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 to engage the area’s youth, including a large youth symphony, sports, and music, art and theater classes. The city also offers mental health services and a center for women. Before we (Richard and Judy) knew what was happening, we were being interviewed by reporters for the local TV station and then ushered in to meet Mayor Juan Alvarez Andrade. Later, Malaina and April also were interviewed, and their TV segment was the one aired locally. You can see the interview at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnPaqq_0WWs&feature=youtu.be
Rosa supervises Malaina and April in their service assignments. April works in the small municipal library, where she puts the shelves in order, helps visitors find books or figure out the computers and takes over the desk to check in visitors whenever the librarian can’t be there. The library visitors are welcomed by April’s smiling face, friendly greetings and helpful attitude.
April enjoys the practices of the youth symphony, which take place in the library. In fact, all the municipal workers are accustomed to music practice throughout the building. The young musicians are permitted to practice in whatever offices are available until the city completes construction of a music building.
Malaina works in the municipal museum, which is dedicated to the ancient Chancay culture. She translates materials to English, assists with visitors and has even visited schools to invite students to the museum. The museum appreciates Malaina’s marketing knowledge and willingness to pitch in whenever her help is needed.
Rosa treated us all to a delicious lunch of ceviche, one of Peru’s national dishes. Afterward, we visited April and Malaina’s host families. April is living in the home of Juan and Hortencia Dulanto Paniagua. They have three grown children who return home on weekends. The Dulantos are Christians who are committed to evangelizing in their town and bringing new believers to their young church. April has jumped right into the life of this warm and loving family, including attending worship meetings.
Malaina’s host family also is involved in the same church. Malaina lives with Eduardo Duran and Kelly Hipolita Delgado. They have four children, two of whom are close in age to Malaina and two who are teen-agers. They have not hosted a Goshen student before and have really enjoyed getting to know Maliana.
On weekends, April and Malaina have spent time with their families and church activities as well as exploring Chancay. They say they have had wonderful service experiences.
– Written by Judy Weaver