Recent Posts

April 2, 2015

Pan (Bread)

Joanna shares a journal entry:   “Sin pan, no vive.” (“You can’t live without bread.”) Ercilia Gonzales Pincos, Joanna’s host mother   There is such complexity in bread. Everywhere, the bread holds great significance; it is a staple of all cuisines in one form or another, and the word itself is laden with meaning and connotation. In Perú, in the Huamanga province, in the city of Ayacucho, bread is everything. I have been asking people on the street, “¿Qúe tipo del pan le gusta mas? ¿Come el pan todos los dias?” The answer to the first question (What kind of…

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March 31, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015   After dropping off suitcases at our hostel in Ayacucho, we went to Comedor Luz y Vida, a place where children from impoverished homes can enjoy a healthy lunch after school and receive help with homework. We found Joanna in the kitchen, peeling potatoes. She helps to prepare meals there each day and also joins in the market shopping first thing in the morning (picture hauling 10 kilos of potatoes along with bags of carrots and peas). The day that we visited they served more than 30 children, filling plates…

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March 22, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 The morning after we arrived in Tarma, we found ourselves standing in the Fe y Alegria  school yard with Christian and Maria, part of a large circle of students, teachers, parents and administrators who were starting off the new school year on a playful note in the light rain. A teacher called out the movements for all of us to follow, which at one point included standing pigeon-toed, knees touching, bent over at the waist, tongues out — and then hopping on one foot. In that moment there was no…

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March 22, 2015

Lea and Micah: Serving in Cusco

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 When Lea and Micah joined us for supper near the Plaza de Armas, or central park, in Cusco, it was the first time they had seen each other two weeks into their service stay. While both of them are based in the Cusco area, they are in many ways at opposite ends of this sprawling city. To get to Micah’s house and place of work in Lucre, we took two buses and a collectivo taxi. The trip takes about an hour and a half. Lucre is a kind of suburban…

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March 20, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 On the evening before we visited Machu Picchu, we talked about how we wanted to make the most of the chance to see this mountaintop retreat; few people have this opportunity, and for nearly all of those who do, it’s once in a lifetime. We scheduled a light breakfast for 5:30 a.m. to be ready to leave the hostel by 6. We woke up to the sound of rain. We walked to the bus loading zone, in the rain. We waited to board our bus, in the rain. We made…

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March 15, 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 Aguas Calientes, from which you can climb or take a bus to Machu Picchu). The weather is warmer here than in most of the Andes due to…

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March 15, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 Early on Monday morning, students said good-bye to their Cusco area host families and we made our way into the Sacred Valley by bus, accompanied once again by Amadeo, our faithful guide. 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…

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March 11, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 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 people in 1990. We traveled together on Sunday afternoon for lunch at a trout farm owned by the pastor of that church, Eloy Sullca Bombilla, and his family. Lunch consisted of fresh trout, choclo, potatoes, salad and salsa de mani (a spicy peanut salsa). Willy’s birthday was coming up in a few days, so we surprised him with a Tres Leches cake from a bakery…

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March 8, 2015

By Karen and Duane Sherer Stoltzfus Peru SST Co-Directors, 2014-2015 Lima may be a metropolis of 10 million people, one third of Peru’s total population, but to visit Cusco is to be reminded why the Incas regarded this Andean capital as “the navel of the world.” Our guide, Amadeo Valer Farfán, led us on a walk through the city (of about 500,000), where we saw some of their finest stonework, including the famous stone cut with 12 angles, on a wall just up the hill from the Plaza de Armas;  and we admired the patchwork of red tile roofs, encircled…

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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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