Recent Posts

July 26, 2013

Service in Marankiari

Petey and Clayton are serving in an indigenous community perched on a hillside far above the Perene River valley.  San Miguel de Marankiari is home to several dozen native Ashaninka families, most of whom are descended from a common great-great-grandfather.  The Ashaninka people are quickly becoming westernized due to forces outside their control.  Ecomundos, a nonprofit organization founded by members of the community, is attempting to preserve key aspects of Ashaninka identity and customs.  Their hope is that cultural tourism, in which foreigners pay to visit and stay overnight in the community in order to experience the unique aspects of…

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July 24, 2013

Service in Chanchamayo

Philip, Elizabeth and Jenna are serving in the province of Chanchamayo.  This is the gateway to the selva central, Peru’s central rain forest.  It is the dry season in the jungle, but there is still enough rain to keep the surrounding hillsides lush and green.  The city where the students volunteer, San Ramon, is situated on the eastern flank of the Andes mountains.  At 770 meters (2,526 feet) above sea level, the temperatures are warm, sometimes hot, during the day.  The evenings are cool and pleasant.  The natural world resembles a paradise in this part of Peru, but life in…

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July 17, 2013

Service in Tarma

Megan, Luke and Dan are volunteering in Tarma, the “Pearl of the Andes.”  Also known as the City of Flowers, Tarma is situated in a protected valley on the eastern flank of the highest mountains in the western hemisphere.  The sunny climate is conducive to agriculture and flowers are exported to Lima and other markets on the Peruvian coast.  Tarma is located on the Carretera Central, the main highway linking Peru’s capital to the central rain forest, and trucks arrive daily bringing tropical fruits and other products grown in the jungle. Megan and Luke are serving at Colegio Fe y…

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July 14, 2013

Service in Cuchipampa

Emily volunteers at a Christian primary school perched on a hillside far above the city of Huamanga.  The neighborhood of Cuchipampa, “Hog Flats” in the local dialect of Quechua, was recently settled by migrants from the countryside of Ayacucho.  Most of the streets are still unpaved and the houses are in various states of construction.  Missionaries from North America planted a church here several years ago:  Emanuel (“God is With Us”) Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  The church holds worship services in Quechua on Sunday mornings and programs for youth as well as an outreach ministry to neighborhood families during the week. …

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July 13, 2013

Service in Huamanga

Kelly, Nikita and Mary are volunteering in the bustling capital of Ayacucho departmento (state).  San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga, or simply Huamanga, is home to 170,000 people.  The city lies in a protected valley some 2,746 meters (9,009 feet) above sea level.  Known as the “City of Churches,” Huamanga was founded in 1540 and built around a large central plaza.  The grand architecture still stands, giving the city a colonial flavor that dates back hundreds of years.  People seem especially proud of the battle of independence that was fought on a mountainside not far from the city.  An…

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July 7, 2013

Stephen, Michael and Anna are teaching in schools in a humble sector of the capital of the Departamento de Ayacucho (Ayacucho state).  The district of San Juan Bautista, named after John the Baptist, is situated on the southeast side of the city and is home to over 38,000 people.  At 2,734 meters (8,969 feet) above sea level, there is a large daily variation in temperature.  At night the temperature drops to the mid-thirties, but in the afternoon the sun shines brightly and the temperature climbs back up into the 70s. Most of the residents of San Juan Bautista struggle to…

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July 3, 2013

Service in Huanta

Hannah and Kendall are serving in the city of Huanta:  Population = 84,000, Elevation = 2,624 meters (8,609 feet) above sea level.  The valley where Huanta is situated is unusually green, featuring a wide variety of vegetation and earning it the nickname “Emerald of the Andes.”  The climate is sunny and dry, with cool mornings and hot afternoons.  Huanta feels more like a small town than a growing city.  The population swelled during the 1980s and 90s as people fled the countryside to escape the conflict between the Shining Path terrorists and government soldiers.  Huanta continues to grow as people…

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June 26, 2013

Service in Chiclayo

Whitney and Justin are volunteering at a special needs hospital on the northern coast of Peru.  Hogar Clinica Juan de Dios offers medical treatment, physical therapy and educational programs to children diagnosed with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities.  The hospital serves twenty-six children from the Chiclayo region, a sunny coastal plain located some thirteen hours by overnight bus from Lima.  Chiclayo, the fourth largest city in Peru, was founded several centuries ago by the Spanish.  The clinic actually lies ten kilometers west of the city, a short distance from the Pacific Ocean and the coastal town of Pimentel. Each…

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June 19, 2013

The study portion of the Peru Study Service Term came to a close with a despedida (farewell party) for the Lima host families, language instructors and coordinators.  The students sang a couple of songs, performed a skit comparing the life of a student in the US to that of a student in Lima, and thanked their families, teachers, coordinators and directors for the their contributions to the program.  The centerpiece of the evening was a play entitled, “The Story of Quinua,” a humorous account of the ancient discovery of this high-protein grain high in the Andes, its use in Peruvian…

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June 17, 2013


Learning comes in many forms.  Lectures by Nestor Vergara, Jerry Acosta, Maria Lopez and Father Jeff Klaiber taught us much about living conditions at the edge of Lima, life in Peru during the time of terrorism and the Catholic Church in Latin America.  Workshops with Pedro Farias, Alicia Taipe Tello, Eliana Carrasco and Senora Gregoria gave us opportunities to learn about traditional dance, medicinal herbs, jewelry making and urban gardening.  Classes with Moises Arces Zavala, Ana Bracamonte and Biviana Goto Sanchez helped the students improve their command of Castellano, the term used for Spanish here in Peru, to better communicate…

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