Recent Posts

March 26, 2013


Quinn is volunteering at Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriania Emanuel (Emanuel Evangelical Presbyterian Church) of Ayacucho.  The church was planted here in the Cuchipampa (Hog Flat) neighborhood by missionaries from the U.S. Presbyterian Church several years ago.  Quinn lives and works with the pastor’s family in a building complex located on the steep western flank of the mountains that surround Ayacucho’s capital city of Huamanga.   The church serves a tightly-knit community of Andean families who migrated here in recent years due to economic hardships caused by terrorism and the post-war reality.   Most families still have close ties to their chacras…

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March 19, 2013


Cortney and Edgar are volunteering at Hogar de Niños Casa Luz (House of Light Children’s Home).  Forty-three children between the ages of one and nineteen call this place home.  Some were abandoned at birth.  Some are orphans whose parents have died.  Others know their mothers or fathers, but poverty makes it impossible for their parents to provide them with adequate food and clothing.  And so, for these and other reasons, these children have been taken in by the generous folks at Casa Luz.  Here they receive a bed to sleep in, clean clothes and three meals a day.  Casa Luz…

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March 15, 2013


Liz and Kate spend their days with little ones.   Parents are busy with work, chores and activities outside the home.  This is true all over the world, of course, in the Global North as well as the Global South.  But the pressures on parents are especially acute in the mountains of Peru, where many families live on what they earn each day.  The prayer “give us this day our daily bread” is a reality, not a metaphor.  Anyone of working age needs to devote themselves to activities that generate income.   Sadly, many parents grew up without positive role models,…

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March 13, 2013


Barrett is volunteering at a nonprofit organization that provides health care services to low-income patients.  The lifestyle of people who live in the Peruvian countryside is inherently healthy — fresh air, clean water and whole foods.  Medical care is not readily available, however, for the treatment of injuries and illnesses in remote villages or marginal neighborhoods at the edge of the region’s capital.  The government has invested in medical posts in most cities and many towns, but staff is limited, service can be slow and the facilities are often under-equipped and under-stocked.  Medicines and medical supplies need to be purchased…

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March 12, 2013


Martin is spending the service portion of the Peru Study Service Term in a remote village named Yuraccraccay.  The broad valley surrounding the village is fertile and green, warm enough to produce oranges, apples and avocados as well as exotic-tasting fruits such as pacay and chirimoya.  Most of the villagers subsist on the food they grow, with little left over to provide a cash income.  Their existence is humble by most standards, but the fruits, vegetables and chickens they produce are delicious and the life they lead is simple and healthy.  The air is clean, the water is free and…

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March 2, 2013


The Service portion of the Study Service Term has begun.  The students are volunteering in the highlands — Ayacucho, Huanta and Tarma — as well as the rain forest — San Ramon, La Merced, Oxapampa and San Miguel de Marankiari.  They are assisting teachers at the primary and secondary school levels, assisting church staff, teaching English and computer skills, tutoring, helping with homework, teaching basic hygiene, serving meals, working on farms, setting up a library, helping out at a clinic, playing with children and, more generally, serving as positive role models.  The photos below show the students boarding buses for…

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March 1, 2013


All good things must come to an end, including the study portion of the Spring semester Study Service Term in Peru.  We ended our time in Lima with a Despedida, a party to say thank you to the host families, language instructors, coordinators and others who have supported the students during their first six weeks in this marvelous country.  The program featured a drama written and directed by Bivi Goto, a professional actress gifted with energy, creativity and a sense of humor.  The play featured the true story of General San Martin, a leader in the South American independence movement,…

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February 27, 2013


Peru has a long history of conquest.  The Incas were known for subduing neighboring peoples with generous gifts and military might, especially during the reign of its greatest leader, Pachacutec.  By the beginning of the 16th century, the Inca realm covered all of modern day Peru, as well as parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.  Soon thereafter came the Spanish, who were motivated by two factors:  a lust for riches and a desire to evangelize.  From 1532 until 1821, the Spanish colonists shipped countless tons of gold and silver back to Europe and converted most of the population…

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February 25, 2013


Over the past 30 years, Lima’s population has grown dramatically.  Millions of refugees fled here to escape the ravages of war between Shining Path terrorists and the Peruvian military in the 1980s and early 90s.  In recent decades, even more families have relocated here in search of higher incomes, better schools and broader opportunities.  This influx of people from the mountains and rain forests makes Lima a vibrant, dynamic city.  At the same time, local authorities struggle to mitigate the impacts of unplanned development on the edge of the city — congestion, traffic, smog, noise, crime and lack of basic…

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February 17, 2013


“Water is life” — these words are painted on a wall in one of the settlements far from downtown Lima.  The problem is, people living in the Chavin de Huantar neighborhood of Villa El Salvador still don’t have it.  There are no pipes bringing water to their homes. And there are no pipes taking water away,once it has been used, for treatment or disposal.  Instead, huge trucks deliver water each day, charging between 25 and 75 cents to fill containers of various sizes set outside the front door of each house.  On a per gallon basis, these prices are exorbitant,…

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