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Dan-H24, ¿Cómo puedo ayudarte?


Dan, you mentioned that you were interested in my experiences in Peru.  I was looking for a way to just message with you but that doesn't seem to be an option here at RS.  Anyways, I'm here in Peru as a missionary.  I was here from June 2015 to January 2016 and returned to Peru again in September 2016.  The first trip was really just to concentrate on language learning.  It was during this time that I felt God wanted me to stay in Peru full-time and that is why I returned.  I haven't ever lived with a local family.  Right now I have my own apartment.  The nice thing is that it's only one block away from a good friend and we always eat lunch together.  Of course this is great for Spanish practice.  Being single also helps because I don't have any one in the house to speak English with.  (hanging preposition)  If I want to talk with someone it has to be in Spanish.  This type of immersion is what is impossible to have with any online language learning course or a classroom course that is not in a country of that language.

​Dan, feel free to ask me whatever questions or give whatever commentary you want.  I don't know that I answered all your questions just now, but it's a start.



Of course others can participate, it's just that Dan is the one behind this.   :)


Jeff: thanks for your reply. If I may ask, what sort of missionary work are you doing there? Helping build things, ministering to people, something else? I am also interested in the kind of place you are living...a large city like Lima, or a small village...near the coast or up in the highlands?

The reason for all of my questions is that I am contemplating a long visit to South America. I want to travel around some and see things such as Machu Picchu, el Salar de Uyuni, Tierra del Fuego, and, for some childish reason, I want to stand on the equator.

But I also feel that I should give something back to the people of South America while I am there. I have been tutoring a recent emigre from Cuba and am finding that very rewarding, so teaching English is high on my list. I am just exploring options right now, and your perspectives are very helpful.

BTW, I am glad to learn your real name. In my first career I was a fire chief. The City Manager's secretary was from Panama and always called me "jefe." So when I read your username here I am reminded of her.


Well here's a start.

My missionary work is helping existing evangelical churches here that may be struggling and desire help.  If they don't want my help, that's fine.  I'm not forcing myself on any of them.  These churches are also non-denominational and so they don't have a large organization behind them to help out when there are struggles.  Mostly this involves teaching/preaching the Bible (in Spanish of course).  I've attached myself to a solid church in Arequipa and the brothers here are very helpful to me with my Spanish and have become a second family to me.

​That answers another question in that I'm currently living in Arequipa, a city of nearly 1,000,000 people.  However, right now I'm concentrating on my Spanish and ministry opportunities with other Peruvians from Arequipa as they make trips to other villages in the surrounding areas.  Later I may take up a second home in one of the villages for a few months to help out in a more consistent and visible way in order to gain their trust.  This will by nature almost require me to begin learning Quechua at some point in the next year or so.

​Arequipa has a desert climate and is at 8,500 ft above sea level at the base of the Andes and specifically at the base of 3 volcanoes, one of which is still considered slightly active.

​In the larger cities like Arequipa, Lima, Pucallpa, etc. there are always English language classes that are eager to have native speakers, such as yourself, come in and help out.  Sometimes it's just to have conversation in English in order to put into practice the things they've learned in high school or college.  You could also go to the local plaza at any pueblo and offer to hold a week or month worth of English classes for free and you'd probably never lack students.  Almost everyone wants to learn English that I've come in contact with.

​I've also been to Bolivia three times and Mexico a couple of times.  It's interesting to see the differences and similarities between the cultures.  And every place on your list is on my list also, including standing on the equator.  :D  So plan your trip and take it.

And whatever you do, remember every country will have it's specialty of food, so take your appetite.  Go eat where the locals eat, even if it means risking a week of diarrhea.  Medicine is cheap and you don't need a prescription.  Just tell the pharmacist your symptoms and they will prescribe you something or if you need to you can visit a doctor.  They too are inexpensive.  Anyways back to the subject of eating with the locals. This will get you away from the tourists and you be able to see a little more of the culture that most people never see.

​As far as my name goes, my dad always called me "Jefe" for as long as I can remember and it wasn't long before my brothers were all calling me "Jefe" also.  When playing a car racing video game years ago with my nephew, my player name was "jefe."  When I passed him during the race he yelled out with his incorrect pronunciation, "jeef just passed me.  Who's jeef?"  At this remark everyone broke out in laughter and corrected him.  The next day I changed my name to "hefay" and I've been "the_hefay" ever since.  And now you know the important stuff.  :D


Dan, I just wanted to let you know I finally got my residency visa for Peru.  That means no more limits on how long I can stay.  ¡Viva el Perú!

As I'm sure you know from your travels, each country's visa regulations are different.  Peru allows up to six months on a tourist visa and there's no charge for it.  It's just the passport stamp at the border.  I understand that Chile is similar.  Bolivia, however, is a different story.  Right now, the best option for Bolivia is to get your visa in the States if Bolivia is your first stop.  If it's not, you can still get it in the States or you can visit most Bolivian Consulates in whatever country you are in at the time.  I recently did my Bolivia visa in Puno, Peru.  Bolivia does require a letter of invitation or flight and hotel reservations.  It's an interesting visa.  It costs $160, but is good for multiple entries with no further cost.  In short it allows up to 90 days each year for 10 years.  I'm not familiar with the other South American countries, but hopefully this gives you a little idea of what it will take to cross the borders.


Jeff: Felicitaciones, y gracias por la información.


Interesting to read.  I spent some time in Peru many years ago.  Arequipa, Camana, Hilo, Juliaca, Puno, Cuzco, Ayacucho, with a quick trip to Arica, Chile and La Paz, Bolivia for VISA purposes.  Sadly, I didn't speak a lick of Spanish at the time, but the friend I went with was fluent, so I did learn a little.  
I would love to go back someday, particularly now that I can communicate at least the basics.  

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