Politics and Race, Dance and Downtown

Students arriving with members of their host families

We began our Lima study program at Catedral del Buen Pastor (Cathedral of the Good Shepherd), our venue for lectures, workshops and Spanish classes.  The host families helped each student find their way to Good Shepherd using public transportation, a small but significant feat given the complexity of Lima’s commercial bus system. Our study coordinator, … Keep reading »

Lima Families

Arrival in Lima

We returned from our 19-day adventure in the Andes and were warmly welcomed to Peru’s capital city by twenty-three eager host families.  Several of the families who live near the Lima airport met us there while the others gathered at Catedral Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd Cathedral) in Miraflores.  Our study coordinator, Celia, made the introductions … Keep reading »

Machu Picchu

Our bus climbed these switchbacks to bring us up from the valley floor

One of the seven wonders of the modern world.  UNESCO World Heritage site.  Best-preserved Inca city in South America.  Probably the most-visited tourist destination on the continent. There are many ways to describe Machu Picchu (“old peak” in quechua).  For the Inca people, this was a sacred place, somewhere people came to offer gifts to … Keep reading »

Exploration

Farewell, San Jeronimo

We said goodbye to the host families in San Jeronimo, Huacarpay and Lucre and prepared for the last leg of our adventure in the Andes — an exploration of the Sacred Valley.  We began in Pisac, touring the vast archaeological site high above the valley.  Then we hiked down, down, down to the main plaza … Keep reading »

Cusco

Arrival at Tambomachay with our guide, Oswaldo

In the early 16th century, the Inca Empire extended over all of modern-day Peru as well as parts of Colombia and Ecuador to the north, Brazil to the east and Bolivia, Chile and Argentina to the south.    Twelve million people lived in what was called Tawantinsuyo, the quechua word for “four parts together.”  Cusco was … Keep reading »

Music

Mauro describes the origin of Andean music

The music of the Andes is distinct for its use of native wind instruments — including quenas (flutes) and sikus (pan flutes).  Early versions have been found in archaeological sites dating back thousands of years.   Charangos (lutes that resemble a small guitar) and other stringed instruments are relative newcomers, part of the Spanish influence … Keep reading »

Trees

Traveling by bus to the four lakes region

How many trees can a group of SST students plant in two days?   246. We ventured up to the town of Acopia to meet our host, Luis Delgado, founder of Yachay Wasi (House of Learning).   Yachay Wasi is part of an international movement to plant a billion trees in deforested regions all over the world.  … Keep reading »

Quechua, Agriculture and Weaving

Luz Atapaucar teaches us some Quechua words

Quechua is the language of the Incas.  It is the second-most common language in Peru.  We asked one of our Spanish language instructors, Luz Atapaucar, to give us a lecture on Quechua.  Luz, a native of Cusco province, grew up speaking Quechua to her grandmother and other family members.  She explained that Quechua is spoken … Keep reading »

Learning about Peru

Arriving at school in the morning with their host mother, Maura

We began our first full week in Peru with a presentation on Peru’s economy.  The average Peruvian earns only a fifth as much as the average US resident, but incomes are increasing quickly and the poverty rate is falling.  Mining and tourism are helping to drive the country’s economic growth.  These industries are also bringing … Keep reading »

Orientation in the Andes

Welcome to the Andes!

We enjoyed two gorgeous days in the Andes, where the rains have returned and the hills are green.  We spent the first day beginning the process of acclimation, taking it easy as our bodies slowly adjust to life at 3,399 meters —  11,152 feet.  It’s not often that we head for bed as soon as … Keep reading »