Recent Posts

July 17, 2012

Service in San Ramon

San Ramon, a city of 30,000 inhabitants, is the gateway to Peru’s Selva Central (Central Rain Forest).  Nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at 770 meters (2,526 feet) above sea level, the days are warm, the nights are cool and surrounding hills are lush with vegetation.  San Ramon has grown rapidly in recent years as people move here from the higher-elevation mountains and the lower-elevation jungles for work, for school and for the pleasant climate. Emily is volunteering at Clinica Elera (Elera Clinic), a private medical center with modern facilities and a well-trained staff.  Dr. Gustavo Elera, originally…

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July 13, 2012

Service in Oxapampa

Oxapampa is a charming city of 10,000 inhabitants situated in a broad river valley in the upper rain forest.  The town was founded by Austrian immigrants in the middle of the 19th century.  Life in central Europe was difficult at that time due to famine and war.  In 1853 a representative of the Austrian government signed an agreement with Peru to permanently relocate hundreds of migrants to the eastern flanks of the Andes.  Each settler had to (1) be a member in good standing of the Catholic Church, (2) be married and (3) have a trade. In 1857 the first…

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July 9, 2012

Service in Boca Ipoki

The Perene River, a tributary of the Amazon, floods during the months of December through April.  The rushing waters leave generous deposits of sand along the shorelines, making nice beaches for bathing during the dry season.  The village of Boca Ipoki lies on the shore of the Perene River and its inhabitants, which number perhaps one hundred, bathe, fish or wash clothes in the river daily.  At only 525 meters (1,722 feet) above sea level, this is the lowest and warmest service location this semester. Boca Ipoki was established in the 1980s by native Ashaninka people fleeing the Sendero Luminoso…

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July 7, 2012

Service in Villa Rica

The city of Villa Rica – population 14,000 – was founded by European settlers in the 19th century.  The area is known as La Tierra del Café (the Land of Coffee).  Italian migrants, who appreciated a good cup of java, began planting seedlings on the surrounding hillsides soon after they arrived.   Today the region boasts the best coffee in Peru and, according to local promoters, some of the finest beans in the world.  The most flavorful varieties thrive in rainy areas that are relatively high in elevation.  At 1,470 meters (about 4,823 feet) above sea level, Villa Rica’s rain forest…

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July 2, 2012

San Francisco and Azulis are sister villages with a combined population of 447 inhabitants.  There are close cultural, familial and social ties between these two native Yanesha communities.  On the first day of our visit to Azulis, in fact, we met families from San Francisco who had traveled there for the baptism of three adult believers in the Yanesha Bible Evangelical Church.  Two of the families we met that day are hosting our students, Will and Darin, and after meeting them briefly in Azulis we made plans to meet up later at their homes in San Francisco. Before leaving for…

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July 1, 2012

Service in Azulis

The community of Azulis is named for the clear, blue water of the river nearby.  The village was established by four native curanderos (healers) and their families a century ago.  In the 1950s missionaries from the Summer Institute of Linguistics (Wycliffe Bible Translators) ventured into this protected valley and began working with village leaders to write down their language, promote literacy and translate the New Testament into their native tongue: Yanesha.  The rain forest is remarkable for its biodiversity and when given the assignment to write down the names of all the birds they knew, village children soon came up…

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June 30, 2012

Service in San Miguel

Living in a foreign culture — getting to know a new host family and figuring out how to accompany the people they work with each day — is a challenge for our students during these six weeks of service.  They are stretched in new ways as they leave the comfort of the group experience that defined our study time in the Andes and in Lima and now venture out on their own.  As directors of the Peru SST program we are encouraged by our recent visits with students, hearing how they exercise their faith and seek God’s comfort as they…

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June 10, 2012

Service Begins

This morning the students, all 21 of them, boarded a bus for the central region of Peru to begin their six-week service assignments. Three will volunteer in Tarma, a beautiful city located in the Andean highlands, teaching in a Catholic school and working with children in a program sponsored by Compassion International.  Six will live and work in the sister cities of San Ramon and La Merced, spending time with kids in an after school program, teaching at a school for special needs, assisting at a medical clinic and volunteering at a fair-trade coffee organization. Two will live in Oxapampa,…

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June 10, 2012

Adios, Lima

We said goodbye to our Lima host families by inviting them to share an evening with us.  We played games and enjoyed a program of drama, dance and song. We also shared American-style refreshments prepared with delicious Peruvian ingredients — sandwiches, salads, kettle corn, cake and passion fruit juice. The students shared their gratitude for the time spent together with their Lima hosts.  Early Sunday morning they depart for their service locations. Muchisimas gracias, familias!

June 5, 2012

A Closer Look

As we approach the end of our study time in Lima, we deepened our perspective on what it is like to live and work here by listening to speakers who have migrated here from other places and then traveling to the edge of this sprawling metropolitan area. Father Jeff Klaiber is originally from Indianapolis.  He came to Peru to work as a priest and learn about liberation theology in the 1970s.  An author and university professor, Father Klaiber taught us about the role of the Catholic Church in Latin American politics over the last 200 years. Jerry Acosta is originally…

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