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November 29, 2011

Homeward Bound

The return trip to the North America began with a 3:30 a.m. departure from Home Peru. There is not much traffic at that hour so we arrived at Jorge Chávez International Airport ahead of schedule. The students got checked in quickly and we said our final goodbyes. There was joy mixed with sadness — excitement to reunite with family and friends, and the reality of saying goodbye to the people they have lived, worked, studied and played with in Peru. God bless each of you.  Safe travels!

November 29, 2011

The Retreat

A semester full of learning, service and adventure closed with a three-day retreat at a beach named Kauai.  We began with final project presentations featuring research done while on service.  The topics included: Ají Peppers The Day of the Dead The Hearing Impaired in Peru The Exciting World of Ceramics Food and Culture in the Rain Forest An Exercise in Dialect All Saints Day Cuy, What? Water, Water, Water The Earthquake in Yungay — 1970 The Ashaninkas On Sunday we worshipped, discussed each student’s service assignment and relaxed on the beach.  On our last day we talked about re-entry into…

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November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

How thankful we are!  This morning ten students returned to Lima after spending six weeks volunteering in the mountains and rain forest.  Tomorrow Joshua will return from Acopia and our group will be complete. The students are thankful for many things:  new direction in life, a stronger relationship with God, safety, opportunity, Lima, the United States of America, their host families, discovery of self, reordering of priorities and relationships with Peruvian friends. We celebrated Thanksgiving Peruvian-style with a Pachamanca dinner, an ancient dish prepared in the mountains during harvest time.  Alicia and her family were gracious hosts.  They prepared a…

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November 24, 2011

Service in Acopia

Acopia, a town of several thousand inhabitants, sits between two lakes in the Andes mountains.  At 3,715 meters (12,188 feet) above sea level, this is highest and most remote of the service locations this semester.  We met Luis Delgado, founder of Yachay Wasi (House of Learning in Quechua), during a visit with the whole group to plant 100 native trees back in September.  Luis and his daughter, Sandra, expressed interest in having a student volunteer at the organization and arranged for a host family — Feliciano and Teodora Fputturi and their five children — to open their home. Joshua came…

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November 15, 2011

Four students are serving in the Selva Central, the central section of the rain forest that lies in the eastern foothills of the Andes.  Elevations here range from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, with rolling hills and luscious green vegetation. Ashley is volunteering at a school for special needs children called San Manuelito in the small city of San Ramon.  She assists with a class of 5 and 6-year-old children, several of which are hearing impaired.  She also helps the physical therapist who works with physically-disabled children. Jana works at a children’s center called INABIF in the same city.  This is…

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November 9, 2011

Service in Ayacucho

Just say, “Yes”!  This could be the motto for the three students serving in Ayacucho this term.  Saying yes when asked to try something new has opened doors for each student and addressed real needs for the people they work with each day. Marta is volunteering at Vidas Health Clinic and Preschool.  The clinic serves people with limited means who live on the outskirts of the historic city of Ayacucho.  Marta helps out in a variety of ways, registering patients, taking blood pressure, assisting with treatment and providing encouragement.  Several days a week she teaches English to preschool children.  On…

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November 1, 2011

Three students are volunteering in the city of Huaraz and the nearby village of Tarica.  At over 10,000 feet above sea level, these communities are nestled between the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountains) and the Cordillera Negra (Black Mountains).  The views are magnificent, the sky is a clear blue each morning and the people are shy at first but warm up quickly when they learn about our students and their work. We visited Samuel and Hannah at the World Vision office in Tarica and learned about the project to which they were assigned.  World Vision is an international, non-denominational organization dedicated…

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October 25, 2011

Farewell to Lima

Before leaving Lima for service, we threw a big party to thank our host families, language instructors and coordinators for all they have done for us over the last 6+ weeks.  Then we spent one more afternoon together, sharing and praying and preparing for the six weeks to come.  Check out the happy pictures!

October 21, 2011

Eduardo Arroyo is an authority on ethnic diversity.  In a provocative lecture entitled, “The Cholification of Peru,” he described the major ethnic groups — andinos from the mountains, criollos descended from the Spanish and cholos from the mountains who have migrated to Lima.  These and many smaller groups comprise Peru’s population of 30 million people. Camilo Ballumbrosio is a well-known musician with afro-peruvian roots and a favorite SST workshop leader.  He described how the slaves brought here from Africa several centuries ago were initially prohibited from drumming and dancing.  The cajon, a rectangular wooden instrument that resembles a box, was…

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October 18, 2011

The students have left for their six-week service assignments and are beginning work in Huaraz, La Merced, Ayacucho and Acopia.  The directors’ visits to each location will commence next week.  In the meantime, we’ll post photos of our final activities in Lima. After our return from the Andes, the students enjoyed a series of lectures, workshops and field trips to the outskirts of the city.  Father Eduardo Arens captivated us with his account of how Jesus used humor to engage his listeners and urged us to embrace our  humanity when meeting people of other backgrounds during the rest of our…

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