Fall 2008 SST Unit in Peru

The Fall 2008 unit has returned, but we'll leave this record of their journey here.

Wed, 27 Aug 2008


Alex and Julia have arrived in Peru and are settling in to life in Miraflores, Lima. We have toured some of the locations we will be visiting with students. We already know our neighborhood quite well. Our home is about a mile from the Pacific Ocean. It is winter in Peru, but becoming spring as it becomes fall in the north. We are looking forward to the arrival of students.

Posted at 10:05 #

Mon, 1 Sep 2008

Tambo Goshen

Our home is on the corner of Diez Canseco and Larco in Miraflores, Lima Peru. Students will spend most of their day here for their first day in Lima. We will also have meetings here every Wednesday. When the Incas ruled, "tambo" was a rest stop, along the way. We expect our times on Wednesday afternoons to be a rest-stop along the journey.

Posted at 10:23 #

Tue, 2 Sep 2008

Meeting with Families

Last evening we had coffee and cake with families that will be hosting the students. We heard stories of the adventures they've had with past students. They analyzed the details of everything the students wrote in Spanish. They get excited and begin making plans of what they are going to do with their student based on the profile. Mothers are scheming special meals for "their student." Excitement was radiating from the room.

Posted at 15:43 #

Fri, 5 Sep 2008

Students have arrived

Students look alive after we arrived at "Home Peru" where they stayed the night. We got the bus driver to take the scenic view home. The ocean waves and the crash of the surf is even beautiful at night.

Posted at 08:57 #

Orientation Day

Orientation Day started with breakfast at Home Peru, the hostel where the students spent their first night in Peru. As everyone finished their breakfast we readied to walk to Tambo Goshen, about a ten block walk. Our first order of the day were introductions and first impressions.

Later Celia, the local coordinator and her husband, Oswaldo joined us. Oswaldo is also the second-level Spanish Teacher. He shared about cultures and perceptions and how to have a successful integration into Peruvian life starting with a lively introduction that amused the students.

Later we enjoyed lunch at a menú. A menú is typically a set lunch with a couple of choices of appetizer, and main dish that come with a dessert and a drink. Most working individuals choose to eat lunch at a menú, as lunch is the main meal of the day.

After lunch we rested for a moment and started in on some of the logistics of their time in Peru. by early afternoon students had the courage to try the transportation system and we all hopped on a combi together and rode back to Home Peru where students anxiously awaited their family´s arrival.

Posted at 20:13 #

Wed, 10 Sep 2008

Downtown Lima

Monday was student language assessment and tour of downtown Lima. We started our tour of downtown lima, passing over the river Rimac to check out Lima from Cerro San Cristobal (Saint Christopher Hill) which is 409 meters high or relatively 1,342 ft. We rode a packed bus, whose driver, Juanito, managed to get us safely through the shanty town and up the hill. It was a foggy day, as most days are in Lima lately, but we still managed to barely make out where the city meets the ocean. From there were went down the hill to the main plaza (Plaza de Armas/Plaza Mayor) to watch the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace. Celia, our local coordinator, mentioned that this didn't happen in the 80's during the "Reign of Terror" because of security reasons. Shortly after watching the guards march to the beat of Peruvian national music played by a brass band; we made our way towards Chinatown. Peru has a large presence of Asians and Chinatown is a bustling commercial area of the city. We ate at a Chifa (Peruvian Chinese cuisine) and went exploring for an hour from there, everyone meeting up in the Plaza de Armas. As we slowly made our way back to Tambo goshen the students learned how to find their way around the city with the maps we provided and each student looked for the buses on the streets that they could take from home to get around. Upon arriving at Goshen Tambo in Miraflores, host-parents started arriving in order to show the students how to get home from Tambo Goshen.

Posted at 12:17 #

Huaca Pucllana

[news.yahoo.com...] -- Tuesday we went to Huaca Pucllana (pronounced wak-uh Pookey-ahn-nuh), where we learned about pre-colombian archeology. Our tour guide is an archaeologist. Huaca is a ritual place where the Lima people (earliest known inhabitants of Lima) offered sacrifices of women and ceramic vases to the shark gods. Later, the Wari people discovered the Huaca and made it a cemetery. Two weeks ago a Wari female, was discovered here. Huaca Pucllana is a pyramid constructed out of hand-made adobe bricks. No molds were used to create the bricks. You can still see the hand prints in the bricks. This mound in the middle of the city was thought to be a pile of dirt and the city was moving in on it until they started to discover that it was a pyramid that had been covered for hundreds of years. It is believed to have been 17 levels high, it is currently 6 levels high, the sixth level has not be excavated yet. We also learned about what plants and animals were used like a grain called Kiwicha and Quinoa, Maca and Yuca as well as the beloved cuyes (guinea pigs) for meat and Llamas and alpacas, which we got to pet. The students are starting to figure their way around the city and most managed to get home from Huaca Pucllana by themselves. Huaca Pucllana isn't far from Tambo Goshen. An archeological site in the middle of the city.

Posted at 13:04 #

Mon, 15 Sep 2008

Swamp and Shanty Town

As a finale to our first and arduous week we visited a nature preserve, Pantanos de Villa, a spring fed swamp that borders the ocean. Dozens of species of birds reside there and immigrate there from as far as North American during the US winter (which is Peruvian summer). Shortly thereafter we visited the shantytown that is home to not only a large population of "squatters" or those who overtake the land and eventually develop it as it becomes their own, it is also home to farm animals; owned by those who have migrated over the past two decades bringing with them their farm animals.

Posted at 01:00 #

Mon, 22 Sep 2008

The Fort of Real Felipe

Callao is Lima's port, and is considered a separate city from Lima. At Callao's port we enjoyed sitting on the pebbled beach looking for beautiful rocks. When you look out over the beach it doesn't look like a place you could relax and enjoy. But once you sit on the rounded rocks you begin to spot all the individual pebbles and rocks and find beauty in each one. That's how Peru is, sometimes you reflect on the violence and destruction and poverty and think how could I relax and enjoy Peru? Then you sit down with individuals and find the beauty and individuality in each one. The Fort, located in Callao, was used in the 1500s as a way to protect against pirates and eventually to protect the the Royalists/ spanish colonists from Peru's Patriots. After class on Monday we visited the port and the military guarded fort where we learned about several battles as well as the military history of Peru. We tried to imagine a Peru frought with the dangers of pirates , fights for independence and indigenous rebellions we've been reading so much about.

Posted at 01:50 #

Market Research at Tambo

On Tuesday everyone went in groups to their local market and bought something to share with everyone at Tambo the next day. We enjoyed salsa, guacamole, and of course fresh and dried fruits of all kinds. After Tambo we celebrated Katheryn and Zach's birthdays.

Posted at 22:20 #

Fri, 26 Sep 2008

Islas Palomino

[www.islaspalomino.com...] -- Friday we went to Islas Palomino. After class we waited on the bus to arrive and then headed straight to Callao's port and waited for our yacht to arrive to take us to Islas Palomino, islands an hour off the coast of Peru. We got on boats that took us in two groups out to the waiting yacht. After taking Dramamine, we headed out into the winds of the Pacific Ocean, tossing with the waves. We learned about islands we passed along the way. One is a military base that also has a home for the President should he wish to visit. There is also an island that used to house a prison, comparable to Alcatraz. In the 80s there was such an uprising that they decided to bomb the place, saving 1500 prisoners. The rubble is the current home of birds who come to flock there. Not long after passing that island you see an Island afar off. As you come closer you begin to hear the calls of the sea lions, as you approach the scent overwhelms the noise. We suited up in wet suits and jumped in. Even with wet suits the water was cold. After swimming with the sea lions we climbed back up on the yacht and had something warm to drink and arrived back to the port just after dark.

Posted at 19:53 #

Tue, 30 Sep 2008

Instituto de Libertad y Democracia (ILD)

[ild.org.pe...] -- The institute graciously hosted us, while sharing with us their vision for the empowerment of the poor by creating accessibilty of the extralegal livelihoods and settlements. This NGO works with the worlds leaders, creating change from the top.

Posted at 01:12 #

Wed, 1 Oct 2008

Traditional Dance

The students gathered at the seminary after class for some physical activity as a break from the academic activities. They enjoyed learning some complicated steps to traditional folkloric dance. It is very rewarding to watch the students learn, grow and become confident in new atmospheres. They have shown flexibility and growth as they've been pushed outside of their comfort zones. Their first days in Lima just walking down the street was a challenge, getting on the bus was traumatizing. However,the students have learned the bus systems and have even gotten very used to riding all sorts of transportation mediums. We even happened to capture their oblivion to their growth; from one ride on a micro only 4 weeks ago till now. They hardly think about how to flag a bus, how to stand for an hour and a half on a crowded bus without knocking anyone over or knocking someone out with their book bag. They've become good at not just maneuvering their way around the city, but they are also growing in their knowledge of history and culture.

Posted at 01:23 #

Fri, 3 Oct 2008

Chincha and the Earthquake affected areas of Peru

Tuesday we spent 3 hours in the crowded but comfortable (with Zac's exception) bus to Chincha, south of Lima. Poor Zac sat on the only seat left, a hard bench. Otherwise the students passed the time playing twenty questions, sleeping, playing cards, laughing and talking. As we got nearer to Chincha we noticed large cracks in the walls of buildings, piles of debris and rock in the streets, USAID tents and stacks of brick for reconstruction. Even though the earthquake was a year ago, it takes a long time to get the amount of building materials necessary to rebuild mostly adobe homes. Our first stop was in El Carmen,a dusty town of one-story homes to eat at the famous Mamaine's. We helped her set up tables and chairs, put silverware and glasses and sodas on the tables of the restaurant that is also her home. We had a delicious plate of food typical to the area, what they call dried stew (stew without the liquid) as well as carapulcra potatoes in hot pepper sauce. After leaving there we stopped in main plaza of Guayabo where just months ago was filled with tents where people slept until their homes or properties could be cleared of debris. Now the plaza is mostly empty. We stopped in front of a church that was built in 1761 and suffered sever damage from the earthquake but is under reconstruction. During our jaunt around the plaza we stopped for some laughs and hopped back on the bus to go around the corner and down a ways to the Ballumbrosio family's home, where we enjoyed quite the show, complete with a type of Africa River Dance, music with a wooden box, and what could be considered extreme dancing. The Alcatraz is the name of the dance. A woman and a man have a tissue attached to their belt in the back and each have a candle and each tries to light the other's tissue on fire. The students enjoyed learning not just the Alcatraz dance but the cajon (wooden box made into a booming instrument). On our way home we enjoyed salad and the typical roasted chicken with Peruvian style fries.

Posted at 00:42 #

Tue, 7 Oct 2008

Artist Victor Delfin

Thursday afternoon we visited a resident artist of Lima, Victor Delfin. In his 80s he still has a love of play and a heart for justice. We listened to him reflect on his thoughts of his life and how he became a well known Peruvian artist.

Posted at 23:48 #

Wed, 15 Oct 2008

Friday night Fiesta

The students wanted to gather on a Friday night at Tambo to make pizzas and watch movies. The students organized the event and we enjoyed not only pizzas and strawberry cheesecake but also hymns and eventually movies.

Posted at 10:44 #

Villa El Salvador

Villa El Salvador is a well-known and well- developed shanty town started only 40 years ago with over 500,000 inhabitants. This community is divided into subsections that support community development, each subsection ha a soup kitchen and a director of governance that collects funds for soccer fields, public play areas, pre-school or day- care facilities and the development of sidewalks in otherwise desert hills. We experienced a meal at the soup kitchen, a tour and getting to know some 10 families in one subsection of the community. Pairs of students made gift baskets for the families they were going to visit in their home. All the families thought it wasn't enough time and wanted us to stay longer. Our guide Katy shared her story of growing up in Villa El Salvador and the presence of the Shining Path in her community. She also described the area as it looked like over 20 years ago. During the "reign of terror" of the Shining Path one woman in particular became a leader of resistance to the terror and was eventually violently killed for her efforts. We visited a memorial in her honor. During that time some neighborhood children accompanied us, we saw a blink of life through their eyes, up close and personal. Villa El Salvador is still growing, with small businesses it is known for its carpentry industry of building furniture, sewing clothing and making shoes.

Posted at 11:08 #

Wed, 22 Oct 2008


On the last day of class, the students took time to thank Oswaldo and Leo their teachers. Each of the two classes did something special for their professors as the students also did for their teachers. They really enjoyed their time of not just language learning but cultural learning also. That afternoon the students spent some time (some spent hours) on a card to their families and and a note to the seminary thanking them for hosting us for the last 6 weeks. Then, of course, there was rehearsing to do for the evenings despedida (farewell) show. Which was filled with laughter, delight and much appreciation to each family and to Celia, the one who has helped coordinate the program here in Peru. Four of the students delighted us with a show of traditional dance from the highlands.

Posted at 22:47 #

Sat, 25 Oct 2008

Cusco, Cuzco or Q'osqo and the Sacred Valley

Because the Incans didn't have any documented written language there is some obscurity as to the exact spelling of Cusco. But we'll refer to is as Cusco from hereon. We left Lima, wednesday afternoon, all meeting at the airport. Some took a nap, others entertained themselves otherwise for the hour and a half flight. Upon arriving at the airprot in Cusco, we felt the immense difference in the air between Lima and Cusco. Lima's sky is grey and cold, while Cusco's sky is warm, bright blue and sunny. Cusco is at around 10,000 feet above sea level and just walking on the runway from the plane to the airport you can feel the thin air and lack of oxygen. You run out of breath just walking. We were informed to walk slowly and take a break when you need to. Free oxygen is provided at the airport for those who need it. At the airport we waited on our bus to arrive while perusing the little souvenir stalls and enjoying the warm sun, a scarcity in Lima. Once the bus came we headed towards Hotel Andre. Cusco is considerably smaller than Lima an easy to walk to the town square, the traffic is calmer and quieter. At the hotel we were served mate de coca, or coca tea, this, we were told, would help us adjust to the change in altitude. From there we rested a bit and later ate dinner in various corners of Cusco. Thursday, we rose early to eat breakfast provided by the hotel and left for a tour of the Sacred Valley, stopping at various points along the way, most notably Pisaq and our final destination for the day Ollantaytambo. The sacred valley is an incredibly green contrast to the desert city of Lima. We enjoyed our busride through field of corn, and other various crops. In Pisaq we walked an Incan trail from where Pisaq used to be, down to where present day Pisaq is. This walk offered spectacular views as we learned about the Incan runners who would run from village to village carrying messages, as well as viewing Incan temples built on high points to be closer to Inti, the sun god. We walked through tunnels and up and down stairs built on the side of the mountain. We also experienced the terraces, on which Incans grew crops on mountainsides. We ate lunch in Pisaq, some of us enjoyed empanadas baked in a clay oven as we watched guinea pigs (cuyes)scurrying through the rooms of their castle, something Pisaq is known for, guinea pig castles. After Pisaq we went to Olantaytambo's Incan temple ruins and eventually to the Posada, Bed and Breakfast where we spent a short night.

Posted at 12:39 #

Machu Picchu

We started our day at 4:30 in the morning with a light breakfast and walked to the train station by 5:30 and the train left promptly at 6. We arrived in Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu puelbo) around 8 in the mornin and from there took a bus up to Machu Pichu. By 10a we got past the well-intentioned but zealous guards and climbed a few hundred feet and before us was the glorious Machu Picchu. Where we stopped for a group picture. From there, our guide Jesus talked to us for twenty minutes while those who were taking it easy caught up to us, or found us and from thereon the students went in groups to explore Machu Picchu on their own. Machu Picchu is a world wonder. It was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in the early 1900s and has been under study as an archaeological site ever since. It is one of the very few Incan sites that the Spaniards didn't destroy or use to construct churches or homes. The large 3 ton stones were brought from as far away as 3 miles to build some of the Incan temples and these stones fit perfectly together that has helped them last through many earthquakes. We captured some wildlife that live amongst the ruins. The site is very heavily trafficked by tourists on a daily basis.

Posted at 14:00 #

The students left on Sunday for Service. We leave to visit 7 students in Junin this week. We'll have more pictures to post from said events, next week.
Posted at 14:38 #

Sun, 2 Nov 2008

Visit to La Merced-Junin to visit Jeremy

This past we've been visiting students in their assignments. First stop was Jeremy in La Merced. La Merced is a sunny and humid town where many coffee farms bring their produce to sell and be processed. Jeremy works at one such processing plant. Jeremy works with an organization called Chanchamayo Highland Coffee, which processes organic and fair trade coffee as well as fried plantains (chifles), tropical fruit marmalades and fruit juices. His host-family owns the business which also serves as an advocate for the small farmers who come to sell their products. The business is frequented by travelers and foreign purchasing agents who encourage the Chanchamayo Highland Coffee for higher ecological standards. Jeremy works hard peeling plantains, cutting, frying and packaging them for sale. He has also had the opportunity to make Guanabana marmalade as well as roast coffee through a wood burning roaster, then grind and package the coffee. He has also been out on trips to visit the farms. As an environmental science major he has had plenty of opportunities to study a new environment. His host family includes two little sisters who keep him busy helping them with homework. His host-father appreciates Jeremy's hard work and has been impressed by how responsible Jeremy is. We appreciate how seriously he takes his assignment.

Posted at 20:03 #

Visit with Nathan and Haven in San Shiriyo de Palomar-Pasco

We met Nathan and Haven at Jeremy's house. They had come to visit for the weekend. Nathan and Haven live with relatives of Jeremy's family on a coffee farm. Isidro and Carmen, Nathan and Haven's host parents actually farm more than just coffee, including but not limited to bananas and yuca. They also grow snails and chickens for personal consumption. When visiting we were served a hen and a chicken. When asked what the difference was, they responded a chicken is bought in the market and a hen we raise ourselves and butchered it for your meal. Nathan and Haven are sure they are going to run out of "hens" for their lunches and assure the family that they don't have to butcher a chicken every day just for them, but the family reassures them that chickens grow fast in the jungle.Besides "hens" Nathan and Haven enjoy "organ soup" as they call it. When we had soup together later in Oxapampa, Nathan and Haven were missing the organs, they find it gives the soup great flavor. Sunday afternoon, Isidro took us down a muddy, slippery and steep path to see a refreshing waterfall where we enjoyed the misty breeze. Out in the jungle/cloud forest there isn't much of a breeze and there is really no way to cool off, except under the hose of a shower in the lean-to they call the bathroom, which is for the most part avoided at all costs. Haven and Nathan are counting the days they've gone without a shower. Their rubber boots and machete keep them prepared as they go out to weed the crops. Most of the weeds are what we consider flowers, impatience, that grow into bushes in the humidity of the jungle. Haven and Nathan say there is nothing like a tree-ripened banana, but I'll have to take their word for it, because we couldn't find their secret stash on the hour walk to their house from where the overcrowded mini-van turned bus dropped us. Their host family is very pleased to host "foreigners" in their home but find it hard to believe that foreigners aren't delicate.

Posted at 20:35 #

Sat, 8 Nov 2008

Visiting with Kathryn in Villa Rica

We met Kathryn at the bus terminal in the small town of Villa Rica. Her host-father brought us to their home where we had a delicious lunch. Her host father is a very kind and gentle man whose eyes smile. He is not only her host-father but also her service assignment supervisor as the Director for the local hospital also Dr. a clinic that he practices in out of his home. Kathryn has had the opportunity to see a myriad of cases through her service including 20 stitches in the head, parasites and a brain aneurism. She has two host-sisters that she enjoys talking with. Mari, the youngest is especially helpful in explaining the new surroundings. Kathryn's host mother is very kind and hospitable. The family took us to see the sights of the town, including a lagoon with diverse plants, waterfowl and aquatic life. The whole family ended up accompanying us to Oxapampa where Tana works.

Posted at 02:33 #

Visiting with Tana in Oxapampa

Tana works with a program sponsored by Compassion International and run by a local evangelical church. She assists in the kitchen preparing the meals for the soup kitchen as well as helping out in a classroom. Oxapampa is recognized for its population of Germanic descent co-existing with tribes of the area. Although this wasn't overtly present in our visit. We enjoyed bright hot sun shine interspersed with some heavy cold rain. We also briefly visited Tana's host- mother Carla at her workplace and in her home.

Posted at 02:40 #

Mon, 17 Nov 2008

Marita and Emily in Huancayo

Marita and Emily have been serving with two soup kitchens that provide lunches for school aged children and a few elderly. Children arrive between 11am and 2pm. They sometimes assist the women of the community in preparation for the meal as well or take roll of those who come to pick up lunch or eat at the facilities provided by a local religious organization. There are two locations and they trade off working at each one every two weeks. The women who work in the soup kitchen are often mothers of the children who eat there. They rotate every few days so that each take turns working in the kitchen. Pots are put on metal grates over the burning wood and potatoes are boiled, lettuce is soaked, eggs are peeled and meat is fried up in a small area. The women in the kitchen love to joke and laugh and try to teach the girls yet another language (Quechua). There is always more to learn! Marita is staying with a delightful couple who enjoyed telling us the story of their proposal and wedding. They share much joy and are very hospitable for Marita. Emily's has many siblings and enjoys trading language skills with a brother who will be working at a ski resort in Idaho this winter (on their summer break).

Posted at 03:05 #

Visiting with Betsy in Huaral

Betsy lives in Huaral, located two hours north of Lima. The landscape of Huaral is filled with sand dunes, fruit orchards and other vegetable crops. The weathers is similar to Lima’s with a temperature of approximately 60 F. Betsy lives with a family that is very involved in a local church. In fact, the host father is the lead pastor. Betsy has two host brothers and three host sisters. All her siblings have an active role at the church. Her host mother also works at the church. Betsy found a great community and loves getting to know the people who attend the church. Betsy works in almost every area of the church. She helps Cristina, the church’s secretary, in administrative tasks. Betsy also helps with the children’s ministry. She also helps with the junior high, young adults and small groups.

Posted at 10:07 #

Visiting Zach and Francisco in Chancay

Francisco and Zach are living in Chancay, a small coastal town a few hours north of Lima. We started the day off by visiting Zach at his host family’s home. Zach has three host brothers who are happy to spend time with him. Zach’s host dad is a pastor, his host mom is a homemaker. After spending some time visiting the family we went to visit Francisco. He lives 10 blocks away. Francisco has two brothers and a sister. Franciscos’ host parents welcomed us and we talked about life in Chancay. The pace in this small town is definitely different from the fast and noisy Lima although the weather is similar to Lima’s. We continued our day and went to visit the local hospital where Francisco and Zach work. They collaborate with a local NGO called “Bola Roja” (Red ball). This group led by a local woman visits patients and cheers them up dressed up a la “Patch Adams”. Zac and Francisco visit patients three days a week. They have been impressed with the joy and happiness that their visits bring to patients. Zach also teaches English at a local school once a week; he made this connection through his host brother who teaches Italian at the same school. Francisco also spends some of his days helping his host dad at a horse ranch. Zach and Francisco are enjoying their time in Chancay and are amazed at how fast their time is running out in Peru.

Posted at 10:15 #

Visiting Adam at his service location in La Victoria

Adam is living in Barranco, a southern district of Lima. He volunteers at a children’s home in La Victoria district. The home is run by a couple that manage the home. This home serves as refuge for 14 children ages 7-14. These children come from broken homes. A few of the children have lived in this home for 4 or more years. Adam’s main role is to be a friend, helper, tutor and role model. Adam has enjoyed getting to know these children.

Posted at 10:23 #

Wed, 19 Nov 2008

Visiting Jessica and Hannah in Mancos

Jessica and Hannah live in Mancos, Huaraz. This small village is located at around 8,500 feet. Mancos is located in the Callejon de Huaylas, a valley surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Andes. Both are staying with Noemi and Walter, owners of a quaint hostel. From the hostel you can see Huascaran. (22,000 ft.) and enjoy the fresh air. Jessica and Hannah work for World Vision’s education initiative in the area. Their work has mostly consisted of teaching English at a local school. This school serves children from three to five years of age. There are around 60 children in this school including some with learning disabilities and other syndromes. Another aspect of Hannah and Jessica’s job is to help out with health related workshops in nearby villages. Jessica and Hannah are enjoying the fresh air of the area and are getting a lot of exercise because the need to walk up and down a hill (about 1 mile) from their home to the main road to take buses to the various work locations. Jessica has tried guinea pig in Mancos since her host mom has plenty of them.

Posted at 13:20 #

Visiting Jennifer in Tarica

Jennifer is living in Tarica, Huaraz of the mountainous Ancash province. Tarica is known for its mines and has amazing views of the Andes mountain range. Jennifer lives about 1 hour away from classmates Hannah and Jessica. Jennifer lives with a Quechua family; her host parents are Magaly and Victor, have 2 children. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her little sister and enjoys her host-mom's cooking. Jennifer works with World Vision’s office based in Tarica. WV is currently working on an HIV education initiative. They go to the adjacent communities to raise awareness about HIV. Jennifer helps by conducting interviews with members of the community. On her community visits, Jen has experienced food to a different level. As a visitor she is welcomed with respect; this respect translates in receiving vast quantities of staple foods such as potatoes and guinea pig. Jen has had her fair share of food.

Posted at 13:46 #

Visiting Tom and Lauren in Chulucanas

Tom and Lauren live in Piura region which is located in northern Peru about 6 hours from the border with Ecuador and 16 hours from Lima by bus. The weather in Chulucanas was around 90 degrees, very hot and humid. The land is mostly flat and as you near the town of Chulucanas you can find several other villages scattered throughout. Chulucanas is known for its distinctive ceramics, earth-colored pots that depict humans. In fact, Tom’s dad is a ceramic artisan. Tom’s family is big; he has several siblings. Tom’s dad call him “Superman” because Tom like to watch super hero movies. Lauren lives a few blocks from Tom. Lauren’s family consists of two sisters, a dad, a grand mother and a baby. Lauren’s sister is a school teacher. Lauren and her sister came to see me at the bus stop in Chulucanas. I took Tom and Lauren to Piura to buy their tickets back to Lima. Later in the day we went downtown to eat lunch and swim in a small hotel’s pool. We returned to Chulucanas (about 1 hour bus ride) and visited their service location. There I met Elena, the center’s supervisor. We talked about the center’s current vision and challenges. Tom and Lauren work at RBC, Rehabilitation Based on Community. This organization offers physical therapy for children in need. They also have a psychologist and area doctors who come and volunteer at the center. Tom’s main area of work has been to mentor a 16-year old boy who has a disability. They take care of the grounds of the center. Lauren has had the opportunity to do several things at the center. She has worked with deaf children and taught sign language to the staff. Both Lauren and Tom help in the center with whatever is needed however simple and mundane the job is. There are two Swedish young adults who also live in the community and spend time with them. Tom and Lauren attend the same evangelical church 2 or 3 times a week and have had the opportunity to make several friends.

Posted at 15:27 #

Visiting Jordan in Chincha

Jordan lives in Chincha, located 2 hours south of Lima. This town had been hit hard by a previous earthquake more than a year ago. Chincha’s climate is warm and dry. It never rains in Chincha; just like in Lima it only drizzles from time to time. Jordan lives with Edwin and Cecil, both medical doctors, and has 2 siblings. Jordan’s family had a great lunch for us. After eating we went to visit Jordan’s service location. Jordan helps with construction work at a local school. This school is located within a church compound. This is an evangelical church with ties to the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination. Jordan comes to work daily and works with supervisor Enrique. They have completed the construction of a medical center and are currently finishing a kitchen/cafeteria. Working at this compound has given Jordan the opportunity to play with children. These children of all ages like to play with big brother Jordan.

Posted at 16:15 #

Wed, 26 Nov 2008

Visiting Zac in Cusco

Zac works with World Vision in Cusco. When World Vision sponsors send packages to their sponsor child he reviews the package, logs what it contains, logs the questions in the letter and repackages it and puts it in a bag for the community where the child lives. The community receives the bag of packages infrequently. World Vision has appreciated Zac's hard work. He goes in to the office in the morning and leaves sometimes as late as 8 at night, and goes home for lunch mid-day. World Vision complements him on his hard work.

His family eats very healthy and Zac enjoys everything set before him. He has tried many different foods, some unidentifiable. We enjoyed dinner at his host-family's house. After a tour of his neat room and small shower. After dinner we enjoyed sharing tunes of Andean music.

We enjoyed spending the weekend with Zac. He accompanied us to meet the students who were further out of cusco at the Almeria Greenhouse in Katañiray.

Posted at 12:14 #

Visiting Micah, Cal and Tim in Almeria with Zac

We arrived during physical education class. Tim, serving as a teacher at the school was with Micah and Cal, typically in the greenhouse, playing all kinds of unusual children's games. Coca-cola is the favorite, which is freeze tag in the US. Imagine thirty 3rd graders, 5 malos (those who are "it") and the rest are buenos (the good guys). After that they played soccer and some other kind of game whose name couldn't be verified. Where all the girls plus Micah sit lined up and a ball is thrown so while one girl retrieves the ball, the other has to try to get the girl in line out of the line while everyone else is pulling her to keep her in their line. We had fun learning the new games and watching the children interact.

We were surprised how thin, the three had become in a few short weeks. They work hard, and sweat in the green house. After a full day of work sometimes they go and play soccer. We learned about the work in the greenhouse, repairing greenhouses, tracking the watering pipeline, digging up compost and planting seeds. They've had the opportunities to climb some mountain hills and see some spectacular views. On their first day they watched a pig being slaughtered and a pachamanca, a ground oven made with hot rocks covered by banana leaves, a layer of meats, potatotes, peas, and apples. Truly delightful. The boys were looking forward to lunch in a different place so we took them back to Cusco for the weekend and caught up on life as they knew it, and checked out some museums that we hadn't had a chance to go to before. They are very much looking forward to going home. Only a week left for them.

Posted at 17:07 #

Wed, 3 Dec 2008

Peruvian Thanksgiving

Although a truly Peruvian thanksgiving would have been with a guinea pig (cuy), rice and potatoes; we were really looking forward to some traditional Thanksgiving cuisine. Students started arriving from service on Thursday and the last ones straggled in Saturday evening just in time for Thanksgiving dinner that took about three days to prepare.

Thanksgiving was an interesting endeavor with limited space and limited resources. Everyone pitched in and helped make Thanksgiving a success. It really felt like everyone was arriving for thanksgiving much like family would and we were just as happy to see them. Everyone helped either prepare or clean-thanksgiving. Emily learned how to make mashed potatoes, Kathryn pulled off a peanut butter pie and we managed to sneak in a fruit salad and a spinach salad, to the traditional Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole.

Afterwards we gathered for pie and coffee, even some apple juice-turned turned spiced cider. As we gathered we shared what we were thankful for. Though it the students weren't with family, we have been family for the last 90 days.

Posted at 15:21 #

Final Projects and Re-entry Retreat

We were delighted to arrive to warm ocean breeze and bright sunshine after months of rain, mist and sometimes cold temperatures. We ended our time in Peru at a Church Camp sound of Lima. We enjoyed wading in the ocean, swimming in the pool and exploring the critters on the shore. Come evening we had a bonfire with s'mores! We couldn't believe our luck that a local gas station had most of the ingredients for s'mores. We were very pleased.

Between all the fun we managed to present our final projects, have individual meetings, and a debriefing session; although by that time everyone was very restless and ready to be home. The day before our departure some thought it would be nice to arrive to the US tan, so declined sunblock. Much to their chagrin, they forgot that they would be carrying their book bag carry-on, on their backs.

Some of the most memorable moments were, taking the huge bench cushions and trying to knock each other down, usually quite successfully, or catching crabs to roast, only to find out they are poisonous, or re-enacting memorable moments or Goshen College memories of Rot experiences.

We departed for Lima in the morning, to repack our bags, visit families for the last time and make last minute purchases.

Posted at 16:11 #


And they are off! Off to recuperate from stretching and character building, off to find new adventures and share what they've learned through their actions.

The students prepared for departure, packing and repacking, leaving the old, buying new. They crammed, sat on, crushed, shoved, squeezed their bounty into their bags and made their way to the waiting bus. Not before they did a last round of aloe on their sunburns.

Once on the bus, Benadryl kicked in and the hour busride to the airport went by quickly as some napped, some talked about what they missed and others waited anxiously to get on their way. We said goodbye to our 21 students at 11:50 last night and they spent the next 5 hours on the plane to Atlanta. We wish them well and will miss them dearly. Students like these are hard to forget. We wish them well.

Posted at 18:01 #

Goshen College
International Education Office
Kevin Koch
+1 (574) 535-7346