrid and Jake are placed at AWI, an acronym for the Good News Association.  Jake is updating the operating systems and software applications for the staff’s computers.  Ingrid assists with a variety of art projects, such as drawing…

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July 3, 2010

This is peak season for travel to the rain forest — relatively dry and sunny with luscious green everywhere to be seen.  Nearly half of our group is serving in the selva this semester, working on assignments both new and old. INABIF is a day center for children whose parents are too occupied, and often too poor, to feed them lunch and give them the attention they need to succeed at school.  Katelyn and Eliza are spending each weekday with primary school aged children, assisting them with their homework assignments and serving as a positive role model.  San Manuelito Special…

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June 15, 2010

Last Days in Lima

The students finished their six-week stay in Lima with a visit to artist Victor Delfin’s studio in Barranco.  Then we prepared for the culminating event of the first half of Peru SST — the Despedida — a farewell party / talent show to thank our host families, language instructors and coordinators for all the time, energy and love they have shared with us these past weeks.

June 14, 2010

This semester we organized three workshops:  Traditional Dancing, Cajon Drumming and Jewelry Making.  We invited Peruvian artists — Pedro Farias, Camilo Ballumbrosio and Ricardo and Eliana Mauriola Carrasco –  to introduce their topics in a series of two-hour sessions for our entire group.  Then we gave each student a chance to choose one topic and go into more depth as we prepared for the Despedida, or farewell party, at the end of their time here in Lima. 

May 29, 2010

We began our week-long trip to the epic Inca city with a visit to Sacsayhuaman, home to a collection of huge stones fitted together with incredible precision more than five centuries ago.  Then we embarked on a three-day service project in nearby Huacarpay, working with families whose homes were flooded during four days of unprecedented rainfall in January. 

May 16, 2010

We began the week with a lecture on race and ethnicity, then enjoyed workshops on contemporary praise songs and dances from the rain forest, highlands and coast.  We headed south several days later, traveling to the Lurin Valley to spend a day and a night at an orphanage.  We painted the dining room ceiling and the outside play area using brushes and paint provided by a North American donor.  Then we spent time playing with children of all ages before heading off to bed.  The next morning we met with the administrator to learn more about the orphanage.  To our…

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May 12, 2010

Open Minds, Busy Hands

We began our first full week of program activities with lectures on modern political events and the reality of life in the new settlements that surround Lima.  We participated in a workshop on medicinal herbs, a time of reflection and worship at Goshen Tambo and language classes in the afternoons.  Then we headed south for a two-day visit to the southern cone.  The trip included a tour of a church and school founded by Dario Lopez — theologian, pastor and author — who returned to Villa Maria after studying in the U.K. and teaching in the U.S. to help bring…

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