Recent Posts

July 21, 2014

Derek and Michael are living and serving with people for whom Spanish is a second language in a tiny settlement deep in the central jungle of Peru. San Miguel de Marankiari is an indigenous community perched on a hillside far above the Perené River Valley, in the province of Chanchamayo and the state of Junin. San Miguel is about a 20-minute drive on a bumpy dirt road to Perené (also known as Santa Ana), the closest populated area with markets and telephone and Internet service. San Miguel is home to several dozen indigenous Asháninka families (about 100 people in all),…

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July 21, 2014

Emma, Stefan, Tim and Derek are working in San Ramón in the province of Chanchamayo – the entry point to the selva central, Peru’s central rain forest. Despite busy schedules of work and studies, they still have found time to enjoy their host families as well as the flora, fauna and warm temperatures of San Ramón, which is located along the Carretera Central (the central highway) that links Lima in the west to the rain forest in the east. San Ramón, which has about 30,000 residents, is located in the departamento (state) of Junín, on the eastern foothills of the…

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July 18, 2014

Preparing for service in Peru

After Goshen College students start to speak Spanish, adjust to their host families, learn how to navigate Lima’s chaotic bus system and start to enjoy living in Peru, they increasingly ask one question of their Peru Study-Service Term leaders: “What’s my service assignment and where will it be?” It’s a natural question because service is an essential component of SST and as important as classroom learning. Service also can be the most challenging and rewarding part of the SST experience. Students get the opportunity to spend six week working for a worthwhile organization and living with a new host family…

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July 18, 2014

After five weeks of language and culture studies in Lima (and one week of travel to Cusco and Machu Picchu), the Goshen students say goodbye to their Lima host families and teachers and travel to their service locations. They spend a second six-week period scattered across the country, working in schools, clinics, churches and social service organizations.                 Before they go, however, the Peru groups have traditionally thrown a farewell party – or despedida – for the host families. The party is a chance for the students to thank their host families for…

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July 17, 2014

Goshen College students had the opportunity to view works of art, interview the artist and gain insights into the creative process during a visit to the home and studio of Victor Delfin, Peru’s leading painter and sculptor. Delfin, 87, is considered Peru’s most accomplished artist. The youngest child in a poor family from a fishing village in northwestern Peru, Delfin graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Lima in 1958. He served briefly as director of the Puno School of Fine Arts and then as an art teacher in Chile. Fifty years ago, Delfin established an eclectic art studio…

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July 17, 2014

Fútbol just for the fun of it

Goshen College students spent their second Saturday in Lima playing soccer and volleyball with host family members and their friends. The spirited play took place at the municipal sports complex in the San Isidro district of Lima on a warm and gray morning. The students  loved it, especially the opportunity to play “fulbito,” a scaled down version of soccer. Although fútbol, or soccer, is Peru’s national sport, fulbito is played more frequently, especially among adults because it can be played on a smaller field of artificial grass, concrete, asphalt or even dirt. There are six players per side, plus a…

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July 16, 2014

Raising joy in the garden

It’s a cloudy June day, and Señora Gregoria Flores meets us under the canopy where the gardeners scheme. This is where they plan their attack: The tilling and composting, the seeds sprinkled in neat rows, the watering. They will deploy beat-up old spades and rusty picks and leaky hoses. They plan planting and plot plots. The chalkboard in the little meeting area is full of beautiful Spanish garden words that roll off the tongue like smooth pebbles: rabanita, betarraga, espinaca, acelga, camote, abono (radish, beet, spinach, chard, yam, fertilizer). In a few months, the gardeners will be eating the organic…

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July 16, 2014

Just as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 traumatized many people in the United States, Peru’s war on terror in the 1980s and 1990s continues to traumatize Peruvians. And just as in the United States, the final chapter of the war has yet to be written. In 1980, members of the Communist Party of Peru, more commonly known as the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), began a guerilla war to overthrow the government, elevate the rural poor and establish a communist state modeled on the philosophy of Mao Zedung (Mao Tse-tung), the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Besides…

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July 15, 2014

Should Peru’s government continue its ban on genetically modified organisms? Should it limit the development of squatter communities? Should Peru continue to pay motorists to retire older vehicles from Lima’s streets? Is tourism a great thing for Peru? And are Peruvians and North Americans basically the same at heart? These provocative questions were discussed and debated by Goshen College students during a recent afternoon at Casa Goshen. SST Co-Directors Judy Weaver and Richard R. Aguirre developed the idea of having the students explore these issues in an academic exercise inspired by the radio program “Intelligence Squared U.S.,” Oxford-style debates heard…

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July 14, 2014

One of the leading Peruvian literary figures we learned about was Ricardo Palma, whose own life was as fascinating as his stories. We got a sense of the author as a man and Peruvian by visiting his home – now a museum – in the Miraflores district of Lima. Palma lived from 1833 to 1919, a period of great change in Peru. In addition to a rich life of reading and writing from an early age to the end of his days, Palma was a naval officer, a survivor of a shipwreck, a friend to presidents and a political activist…

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