Recent Posts

February 13, 2011

We took some time to get to know the Cusco area though two service projects. We spent last Friday in the small town of Huacarpay helping move rocks for the Cutípa family, which is still rebuilding a wall after last year’s floods decimated much of the town just outside of Cusco. (Celestino Cutípa is pastor at Huacarpay Mennonite Church, and the story about his town’s experience—as well as information about his church and his family’s home—can be read here.) The day we were in Huacarpay the town was celebrating the opening of several dozen newly constructed homes, which local families…

Read more »

February 12, 2011

Our week of travel started in the Andean city of Cusco, a UNESCO world heritage site that is considered Latin America’s archeological capital. By the 15th century Cusco was at the height of its importance as the capital of the Inca Empire, but the local history is much more than the Incas: We were able to explore pre-Inca ruins (the nearby city of Pikillaqta was built by the Wari people between 500 and 900 A.D.) as well as the Spanish influence that first appeared in the 16th century after Francisco Pizzaro’s arrival (including, among many other things, the Plaza de…

Read more »

February 12, 2011

Machu Picchu

Our visit to Machu Picchu coincided with two interesting anniversaries. First, 2011 is the centennial of Yale University professor (and later U.S. senator) Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the so-called “Lost City” (we learned that Machu Picchu was far from lost to the locals, and even appeared on a German cartographer’s map more than three decades before Bingham’s finding). Two days after our visit, Yale and the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco signed an agreement establishing the UNSAAC-Yale International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture in Cusco. Thousands of artifacts that have been curated…

Read more »

February 4, 2011

Our week began with a lecture by noted scripture scholar Eduardo Arens. Arens, a Catholic priest and author of such books as The Bible without Myths and The Gospels Yesterday and Today, spoke with us about the challenge of active peacemaking in the context of Peru. After that the SSTers put on their dancing shoes (or went barefoot) during our folkloric dance workshop with Pedro Farias, a professional dancer who introduced us to three Peruvian dances—one from the coast, one from the jungle, and one from the mountains. On Tuesday we heard from Mariana Mold de Pease, an activist and historian…

Read more »

January 31, 2011

service in Lurín

Our service this week was at Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, an orphanage south of Lima that is home to 64 children. A mission of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Casa Hogar receives all its funding from U.S. donors and follows the Boys Town Model, which has five main elements: teaching children and families life-changing skills; helping children and families build healthy relationships; empowering children and families to make good decisions; caring for children in a family-style environment; and supporting children and families in religious practices and values. Casa Hogar is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Staff members…

Read more »

January 30, 2011

On Friday an hour-long bus ride delivered us from the concrete and noise of Lima to the small, rural village of Quebrada Verde in the coastal mountains in the district of Pachacamac. During the humid winter months, the “verde” in the village’s name makes sense. But now, in the dry, warm summer, one has to look carefully to find any green. Nonetheless, our group enjoyed a day of hiking in this unique coastal ecosystem, and particularly enjoyed the bird’s-eye view of the natural terrain just south of the city. Our guide Alfredo told us about the local wildlife (including hawks…

Read more »

January 29, 2011

Tim’s host mom, Eliana, is an artisan who specializes in creating jewelry from natural materials. She came to talk with us a little about her work, and then she introduced us to some of the types of seeds from the Peruvian jungle she uses to create items, including pona, wawa, lagrimas de San Pedro, achira, azair, huayruro, ojo de buey, cerebrito, tagua, and bombona. After that, she walked us through two different projects the SSTers were able to make—a necklace and a bracelet. Everyone left with a beautiful souvenir!

January 29, 2011

food and music

We were able to enjoy two uniquely Peruvian cultural delights this week: the cajón and cebiche. Drummer extraordinaire Camilo Ballumbrosio introduced us to the cajón during a very loud, hands-on workshop. The cajón, or Peruvian box drum, has its roots in the Afro-Peruvian community and is appreciated by music lovers worldwide (our guest percussionist has played in Europe as well as North and South America). Camilo told us about his family, which hails from the coastal town of Chincha. He and his siblings started learning traditional Afro-Peruvian music and dances when they were young—Camilo was just 4 when he started…

Read more »

January 24, 2011

We spent our second day in the Cono Sur visiting a biohuerto (community garden), where the SSTers helped clear a few plots and marveled at the resident gardeners’ ability to cultivate 18 types of fruits and vegetables in soil that–in its natural state–is little more than sand. The gardens are a joint venture between local residents, an NGO, the city government, and the electric company, which donated the land under electrical towers for the project. The biohuertos of Villa Maria do double duty by increasing food security for local residents, especially families with young children and the elderly, as well…

Read more »

January 23, 2011

Fútbol

After a long day of painting, SSTers took to the field for a friendly game of soccer with young futbalistas from Villa María del Triunfo, the district in the Southern Cone where Alicia lives and where she and her family hosted us for the night. We enjoyed the chance to spend some time with kids in the neighborhood, as well as the chance to get to know the place Alicia told us about earlier in the week. In her talk she told us how the neighborhood’s first houses 35 years ago were constructed of reed mats and lacked electricity and…

Read more »

Page 41 of 48« First...102030...3940414243...Last »