Recent Posts

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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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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