Recent Posts

January 26, 2015

In anticipation of our visit to Caral, an archaeological site that represents the oldest city in the Americas, dating to about 2600 B.C., we visited a museum that uses pottery and other artifacts to tell the history of several leading cultures of Peru over more than 5,000 years. The Larco Museum, which is privately owned, focuses on Peruvian history before the arrival of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the Spaniards in the 16th century. It was founded by Rafael Larco Hoyle who named it after his father. Larco Hoyle was an influential archaeologist during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The museum…

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January 21, 2015

Our tour of downtown Lima began in an early colonial monastery, Convento de San Francisco, known for its religious art above ground and its history below ground. We admired the courtyard, the wood carvings, and the paintings, including “The Last Supper,” by Diego de la Puente, in which a cuy, or guinea pig, is shown on a serving platter. Earlier in the week, one author had told us to be on the lookout for “syncretism,” or ways in which Peruvians blended indigenous beliefs and customs with Catholic practices brought by the Spaniards. But what really got our attention were the…

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January 13, 2015

Given their late arrival on Wednesday, well past midnight, students appreciated having the orientation start pushed back by an hour to 10 a.m. on Thursday, their first full day in Lima. We began with a brisk walk from the hostel, Albergue Miraflores House, to Casa Goshen, a fourth-floor, walk-up apartment in the San Isidro section of Lima, with a slight view of the ocean on a clear day. After introductions, we entered into a time of worship and reflection, inspired by Genesis 1 and 2.  Students were invited to take a marker or pencil and paper and give some form…

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January 10, 2015

Goshen students met their host families on Friday after a summer day spent touring downtown Lima. With schools closed for vacation and traffic lighter than normal, we made especially good time on the return trip. So good, in fact, that we stopped for ice cream  (the flavors chosen included sauco (a cross between blueberry and blackberry), maracuyá (known in the States as passion fruit) and  mango (same spelling, different pronunciation). The students had prepared to meet their host parents and siblings by reviewing information about their families, including the locations of their homes, and studying (and practicing) Peruvian greetings and…

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January 8, 2015

After an extended day of travel, nine students arrived in Lima shortly after midnight, having traded fierce cold in Goshen for a very different season. The trip began around 3 a.m. on Wednesday with a ride to Chicago (the temperature in Goshen at the time was around 10 degrees). The connecting flight in Newark was delayed. They landed at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima at 12:30  a.m., about two hours behind their scheduled arrival (but about 60 degrees ahead in terms of temperature). The students moved through customs and immigration in less than an hour and were greeted by…

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November 26, 2014

Final Days in Peru

Though a knock at the door of Casa Goshen came a tad early (around 6:30 a.m.) we were excited to see our students return safely from their service locations. The early group, Lydia, Trevor, Laura and Shina, came in from the jungle. An hour later we were joined by Adriene, Jessica and Armando, who arrived on another overnight bus from Chiclayo. The final all-night bus brought Elizabeth and Mariah, who walked in just in time to join us for a breakfast of pancakes, eggs in frames, hash browns, sausages and juice. Maddie, Max, Frances, Danielle, Bryan and Abby, who spent…

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November 25, 2014

On Loving and Leaving Ayacucho

Elizabeth was based in Ayacucho during her six weeks of service, working at two Christian schools and an orphanage. Toward the end of her time there, she wrote this journal entry: I emailed a friend that I was falling in love with Ayacucho. He responded: “that would mean more if you didn’t fall in love with absolutely everywhere.” There are worse ways to live. I am OK that I have fallen in love with the foaming noise of motos; dry leathery heat; sun-baked mongrels that gaze lethargically through celeste eyes; nighttime lights that don’t twinkle but flare; the slippery tang…

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November 24, 2014

Shina spent six weeks serving at INABIF (Programa Integral Nacional para el Bienestar Familiar), a government-funded program in San Ramon that assists low-income families. She and Laura worked with children who come to the center before or after school to eat a hot meal, take part in activities and programs, and get help with their homework.  She shares her journal entry on “Agendas and Expectations” in the service workplace. The INABIF building was impossible to miss – geometric, tall and painted solid blue, it was established amid restaurants and grocery stores and provides the presence of a government building in…

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November 24, 2014

Adding Love to the Crayon Box

During service, for at least one journal entry students pursued experiential learning through a strategy called action-reflection-response. The idea is to learn from daily life by noticing something that you don’t understand, gathering more information and responding by changing your behavior or attitude. Lydia worked each morning at Jardín de Ninos Los Jazmines (Jasmine) preschool and kindergarten in Oxapampa, a town in the high jungle. Here is Lydia’s journal entry based on the action-reflection-response strategy. Step one. I’ve been quite frustrated with one boy who always seems to act up in class. He’s always fighting with the other students, and…

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November 21, 2014

In Ayacucho, the Andean city known for having an abundance of churches, Elizabeth and Mariah have an extra measure of family members. Elizabeth lives with Pastor Dionicio Bautista Gomez and Elizabeth Huarcaya Yarasca and their five children: Luis, Herbert, Diego, Wendy and Wanda. Mariah lives next door with Nieves Bautista Gomez, who is Dionicio’s sister, and her son, Javier. The Goshen students have the run of both houses. It’s not unusual to have supper in one house and dessert in another — or even to have two suppers on the same night! During our visit we enjoyed pachamanca (plates piled…

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