Recent Posts

November 6, 2013

The day to visit Machu Picchu finally arrived, and it dawned sunny and beautiful. We arose early, ate a quick breakfast, rubbed on sunscreen, filled our daypacks with water bottles and snacks and headed for the bus that takes tourists up a road of hairpin curves to the world famous site. Even the bus ride up is breathtaking, with steep, green mountains rising on all sides. When we arrived and stood looking out over the famous ruins, we understood why Incan royalty chose to build a city and spend time there. Our guide, Oswaldo Palomino Alvarado, explained what we were…

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November 2, 2013

The Peru SST group spent three sunny days exploring Cusco and Peru’s Sacred Valley with the help of our guides, Abrahan Quispe Corrales for Cusco and Oswaldo Palomino Alvarado for the rest of our trip. Cusco was the heart of the Inca empire when the Spaniards arrived in 1526; in fact the Incas referred to it as the “navel of the world.” At that time, the Inca realm extended thousands of miles, encompassing parts of modern-day Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Inca leaders ruled over an estimated 10 million inhabitants, from 1438 to 1533. After the conquest, the…

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November 1, 2013

Goshen College students began their week in Cuzco with study, music, dancing and quiet time with new host families. It was a great start to what proved to be a rich week filled with hiking, learning, exploration, new experiences and awesome beauty. After an uneventful flight from Lima to Goshen, students relaxed in Sol de Oro, a beautiful hotel perched on a hillside just outside Cuzco. Some students suffered from fatigue or headaches from altitude sickness; the elevation in Cuzco is 11,200 feet. The symptoms eased after a light supper, herb tea and a good night of rest. The next…

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October 30, 2013

Goshen College students recently visited three fields for service, play and friendship. They gained new insights into life in Peru as they prepared a field for planting, played with school children and participated in a cultural interchange with Peruvian college students. They began their visits in Villa María del Triunfo, a southern district of Lima founded 52 years ago by migrants who “invaded” the area and built homes on the coastal sands. Villa María now is home to more than 360,000 people, many of whom struggle with underemployment, poverty and malnutrition. It has been estimated that one-third of residents lack…

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October 28, 2013

While Goshen students are in Lima, their studies on language and culture include Spanish classes and a series of lectures. This semester, students welcomed 15 lecturers on a wide variety of topics about Peru. Most of our lecturers were Peruvians, with a few Americans who have lived in Peru from two to 50 years. Our lecturers greatly contributed to our understanding about the history, culture and issues of Peru. Since we rent classroom space from la Catedral del Buen Pastor, an Anglican church, we kicked off the program with a welcome from our host, Reverend Jorge Zamudio Bustamonte. Reverend Zamudio…

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October 26, 2013

Although some of the tastiest coffee in the world grows in Peru, we have been interested to learn that that Peruvians are not big coffee-drinkers. Breakfast is more likely to include a warm emoliente (a sweetened barley-based herb drink).  For visiting and break-times, Peruvians appreciate a cup of herb tea. We asked Alicia Taipe Tello, who cooks for the Peru SST group several days a week, to show us some of the more common Andean herbs and tell us about their uses. Alicia grew up in the Andes and learned to use herbs as a child, when she helped to…

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October 25, 2013

What would happen if you combined the accuracy and reliability of the National Public Radio network with the immediacy and reach of CNN, added the variety of a satellite radio network, and transplanted the resulting media company to Lima, Peru? You might well get Grupo Radio Programas del Peru (RPP), a radio and television broadcasting company formed in 1963 by Manuel Delgado Parker. Operating from a skyscraper in the San Isidro district of Lima, RPP has more radio coverage – its stations reach 97 percent of the country – than any radio network in Peru. Its RPP TV news channel…

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October 23, 2013

Visiting a master

Why would an octogenarian continue to work 10- or 12-hour days when he has earned a comfortable retirement as a successful, internationally-acclaimed artist? “For me it isn’t work,” explained Peruvian artist Victor Delfin, when we visited his studio and home in the artistic seaside district of Barranco. There, his joy in creating art was evident. His home was filled with sculptures and paintings. In his back yard, we could examine and touch huge metal horses and lions. A sitting room held a great, metal firebox with elaborate designs and chairs of wood and leather made by Delfin. Even the bathroom…

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October 15, 2013

Until the 1990s, scholars pointed to Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and India as areas that first gave rise to civilization – locations where ancient peoples organized societies with class systems, built enduring cities with public sites, cultivated food for large populations, domesticated animals, developed recording systems and appreciated the arts and sciences. In 2001, the Sacred City of Caral-Supe in Peru was added to that elite list when radiocarbon dating confirmed that urban life, complex agriculture and monumental architecture flourished there 5,000 years ago – long before the rise of civilizations in India and Asia and 2,000 years earlier than anywhere…

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October 13, 2013

Learning during the Study-Service Term takes many forms, from living with host families and going on field trips to soaking in hours of lectures and participating in-depth language learning. Nothing, however, quite compares with hands-on workshops. Students recently enjoyed two stimulating cultural experiences: learning how to play a new musical instrument and make two Peruvian gastronomic treasures. Camilo Ballumbrosio, an extraordinary Afro-Peruvian percussionist known throughout Peru, introduced students to the cajón, a wooden six-sided, box-shaped instrument developed in Peru and played by slapping the front or rear faces (generally thin plywood) with the hands or fingers. He also demonstrated Afro-Peruvian tap…

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