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Peru SST


What do people living on the margins south of Lima need more than anything else?   There are many answers to this question, but the one that first came to mind for Corpusa is something basic and essential:  water. Chavin de Huantar is a young neighborhood an hour's ride from the city in a place called Villa El Salvador.  Corpusa and her husband were part of the "invasion"that took place here 10 years ago.  With hundreds of other homeless families, they showed up one day with construction materials in hand and divided the land into sixty-square-meter lots -- each about 20 feet wide and 33 feet long.  Desperate for a place to live, they assigned the lots by lottery and began erecting homes in earnest without either title to the land or permission to build.

Arts of the Informal Economy

We have developed a series of workshops this semester focused on how artists and artisans -- dancers, musicians, cooks and others with particular talents -- support themselves. We began with a workshop on dance by a long-time friend of the program, Pedro Farias.  Before demonstrating dances from the Andes, jungle and coastal regions of Peru, Pedro described what it was like to grow up in a musical family here in Lima.  He started performing at the age of four, traveling often with his parents and siblings to festivals in his family's hometown of Piura.

Green Hills, Healthy Children

We traveled an hour south of Lima and found ourselves in another world.  Before our adventure we asked the students two questions:  (1)  Are you ready for a hike? and  (2)  Have you ever spent the night in an orphanage? The consensus?  "Yes" to the first question.  "No" to the second. Quebrada Verde (Green Ravine) is a rare find just 20 miles south of the bustling metropolis.  Residents of this hidden hamlet have worked with a local nonprofit group to protect the natural area known locally as Lomas de Lucumo (Lucumo Hills).  We hit the trail eager to soak in the tranquil beauty and challenge our legs to some uphill action.  We were not disappointed. 


There is so much to learn when you first arrive. We settled into the living room at Goshen Tambo on our first morning of orientation and asked each student to check in. One described the excitement of being in a new country, like a child full of wonder at what he sees and hears around him. Then we worshiped together, giving each student a chance to reflect quietly on their experience before singing our version of "You've Got a Place (at the Welcome Table)". Summer has finally arrived here in Lima so our first lunch was a picnic in a park that overlooks the Pacific. The students opened their lunch bags to discover their first quadruple, a sandwich stacked with 4 slices of bread and different ingredients between each slice. Feeling an overwhelming urge to see the water up close, most of the group descended the hundreds of stairs down to the ocean itself.