Recent Posts

April 4, 2014

Our 15 Goshen College students returned safety to Lima Thursday morning from Chancay, Ayacucho, Tarma, San Ramon, La Merced and San Miguel. They were a sight for sore eyes and we (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) were thrilled to see them! And as pleased as they may have been to see us, they were ecstatic to see each other. It had been almost six long weeks since they were together. Our spring group of students bonded unusually well from the moment they arrived in Peru, on Jan. 8. Aimee, April, Caleb, Dean, Derek, Gina, Gretchen, Jackson,…

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March 31, 2014

Goshen College students enrolled in the Peru SST program struggle to adjust to new (host) families, the Spanish language, a new country and a very different culture. Service can be an even bigger adjustment because students leave the comfort of modern Lima and head out to the country, often with just one or two other students and away from the security of a group of Goshen students who have become close and supportive friends. Dean and Derek faced those same adjustments, but moved even further out of their comfort zones by accepting a remote service assignment in a tiny settlement and…

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March 31, 2014

Neal and Jackson are living just outside the town of La Merced in the Junín province of Peru. La Merced, which has about 50,000 residents, is the provincial capital of the Chanchamayo region and is blessed with warm weather, abundant rainfall, lush vegetation, waterfalls and excellent agricultural production. On the eight-hour bus ride from Lima, one passes through Peru’s three distinct regions – coast, mountains and jungle. La Merced is considered part of the central rain forest and is located on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains, about 2,000 feet above sea level. Neal and Jackson are serving in…

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March 30, 2014

Maria and Caleb are working in San Ramón in the province of Chanchamayo – the entry point to the selva central, Peru’s central rain forest. In spite of busy work schedules, the students have found time to enjoy their host families as well as the flora, fauna and warm temperatures of San Ramón, which is located along the Carretera Central (the central highway) that links Lima in the west to the rain forest in the east. San Ramón, which has about 30,000 residents, is located in the departamento (state) of Junín, on the eastern foothills of the Andes mountain range….

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March 30, 2014

Gina and Natalie are volunteering in Tarma, a delightful city of about 60,000 residents located in a fertile valley about 3,053 meters, or 10,016 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. Tarma was founded in 1538 in the departamento (state) of Junín, between the central coast and the central Amazon rain forest. Because of its spring-like weather and natural beauty, the city was nicknamed the “Pearl of the Andes” by Antonio Raimondi, an Italian-born scientist and university professor, who traveled widely through Peru from 1850 to 1875 studying the nation’s geography, geology, botany, zoology, ethnography, and archaeology. Tarma…

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March 29, 2014

This semester, five students in the Peru SST program are providing service in Ayacucho, a city of about 151,000 in the south-central Andes of the country. Ayacucho is famous for its 33 Catholic churches, which are said to represent one for each year of Jesus’ life. Because of its substantial Catholic population, Ayacucho has large religious celebrations, most importantly during Semana Santa (Holy Week of Easter). No public celebration in the city can compare to Semana Santa, which draws tens of thousands of visitors from throughout the world. Still, Ayacucho’s Carnaval (Carnival) celebration also has many fans, including Goshen’s students. This year,…

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March 29, 2014

The five students in Ayacucho are doing well and have some great experiences to report. We (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) visited them on a couple of sunny days, interspersed with refreshing nighttime rain – typical weather for this time of year in the Andes. Ayacucho occupies a scenic valley about 2,761 meters, or 9,058 feet, above sea level in the Andes mountain range. The city of 151,000 people is known for its colonial architecture, many Catholic churches and religious observances. In their free time, the Goshen students were enjoying the celebrations of Carnaval, sort of…

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March 28, 2014

Malaina and April are spending the service portion of their Study-Service Term in the coastal town of Chancay, a couple of hours north of Lima. Chancay is a port and verdant agricultural area along the Peruvian coastal desert. The town of 54,000 people boasts a castle, a bustling central plaza, a viewpoint and even a famous ghost who rings the bell of an old church, according to local lore. During a service visit, SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver were warmly welcomed by the municipality’s director of educational programs, Rosa Huarca Equizabal. She described the municipality’s ambitious programs…

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March 27, 2014

Less than two weeks after Goshen College students departed for their service assignments, we received the heartbreaking news that Father Jeffrey L. Klaiber, a gifted historian and a great friend of the Peru Study-Service Term program, abruptly died (March 4) due to complications from heart surgery. He was 71, but had the energy, wit and intellectual curiosity of a much younger person. A Jesuit priest, Jeff lived in Peru for 38 years and was the country’s leading expert on the Catholic Church and the intersection of faith and politics. He also was an authority on Liberation Theology, the Jesuit presence…

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March 27, 2014

Farewell to Lima

The morning after the despedida, or farewell celebration, Goshen College students gathered at Casa Goshen for their final service orientation. Students participated in an exercise designed to show them what it might feel like to be poor and disadvantaged – like many people they would encounter on service. We reviewed cultural mores, health advice, academic (and behavioral) expectations and what to do in case of emergency. The students also got their service reading assignments and reminders about logistical matters. And we ended our session with reflections and prayer. For lunch, students enjoyed pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian dish of smoked chicken,…

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