Recent Posts

March 1, 2014

During their journey to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Goshen College students viewed soaring mountain peaks, lush valleys, magnificent rock formations and surging rivers. They learned about the Spanish conquest of the Inca, the importance of arts and culture and contemporary issues facing Peru. One typically busy day, they experienced fascinating aspects of life in the Andes through a tour of Inca ruins, a meal of cuy (guinea pig) and participation in a ceremony led by a shaman with ancestral ties to indigenous spirituality. Our first stop of the day was Tipón, a 500-acre complex of hillside terraces,…

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February 27, 2014

After reading about the Incas and the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru in 1526, the Goshen students had the exciting opportunity to travel to the Inca’s ancient capital of Q’osqo (the navel of the world), or Cusco, as it is known today. Cusco is situated in the Andes at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. We spent the first afternoon and evening resting and adjusting to the altitude. After a good night’s rest, we had three presentations. Amadeo Valer Farfán, an archaeology professor and professional guide, told us about the origins of Peru and Inca legends and cosmology. Agronomy…

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February 26, 2014

The Peru SST unit jumped, wiggled, twisted and sweated their way through a spirited workshop on traditional dances of Peru. Their instructors were Pedro Farias and his partner, Lisette Alcántara, enthusiastic and talented dancers who have performed with many professional groups. Using videos, music and patient step-by-step instruction, Pedro introduced students to dances from several regions of Peru. Pedro provided the historical background and context about each, including the meaning behind the dancers, the costumes worn and the major physical movements required. Pedro and Lisette demonstrated each dance’s moves, with all manner of vigorous jumps and rapid body contortions. The…

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February 25, 2014

Goshen College students spent a day exploring the Sacred City of Caral-Supe, which is considered one of the earliest civilizations of the world and the oldest in the Americas. In 2001, radiocarbon dating confirmed that urban life, complex agriculture and monumental architecture flourished in Caral 5,000 years ago –  2,000 years earlier than anywhere in Mesoamerica or Europe. That puts Caral on par with Mesopotamia, Egypt and China as areas that first gave rise to civilization. Caral has gained growing international recognition – including being named a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)…

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February 25, 2014

Students continued their journey through Peru’s past with a visit to Huaca Pucllana, an administrative and religious center of the ancient Lima Culture, which dominated coastal Peru from 200 to 700 A.D. The site, located in the city’s Miraflores district, includes a large reconstructed pyramid of clay and adobe bricks, and surrounding structures as well as figures representing those who worked and worshipped here. A small museum includes ceramics and textiles and explanations of the significance and contributions of the Lima culture. Goshen College students toured the site, which is three blocks from the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd…

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January 27, 2014

Our visit to the squatter community in the Puente Piedra district on Jan. 17 was quite an eye-opening experience. (Neal) Although we went to that community to help those people through work, I feel like I got more out of the experience than they did. (Caleb) After the two-hour bus ride of weaving in and out of traffic, we arrived at our destination: a small shanty town right on the edge of the mountains. (Natalie) It is definitely one of the poorest areas in Lima, and the poorest area I’ve ever been in by far. (Gina) Last weekend our group…

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January 24, 2014

Seven of 15 students will have birthdays while in Peru during the Study-Service Term for Spring 2014.  Since we will be taking a field trip Friday, we celebrated the first of those birthdays a day early. We sang “Happy Birthday” to Malaina in both English and Spanish. She blew out a candle and then followed Peruvian tradition by cutting the cake – in this case, a cheesecake topped with deep-purple sauco (elderberry), a Peruvian speciality. It was delicious. Malaina said she appreciated the pre-birthday cheer and well wishes. Students in this SST unit truly enjoy opportunities for celebrations and savor…

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January 20, 2014

Goshen College students participated in a truly interactive workshop last week by trying out a versatile musical instrument and a unique form of dance while also learning about the history and culture of Afro-Peruvians. Their teacher was Camilo Ballumbrosio, a phenomenal Afro-Peruvian percussionist known throughout Peru and among world music fans in the Europe and the United States. Ballumbrosio’s ancestors were brought to Peru as slaves from Africa to work on cotton and sugar plantations on the Peruvian coast. His family is from El Carmen in the coastal Chincha Province and his father, Amador, was a well-known zapateo (tap) dancer…

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January 14, 2014

Goshen College students got a crash course in the history of Lima on Friday by touring the historic downtown district, better known as “El Centro de Lima.” The students got a top to bottom tour of the City of Kings – so named by its founder, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro – by touring the highest point downtown as well as underground catacombs that house the remains of thousands of Limeños. They also toured a riverfront park, watched the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace, had lunch at a downtown landmark, visited a monastery and a cathedral and…

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January 12, 2014

Day One in Peru: Orientation

When the Goshen College students arrived in Lima and emerged from the airport about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, they were greeted with exceedingly rare summertime raindrops. It almost never rains in Lima, where the average yearly rainfall is less than 2 inches (and what moisture accumulates comes mostly from fog). Friday afternoon, we had a few more sprinkles and we even saw a rainbow as the host families were picking up the students – another rare sight in Lima. We’ll take those as signs our students will have a very special time in Peru! On their first full day in Peru,…

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