Match Day

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Today we had our own version of Match Day, when the SSTers learned where they would be going for service and what they would be doing. The energy level was high as each opened an envelope revealing information about the next six weeks. Without further ado, here’s the lineup: Ayacucho/Quinua (mountains): Jenae, Kim, Peter, Tahnee … Keep reading »

arts alive!

The dance class with Pedro

The past few weeks Peru SSTers have sampled a variety of Peruvian art forms. From the oil paintings and wood sculptures of the Museum Pedro de Osma in Lima to the traditional dance performances at the Qosqo Center of Native Art in Cusco, we have encountered the strong artistic spirit of this country. No encounter … Keep reading »

Hospital María Auxiliadora

blowing up balloons to take to the pediatric unit

Our recent visit to Hospital María Auxiliadora was a chance to get an inside view of how health care is delivered to poor Peruvians. The range of medical facilities in Lima is broad: For those with insurance or the ability to pay, private clinics offer state-of-the-art care. Those who have paid into the national social … Keep reading »

A home where there once was none

getting a tour of the orphanage

Our service opportunity this week led us to Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, an orphanage south of Lima that is home to 73 children between the ages of 4 and 17. Casa Hogar’s website tells the story of how Joseph Walijewski, a priest from Wisconsin, was moved to start the home 25 years ago: One … Keep reading »

Machu Picchu

the day before: on the train to Aguas Calientes, the town outside Machu Picchu

Our plan was to arrive at Machu Picchu in time to see the sunrise, so we met for breakfast at 4 a.m. and were on our way to the bus stop by 4:30, armed with cameras, water bottles, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We weren’t the first in line (nor even on the first … Keep reading »

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

future tour leader

We spent several days visiting towns and archeological sites in the Urubamaba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas—a beautiful rural region north of Cusco dotted with small towns and farm fields surrounded by spectacular mountains. First up was the village of Chinchero, which boasts a colorful traditional market on Sunday mornings. … Keep reading »

Off the Gringo Trail

students from Promesa Mennonite school in San Jeronimo seranade us

Cusco is perhaps the most popular stop on Peru’s “Gringo Trail,” so we did our best to get out of the well established tourist areas and get a better sense of what life is really like in this beautiful part of the country. We headed southeast of the city for two days for two service … Keep reading »

Walking through history

at Tipon

Just outside Cusco are three particularly interesting archeological sites that we were able to explore during our recent travels. We started at Tipon, a 500-acre complex of hillside farming terraces and water channels carved in stone that the Incas took control of and developed shortly after 1400 A.D. Water from a natural spring still flows … Keep reading »

Cusco: the archeological capital of Latin America

at the airport

Our week of travel started in the Andean city of Cusco, a UNESCO world heritage site considered to be Latin America’s archeological capital. By the 15th century Cusco was at the height of its importance as capital of the vast Inca Empire, but the local history is much more than Inca history: We were able … Keep reading »

Pachacamac

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We recently visited the nearby huaca (sacred place) Pachacamac, a museum and huge archaeological site just south of Lima that dates as far back as 200 A.D. and remained in use (by various groups for various purposes, but most often as a religious center) for more than a millennium. Only when the Spanish conquistadors arrived … Keep reading »