Recent Posts

November 11, 2014

We arrived in Chiclayo, a coastal city about 12 hours north of Lima, on a Friday, after an overnight bus trip. We stopped at a hotel only long enough to drop off our bags and then headed out on the dusty highway that leads west to Pimentel, a beach resort town. About halfway between Chiclayo and Pimentel, we found Colegio Harvest, a Baptist mission school for the deaf that Lee and Eva Johnson started in 1995. Lee and Eva warmly welcomed us to the school in the late morning. Adriene, Armando and Jessica, who are majoring in American Sign Language at…

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November 10, 2014

Four of the six students who are doing service in the Cusco area are working at schools that serve deaf children: San Martin (public) and San Francisco (private). On the day that we visited St. Martin School for Special Education (Centro Educativo Básico Especial Don José de San Martin), Max was playing a memory game with several of the 11 children in the classroom. They are ages 5 to 11. The teacher in charge, Señora Gabriela (or Gabi), said of Max: “El sabe un montón de señas” (He knows many signs). Some of the children, on the other hand, may…

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November 6, 2014

We left Lima by bus in the late morning, bound for the jungle gateway towns of San Ramón and La Merced. In miles, the trip is not so far. But there is a punishing climb en route. The highway to this part of the Peruvian selva central, or central rain forest, requires crossing the Andes at Ticlio, which brushes the clouds at 15,807 feet (4,818 meters). Laura and Shina were waiting for us when we arrived around 9 p.m. at the Gad Gha Kum El Mensajero Lodge, just outside  San Ramón, where they are living in a bungalow during the…

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October 31, 2014

On the evening before we visited Machu Picchu, our guide, Abraham Quispe Corrales, reminded us that the chance to see this mountaintop retreat, for most people, happens only once, if at all, and we should be prepared to make the most of the opportunity. He emphasized that point as he also announced that we should be getting up around 4 in the morning to be ready to leave the hostel by 5. The night was short, but we caught an early bus and arrived on the grounds of Machu Picchu soon after 6, part of the early vanguard. We watched…

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October 25, 2014

If one had to pick a town in which to spend the night en route to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo would be among the best places anywhere in the highlands. More than 500 years ago, Ollantaytambo served as an important rest stop and administrative and religious center for the Incas. It’s still an enviable rest stop (and a 90-minute train ride from Aguas Calientes, from which you can climb or take a bus to Machu Picchu). The weather is warmer here than in most of the Andes due to its relatively low elevation (2,800 meters, or about 9,186 feet) and placement…

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October 20, 2014

The morning after thanking our Lima host families and saying goodbye at the despedida, we left for Cusco, the capital of the Incan empire and gateway to the Sacred Valley, a valley that we would soon follow en route to Machu Picchu. We reserved free time for most of the first day in Cusco, whether taking naps or just taking it easy, giving our bodies time to adjust. Although Machu Picchu looms larger in most imaginations, Cusco actually claims a higher elevation. Cusco sits at around 3,400 meters in the Andes, or 11,200 feet, compared with about 2,430 meters, or…

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October 17, 2014

La Despedida: Saying Good-Bye

For one night anyway, Goshen students did the serving. At the end of five weeks of living and studying in Lima, and on the eve of leaving for a week in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and then moving on to service assignments, students welcomed their host families to the salon of the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Buen Pastor). More than 50 family members filled tables around the room. Acting in the role of waitstaff, students carried in plates of tortilla chips and homemade salsa; vegetables and homemade bean dip; corn and cheese nuggets; grapes, mango and melon…

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October 15, 2014

Mariah shares a journal essay: I have never really seen the world in color. I have never wanted to distinguish between black people, brown people, white people. I view people as equals. Race, class and culture don’t affect the way I see people. Or so I thought. I have never had to confront my own prejudices to the extent that I have had to while on SST because I have never been a minority person. I have never been so acutely aware of the color of my skin, eyes and hair because I didn’t have to until now.  Because everyone…

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October 15, 2014

Art of Tap, Teas and Seeds

During the first half of the SST semester in Peru, students participated in a series of interactive workshops related to dance, music, herbs and jewelry-making. Alicia Taipe Tello, a longtime cook and cultural guide for Goshen College, served as the first presenter of the term, introducing students to an array of Andean herbs and their healing properties. Alicia, who as a child herself helped to care for her younger sister at home in the Andes, said she would make teas of chamomile and other herbs for the baby when there was no milk. “Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of…

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October 13, 2014

During the first six weeks of our SST semester in Peru, more than a dozen people provided presentations (often with PowerPoint slides), on subjects like the War of the Pacific, food and the Peruvian trademark, health care, the Catholic Church, the Shining Path, poetry and more. Classes were held four days a week at la Catedral del Buen Pastor (the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd), an Anglican church in the Miraflores district of Lima. Mornings were usually reserved for lectures and workshops, with instruction in Spanish and sign language in the afternoon. As in the past, one of our initial speakers was…

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