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 is the first Peruvian rector of what was once an exclusively English-speaking church in Peru. Reverend Zamudio shared his fascinating personal story about leaving the Catholic Church and eventually finding his way to the Anglican Church.
- James Plunkett, an American businessman gave us an overview of Peruvian history and current events in his own inimitable story-telling style.
- Father Edward Arens, a noted theologian and author, spoke about Jesus’ sense of humor and love for marginalized people.
- Jose Peralta, a sociology professor, talked with us about environmental justice issues involved in the globalization of food and agriculture, and the push by large international corporations for more genetically modified crops. Peru has imposed a 10-year ban on GMOs.
- Maria (last name withheld) shared her painful personal story of wrongful imprisonment. She and other university students were rounded up during a crackdown on the Shining Path rebels. This and similar actions by then-president Alberto Fujimori ended the war, but at a high human cost. Fujimori is now in prison for human rights violations.
- Dr. Townsend Cooper, a medical missionary with the Anglican Church, talked about his work in some of Lima’s poorest neighborhoods, and about Peru’s health care system.
- Father Jeff Klaiber, an author and professor at Lima’s Pontifical Catholic University, talked about what he jokingly called “two non-controversial topics”: Politics and Religion. He also outlined the history of the Catholic Church in Peru and explained Liberation Theology, “South America’s great contribution to theology.”
- Miryam Yauli, a consultant on social policy, talked about the role of non-governmental organizations in Peru, and helped students think about what they wanted to bring and what they hoped to take away from their time of service.