Recent Posts

March 1, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 We followed in the footsteps of nearly a dozen Goshen College groups in traveling to volunteer in the community gardens managed by Señora Gregoria Flores in Villa María del Triunfo, a sandy, southern district of Lima. But rather than go by bus, as groups generally have done, we tried out the Lima Metro, an electric train that began operations four years ago. Only one line is in operation, so few Lima residents get to experience the fast, clean travel by rail. We were in luck. The garden we were visiting…

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February 27, 2015

Though most of the time she is on the receiving end of cultural learning in Peru, Courtney wrote a journal entry about the time she called a reverse play.  New England Patriots (12-4) vs. Seattle Seahawks (12-4) in Super Bowl XLIX My host family had never seen the Super Bowl, and I was really excited to introduce them to the experience. Maria and Jo came over to watch the game with us. I bought Pizza Hut pizza for everyone: one with ham, my host mother’s favorite, and one with pepperoni. I told my mom that it was a staple food…

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February 23, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 Coming at the end of every term of study on SST, the despedida reflects the personality and dynamics of the group of students who are saying goodbye to their host families. As the mistress of ceremonies, Lea welcomed the families. The students then joined her on stage and introduced themselves through a Spanish version of the icebreaker, “Two Truths and a Lie” in which Joanna admitted that in fact she has gotten off at the wrong bus stop more than five times. The host families were charged with discerning and voting on the lie that…

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February 22, 2015

While studying in Lima during the first half of Study-Service Term, Joanna wrote this journal entry: What do people say about SST? It’s impossible to go on SST without hearing about it beforehand in a variety of methods and from a variety of people. This is my collection of memories of SSTers, past and present — what stood out to me at the time, since these stories remain in my mind today. Alia emailed me about a tiny, starving, half-dead kitten she saw on her walk to school. Months later, she still regretted not trying to save the kitten or…

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February 17, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 Knowing how brutish rush hour can be in Lima and knowing how far we had to drive to reach Caral, we left early on a Thursday morning — so early that when we entered the roundabout Ovalo Guttierez at 6:15, there were only four other cars circling with our bus. We drove away from Lima, headed north on a highway that hugs the coastline, the Pacific to our left and steeply banked sand dunes to our right, making great time. We reached one of the most celebrated archaeological sites in…

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February 6, 2015

Many Goshen students say thank you to their host families by preparing a meal or a favorite dish to share from the United States. Families are very appreciate of their efforts and may even ask a future host student if they can recreate the same dish. If they require a written recipe, however, students are often told – somewhat jokingly – that they don’t REALLY know how to cook. More often than not, good cooks in Peru cook from recipes they carry in their heads. This may be one reason why there are so many variations on traditional Peruvian dishes. Alicia Taipe Tello, who…

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January 28, 2015

On a sunny Sunday, our group spent an hour biking along Arequipa Avenue, part of the weaving stream of hundreds of walkers, runners, skaters and cyclists who have exclusive access to the roadway for a few hours every week. This was the first time that Goshen students participated in the tradition. When we first served as SST directors, in 2007, the only Arequipa we knew was one of constant honking and relentless traffic. Our second-floor apartment was right along the avenue. The noise and  vehicle exhaust was so bad that we almost always had to keep our windows closed —…

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January 27, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 A 10-minute walk from Casa Goshen, the home office of the SST program in Peru, we found Manos Amigas, a Christian organization that exports handicrafts on behalf of independent artists, advocating for fair prices and tracking shifts in consumer demand for crafts. Yannina Meza, who directs Manos Amigas, or “Hands of Friendship,” met us at the door. She told us that Manos Amigas works with dozens of artisan groups and workshops in cities across the country, including several places where students will travel for service (Ayacucho and Cusco). The artisans’…

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January 26, 2015

In anticipation of our visit to Caral, an archaeological site that represents the oldest city in the Americas, dating to about 2600 B.C., we visited a museum that uses pottery and other artifacts to tell the history of several leading cultures of Peru over more than 5,000 years. The Larco Museum, which is privately owned, focuses on Peruvian history before the arrival of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the Spaniards in the 16th century. It was founded by Rafael Larco Hoyle who named it after his father. Larco Hoyle was an influential archaeologist during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The museum…

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January 21, 2015

Our tour of downtown Lima began in an early colonial monastery, Convento de San Francisco, known for its religious art above ground and its history below ground. We admired the courtyard, the wood carvings, and the paintings, including “The Last Supper,” by Diego de la Puente, in which a cuy, or guinea pig, is shown on a serving platter. Earlier in the week, one author had told us to be on the lookout for “syncretism,” or ways in which Peruvians blended indigenous beliefs and customs with Catholic practices brought by the Spaniards. But what really got our attention were the…

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