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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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May 8, 2010


What is the best way to learn a new language?  Living in a Spanish-speaking country gives our students opportunities to learn that go far beyond the classroom.  But class time is important nonetheless when students first arrive as it offers each student a chance to study Castellano, as the local dialect is called, under the guidance of trained professionals.  This semester we are pleased to welcome three new instructors — Irene, Moises and Biviana — who come to us with specialized training teaching Spanish as a second language and many years of experience.  They are adept at developing their own…

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May 3, 2010

We boarded a bus for downtown Lima to explore the city founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535.  Celia, a lifetime resident of Peru’s capital, pointed out landmarks along the way, helping the students get a sense of the geography of the city.  Our driver, Juanito, skillfully steered our bus up the narrow road to Cerro San Cristobal, a hill overlooking the metropolitan area, so that the students could gain an appreciation of the immensity of this metropolis.  Then we descended to the colonial area downtown for a tour of San Francisco Cathedral and the Plaza de Armas with…

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May 2, 2010


We spent two days getting to know each other, our study program and our coordinators.  On day one we began with a walk from Home Peru to the directors’ home, Goshen Tambo.  When we arrived we did our first check in, giving each student a chance to share whatever happened to be on their heart at that moment.  Some were nervous about meeting host families and speaking in Spanish.  Others were surprised how similar Lima seems to the cities they know in North America.  All were excited to wake up in a new country and have an opportunity to experience…

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May 1, 2010

This evening our students greeted their host families for the first time.   Each seemed excited and a bit nervous as they waited near the entrance to our hostel.  One by one, families appeared.  Connections were made.  Handshakes, hugs and kisses were exchanged.  Photos were taken.  A hasty goodbye was said to the remaining students.  And then each one stepped out into the warm evening air with their new mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts…

April 29, 2010


Twenty-one fresh faces landed at Jorge Chavez Airport in Peru’s capital city this evening.  After making record time through immigration and customs, they boarded a bus for Home Peru, the hostel where they will spend the next two nights.  Over the next several days they will have a chance to get their bearings here in Lima.  Welcome aboard!

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