After six weeks of service the SSTers said goodbye to their host families and work in Cusco, Huaraz, San Ramon, La Merced, and Azulís and returned to Lima for the final exam. A few hours later we headed south on the Pan-American Highway to Kawai, a retreat center on the Pacific Ocean about an hour outside of Lima.
We were blessed with warm sun during our three days at the beach and enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with each another, sharing stories about new friends and host families, service work, and other adventures. We also took some time to consider the fast-approaching return to the United States—both the excitement of homecoming, and the phenomenon of reverse culture shock.
We also spent a day hearing about the SSTers final projects, which covered a wide range of issues:
- The effects of the 1970 Ancash earthquake
- Exploring the myth of El Dorado
- Motherhood in a machista culture
- Past and present inhabitants of Huacarpay
- Quechua: The history, development, and etymology of an Andean language
- Causes of poverty in Huaraz and the effect of comedors
- Reforestation in Peru
- Organic crop and food production
- Health in the Yanesha community of Azulis
- Music education in Peru
- Yanesha: An illiterate’s guide
We returned to Lima to spend a few last hours in the city before leaving for the airport.