food and music

Camilo introduces us to the cajón

We were able to enjoy two uniquely Peruvian cultural delights this week: the cajón and cebiche. Drummer extraordinaire Camilo Ballumbrosio introduced us to the cajón during a very loud, hands-on workshop. The cajón, or Peruvian box drum, has its roots in the Afro-Peruvian community and is appreciated by music lovers worldwide (our guest percussionist has … Keep reading »

gardens, barbeque, and traditional medicine

On our way to the biohuerto

We spent our second day in the Cono Sur visiting a biohuerto (community garden), where the SSTers helped clear a few plots and marveled at the resident gardeners’ ability to cultivate 18 types of fruits and vegetables in soil that–in its natural state–is little more than sand. The gardens are a joint venture between local … Keep reading »



After a long day of painting, SSTers took to the field for a friendly game of soccer with young futbalistas from Villa María del Triunfo, the district in the Southern Cone where Alicia lives and where she and her family hosted us for the night. We enjoyed the chance to spend some time with kids … Keep reading »

Painting in Pamplona Alta

The bus ride to Cono Sur

As the students entered their second week in Peru, we traveled to the part of Lima known as the Cono Sur (“Southern Cone”), just a 50-minute bus ride from our class location in Miraflores but a world apart in many ways. The Cono Sur includes about a dozen districts, most of which are densely populated. … Keep reading »

Call in the expert witness

Jim Plunkett talks about politics in Peru

One of the highlights of the study portion of SST is the chance to hear from guest speakers who really help provide a sense of the country. Jim Plunkett, a U.S. expat who’s been living and doing business in Peru for more than 40 years, gave us an overview of Peruvian politics and economics. Father … Keep reading »

¿Habla castellano?

Good Shepherd

This semester our meeting place is the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in the Miraflores district of Lima. In a city with so much noise, we are fortunate be in a quiet place for language classes, workshops, and lectures from local experts. Our language instructors are Anita, Irene, and Moises. We are grateful for … Keep reading »

¡Mucho gusto!


On Friday afternoon the SSTers were buzzing with excited, nervous energy. They had just gotten information about their host families and were preparing to meet them at 6 p.m., when they would depart for their Lima homes. Host family members—moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles—started arriving right on time and were ready … Keep reading »

finding our way around

Study coordinator Celia starts our downtown tour

Lima was founded in 1535, and today the metro area has a population of close to 8.4 million. We spent our second day getting to know the historical center of the city, as well as getting a sense of the vastness of the surrounding areas, which have grown rapidly over the past 30 years (In … Keep reading »

The first day

Outside Home Peru, home for the first two nights in Lima

The students started their first full day in Lima with a stroll through the neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro. On the way to Goshen Tambo—the name of SST headquarters and Gary household—they visited their first Peruvian grocery store, Plaza Vea; learned where to exchange money; admired Huaca Pullanca, a pre-Incan ruin in Miraflores; and … Keep reading »

¡Bienvenido a Perú!

At the Lima Airport

After a long day of travel the SSTers landed safely at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. Coordinator Celia Vasquez and director Heather Gary met the travelers and escorted them to Home Peru, their lodging for the night. Our two-day orientation starts tomorrow morning, and we’ll meet our host families on Friday evening.