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Lost Empires of Perú

May 2004

May term provides opportunities for Goshen College professors to offer concentrated studies in particular subjects - or cultures - of interest, often up close. Dean Rhodes, assistant professor of Spanish, first lived in Perú in the 1970s while serving a term with Mennonite Central Committee.

Rhodes led Goshen College students during May in a class titled Lost Empires of Perú. Over the course of three weeks, 25 students lived with host families in Lima, explored the jungle of the Amazon basin, wandered the ancient streets of Cusco and trekked 26 miles to see the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Along the way, students encountered Peruvians representing the impressive diversity of this South American country: wealthy limeños (persons from Lima), children living in poverty, educated guides and Quechua porters. Every interaction taught the group to be flexible, aware of their surroundings and appreciate the sharp contrasts of Perú.

City of Lima
Pamplona and Villa Salvador
Amazon adventure
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Student reflection: A sip of Incan culture

Rebecca Allen, an April 2004 graduate in history from Seattle, WA., reflects on her experience over May term in Peru.

Part 1 - Lima and Pamplona

Inka Cola: Perú's national soft drink is yellow in color and echoes the flavor of cream soda or bubble gum. According to Rhodes, Peruvians loyally consume so much Inka Cola that they shun other soft drinks, like the international marketed Coca-Cola. Peruvians will tell you that Coca-Cola even attempted to advertise that its corporate colors match that of the red-and-white Peruvian flag, but Inka Cola is still the national favorite. more..

Part 2 - Amazon experience

Wild tomato juice: One of several fruit juices we sampled while traveling through the jungle, many in our group didn't care for the wild tomato flavor. Other varieties included passion fruit, green orange and papaya. Each beverage reflected the lush and verdant produce of the rainforest and complimented the fine meals we ate. more..

Part 3 - Inca Trail

Inca health tea: This tea, brewed from the coca plant, combats altitude sickness and gastrointestinal ailments, and acts as a harmless, caffeine-free stimulant. Our Western hotel in Cusco (altitude 11,100 feet) provided this complimentary tea in the lobby around the clock. On the Inca Trail, our guides served the tea with every meal because of its medicinal purposes that helped us acclimate to the high elevation. The indigenous people of the mountains drink this tea with the regularity that many Americans drink coffee. more..