Recent Posts

June 22, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015   More than 500 years ago, Ollantaytambo served as an important rest stop and administrative and religious center for the Incas. For our group, it proved to be a perfect place to stop after visiting the Incan sites at Chinchero and Moray and before spending a day at Machu Picchu. It’s an enviable rest stop (and a 90-minute train ride from the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, or Aguas Calientes, from which you can climb or take a bus to Machu Picchu). The weather is warmer here than in most…

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June 21, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015   Early on Monday morning, students said good-bye to their host families near Cusco and we made our way into the Sacred Valley by bus, accompanied by a new guide, Rubén. Our first stop included an opportunity to upgrade our wardrobes or, in many cases, the wardrobes of those we love. Chinchero is a textile capital at 3,800 meters, or 12,467 feet, above sea level. It is home to many textile workshops that provide a living to local families. A young woman welcomed us to a small weavers shop, where she…

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June 17, 2015

Michael shares a journal entry: I knew. I knew from the time I began watching TV, the first time I watched the weather, that I was going to be a meteorologist. My fascination with weather began with snow. If it snowed, there might be no school. The day before a storm I would watch the weather reports on TV at 5, 6 and 9. My interest in snow quickly turned into a general fascination with weather. That goal began to fade two and a half years into my meteorology studies at the University of Kansas, and I needed a change….

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June 17, 2015

Trout for Breakfast

Zach shares a journal entry: My 36 hours in Lucre is a time I will never forget. During our first night there, I was a little nervous. When James and I asked our host mom questions, she responded with very short answers. It was not until we showed interest in the family trout farm that her eyes really lit up. Our host mom, Margarita, began talking about all the work that went into the creation of the fish farm. Shen then asked us if we wanted to see the farm in the morning. We immediately said “yes.” After playing  games…

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June 16, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 For our students in Lucre and Huacarpay, Sunday morning began  the traditional way, at daybreak. There were hikes up the mountain, walks to see family cornfields, demonstrations in how to catch and prepare trout for breakfast. Students joined their host families in attending the small Mennonite churches in Lucre and Huacarpay, where Quechua blends with Spanish and the music is enhanced by lively praise bands. The first Mennonite church in Peru, La Iglesia Evangelica Menonita de Lucre (Lucre Mennonite Evangelical Church), was founded in this small mountain town of a few thousand…

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June 14, 2015

Sunday Morning in Lucre

Abbie shares a journal entry: Cock-a-doodle-doo! No, that was not a tacky alarm sounding but an authentic rooster waking me up. I checked my watch and realized it was 3 in the morning. A few short hours later, Kourtney and I left our warm beds with layer upon layer of alpaca blankets to see what the morning in Lucre had in store for us. The evening before, as we sat around our family’s dinner table drinking mate de coca and watching kittens play on the dirt floor, our host dad, Olmer, asked if we wanted to pick choclo, or corn,…

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June 12, 2015

Long Flight to Cusco

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 We were scheduled to fly from Lima, the capital of Peru, to Cusco, the Andean capital known as “the navel of the world,” on a Friday afternoon. We had tickets to attend a folkloric dance show in Cusco that evening, as we planned to gently ease into nightlife at an altitude of 11,200 feet. Our scripted plans began to unravel quickly at the Jorge Chavez International Airport. First, our airline, Peruvian, whose motto is “Puntualidad y Servicio,” or punctuality and service, informed us that they could seat only half of…

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June 10, 2015

What’s in a Name?

Irene shares a journal entry:   When the pronunciation of your name changes, you think of it a lot more. Irene. Peace in Greek. I guess I like my name. Maybe just out of obligation.   Let me explain. The first form. Some might call it my given name, my “English name” Irene.  A name mostly given to babies born in the 1930s. It rhymes with “green” or “bean,” common nicknames of my childhood. It’s short and sweet, to the point. It demands your mouth to make that annoying eee sound, like the sound you make when imitating a broken…

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May 29, 2015

Peruvian Portraits

Anna’s journal is filled with the expected (written notes from lectures and field trips) but also the unexpected (sketches of many of our guest speakers).  She captured Dr. Roberto Tarazona, a director of the Peruvian affiliate of Caritas, the Catholic relief, development and social services agency. During his presentation Dr. Tarazona said that about 30 percent of Peruvians live in poverty or extreme poverty. “Poverty in Peru wears a campesino face,” he said. Another sketch is of Maria Doraliza Chavez, the president of a neighborhood garden in San Juan de Miraflores. She is working the tutelage of Señora Gregoria Flores,…

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May 28, 2015

Dancing the Marinera

Morgan shares a journal entry: It was Saturday evening. My mom had just arrived home an hour before and was relaxing with my grandma. A little after 6 we heard music playing loudly in the shared plaza of our apartment complex. We opened the door to check it out. Immediately our neighbors saw us and insisted we come down to dance. My host mom and I both love dancing, so, of course, we went down. Once we arrived we learned there was a dance instructor there who was going to teach us the marinera. This is a Peruvian dance which…

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