Recent Posts

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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October 12, 2011

Machu Picchu is counted among the seven wonders of the modern world and widely regarded as the most popular international tourist destination in South America — no wonder given its impressive architecture and majestic location. We spent an entire day here, beginning with a tour of the first part of this ancient city with our guide, Oswaldo.  We learned about the religious significance of this extraordinary place.  Then most of us climbed Huayna Picchu (“Young Peak”), the steep mountain that forms the photogenic backdrop shown in most photos of the ruins. After our ascent, Oswaldo led us through the rest…

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October 9, 2011

We had a chance to learn about the Inca culture by visiting three impressive archaeological sites as well as the home of a family living in a stone structure that predates the arrival of the Spanish five centuries ago. Sacsayhuaman contains huge stones that archaeologists believe were cut and shaped with bronze chisels and hematite hammers in a nearby quarry.  The stones were apparently brought to the site by pulling them across large logs or log-shaped stones, harnessing the muscle of perhaps a hundred people.  The stones were fitted together in the form of a giant zigzag line, reminiscent of…

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October 6, 2011

Spring has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere.  Up in the mountains, flowers are in bloom and grasses are changing from gold to green.  Insects are emerging, birds are singing and sheep are grazing in the midday sunshine. Visitors to Peru typically travel to places like the Sacred Valley of the Incas by bus or car.  Many rural Peruvians, by contrast, journey from place to place on foot.  We decided to find out what it’s like to venture off the beaten track by walking — trekking — from the village of Tauca to a little-known Andean community known as Huchuy Qosqo…

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October 4, 2011

Where are they?  The mountains are stunning, but something seems missing.  The only forests we see are swaths of eucalyptus planted on the hillsides near each village and town.  Though quite useful for firewood or supporting the roofs of adobe houses, these invasive plants imported over a century ago from Australia tend to monopolize the area they inhabit, crowding out other plants and drawing down the water table in this already-arid landscape.  Have the hills always been so bare? We visited the distant village of Acopia to learn more about the natural history of the Andes.  Luis Delgado grew up…

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