Peter McGovern ’11

Today, after a very difficult final, I finished my two semesters in Peru. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone by. I’m excited to have finished, but every day I realize I have very little time left here…right now I only have about three weeks left…then it’s back to Boston and back to work.

Something I haven’t had a chance to write about yet is last Saturday, July 3. My students (from Fe y Alegría and I) went on a “field trip” to Lima. As I’ve written about before, my students are the poorest of the poor and although they only live about forty-five minutes outside of Lima they haven’t been to a lot of the major sites (for example, the main plaza). We went to the Center of Lima, La Iglesia San Francisco y las Catacumbas, had lunch at my house, Miraflores, Barranco, and had dinner at a very nice restaurant in Larcomar (an upscale mall). The lunch at my house was delicious and the dinner was kindly donated by Café Café, a nice restaurant/café the overlooks the water. It was an incredible day. My boys had such a great time and I think they learned a lot. Where they live and where we went are two completely different worlds. The separation between rich and poor in Lima is striking. I am hoping the in the next couple weeks I will be able to plan another field trip or dinner for the kids before I leave.



***I still cannot upload pictures; I will get them up ASAP…

This past week, July 19-July26, twelve high school students from my high school, Catholic Memorial Schools in West Roxbury, Massachusetts came to Peru. This trip is one of many offered by the Brother Edmund Rice Solidarity Initiative (BERSI) and was the fourth annual trip to Peru. It has special significance to me because four years ago, when I fell in love with Peru, I came with the BERSI program. Now, several years after my BERSI experience I find myself here studying in Peru for an entire year…

I worked with the high school students as a leader and guide. We saw all the touristy attractions of Lima, but something special about this trip is we also work and go into the poor neighborhoods and Pueblos Jovenes. We spend two days at Fe y Alegría N°26, where I volunteer, painting houses, one day in Villa Salvador and another day in Jicamarca—all poor in the outskirts of Lima.

I was with the students every day and all day and in the night, when I had a chance I would study for my finals, which are coming up next week. The students left last night and although I am completely exhausted it was such a great experience—one of my most memorable weeks here in Peru. I’ve attached a couple pictures of the group working in Canto Grande and other barrios that we visited.



**Right now I cannot upload fotos….I will do that as soon as the server problem is fixed!!

Just a quick note today…I was at Fe y Alegría today, not working with my group, but a group from the USA that’s building a house in the community surrounding the school. It was a really nice day. The family they were building the house for regularly goes to Mass in the local church and were selected because we know they will keep the house in good shape.

On another note, here is a picture that I took last week at the school; it’s the most recent group shot I have of my group. Two weeks from this coming Saturday we have a trip planned to Lima. Although these kids technically live in Lima most of them have never actually been into the city or have seen all of the famous churches, museums, etc. So I am going to have them at my house for lunch and then plan a day of sightseeing. They are all really excited, I hope they enjoy the day…I’ll upload pictures as soon as I have them!


Last week one of my good friends from middle school, Kim, came down to visit me. We spent the weekend in Arequipa, one of my favorite cities…and definitely one of the prettiest in Peru, and then we spend the week traveling in Lima to all the best sites and she came to a couple of my classes with me to see what my university was like.

In Arequipa we literally did everything there is to see, including the Canon Colca, which I hiked with the Holy Cross girls a couple months ago. This time around we didn’t have the time to do a full hike, but we did go for one full day (literally a full day, 2am to 7pm), to the Canon. It’s a long day, but it’s totally worth it. We saw at least 15 condors, which is rare. They are impressive in size and fly gracefully of the canon. It’s an incredible site. We also did the famous sites like The Founder’s House and Santa Catalina’s Convent. I also introduced my friend to some Peruvian dishes—anticuchos, chupe de camaroncitos, lomo saltado and aji de gallina (and by the time she left the following week I made sure she had tried every major dish).

Then, arrive to Lima Monday morning, July 7, we rushed to my house, showered, and went straight to my first class. Then during the week we saw lo mejor de Lima—Downtown, Miraflores, Barranco, and we were able to fit in a couple nice dinners, like at La Rosa Naútica, which is on a dock in the water and has an amazing view.

It was great to see her….THANKS FOR COMING KIM! I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends when I go home (although it will be incredibly sad to leave, but I’ll get into that in a later blog post).

Here I am including a picture of us having dinner with one of my friends, Rey, in Larcomar and another of Kim and I after lunch at La Rosa Naútica in La Costa Verde.


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  • May 24th, 2010

Everything has been going great in Lima. As I mentioned before a couple times a week I volunteer at a high school, Fe y Alegria, where I work with “kids in danger.” These kids have poor family situations, bad grades, many of them are repeating a year, etc. They just had their midterms a week ago and I was ecstatic to find out they were doing so well. Here mid-terms and finals are a very important part of their grade. Every single student has improved and even one will be leaving the group because he did so well and no longer needs the extra help. This student, Jean Carlos, is number five in his class. This is a huge improvement from his past years, and I’m really happy for him.

Here I’m including a picture of the group. These are the kids I work with on a regular basis. This semester in particular I have grown really close with my group, especially with a couple of the students, which really makes me happy. They have such poor living conditions   that most of them have not had a very supporting childhood and since I am not much older than them we are able to do work while maintaining a “brother” or “friend” relationship.



So I’ve also noticed a “sorry I haven’t written in a while” trend in my blog. I guess it’s not good I don’t write enough…but I guess it’s a good thing I’m so busy and having a great time! But, really, sorry I haven’t written in a while, haha. I’m going to use “homework and studying” as my excuse…

Wow! I’ve been so busy the past couple weeks studying and doing all the “mid-semester-work”. I just had my last final of the week this morning in my class: Modern Peruvian Poetry. Next week I still have two exams and then I am done with big tests until finals. I cannot believe I am more than half-way done with exams and the semester and I only have about eight weeks left of school! This weekend will be fairly busy getting ready for my final two exams, but I am hoping to go to Huaraz, with one of my friends and stay with his aunt.

Finally, Happy Mother’s Day! Especially to: my mom and my nana…and James, congratulations on your First Holy Communion last Saturday. Also, congrats to all the HC seniors who will be graduation soon…and all of my friends at Holy Cross who are finished classes this week and are only days away from Summer! I’ll see you guys in a couple months!

I promise to write soon…I’m going to try and squeeze in a little studying before going out to see the game tonight…ALIANZA vs. La U de Chile……..espero q gane alianza…..



Sorry I haven’t written in so long! I have been crazy busy with classes, I had to fly back to the USA for a week, and this past weekend I was traveling in Peru…but I am finally back in my house in Lima…

Classes started about three weeks ago. This semester I am taking five classes and they all seem like great classes. For my political science classes both of my professors are pretty well-know/famous in Peru so the classes have been really interesting so far; they are both very intelligent. I am taking two political science courses, one science engineering course, a class about Latin American poetry, and the required Holy Cross Castellano course.

This past weekend (since Thursday) for Semana Santa I went on a road trip with three friends: Daniel, Juan Pablo, Leandro to Barranca, about three hours north of Lima. There we met up with another friend, Jorge and he showed us around his city. The beaches were beautiful and Friday we went to Caral, which are the ruins of the oldest city in the Americas—around 2500BC. The only “disappointment” of the trip was when we went to eat Tacu-Tacu (rice mixed with beans and sometimes also has a meat or chicken)…supposedly the best in Peru…and they ran out; they waitress took our order and then told us ten minutes later that there was no food left. I got back to Lima on Saturday and after spending a couple hours working on my essay I headed to Chincha, south of Lima. Last night, with Rey and Claudia, I went to a traditional Yunza en El Carmen and then to Esporia, the big discoteca in Chincha. It was a great/long night, but it’s nice to finally be back in Lima.

Now I have an essay to write for class tomorrow morning…but I will be sure to right again soon!

¡Feliz Pascua! / Happy Easter!

As soon as I get the pictures from my trip up I will be sure to upload a few!


Sorry I haven’t written in a while! Today I finally have some time to sit down and write a bit.

Everything here is great. I start classed March 15 so I only have a couple weeks of summer to enjoy. In the last few daysDSCN0399 I have attempted to pick classes and attempt to put together a schedule for the semester. The past few weeks I’ve been keeping busy with a Karate Class at a nearby Martial Arts center, reading, and going out with friends. I have also been making the itinerary for a group of high school students that are coming to Peru in June from my high school…I am going to be one of the chaperones for the trip, as well as the translator. This Thursday I am also looking forward to a writing seminar I am taking at La Católica. It will be a good review and good practice before the start of the semester!

Right now Peru, in the days following the big earthquake in Chile — 8.8 on the Richter scale, has Tsunami warnings so I’ve haven’t been to the beach. I have heard even a few of the major beaches on the Lima coast are closed due to the DSCN0518Tsunami warnings. In El Correo, a Peruvian newspaper I am reading at the moment, it says about 1.5 million household were affected by the quake. This is one of the worst earth quakes Latin America has seen in many years. The only Earthquake stronger than this one was in Chile on May 22, 1960 which was measured at 9.6 on the Richter scale.

In the past couple weeks I have also been able to meet up with the new Holy Cross students: Conor Donoghue ’11, Samantha Howland ’11, and Yazeirys Pena ’11. Last week I also went with them to El Parque de los Aguas.

This past weekend several friends (Rey, Daniel, Juan Pablo, and Puma) went out with some of our new friends—from Worcester, MA—who are volunteering here at a local orphanage. It was DSCN0498memorable night. The girls (volunteers) that we went out with have only been here for a couple weeks and as we shared experiences and talked about the culture I remembered arriving here in July and how far I’ve come since then—with both the language, Castellano, and the culture. I feel very comfortable and at home here, but spending a night with people new to Lima made me remember this long process to where I am today.

Next weekend I think I will be heading back down south, to Chincha, to attend some of the festivities of Verano Negro: an important tradition in Chincha and specifically El Carmen. Until then I will be busy with an Aikido (type of karate) class I have been taking, picking my classes, and spending some extra time with friends before the start of the semester.

I’ll be sure to write soon!


I just got back to Lima last night after a three week visit back home to Boston. I arrived with all of my luggage and when I “pushed the button” I got a green! Haha. (That means that customs does not rip apart everything I brought with me).

Since we are in the middle of summer down here in Lima, Boston was extra cold since I am not use to the cold weather.

My family at my going away party

Luckily it didn’t snow much…just once…which was perfect. I just wanted to see the snow while I was home.

When I got home my family and I had a “mini-Christmas” since I wasn’t home for the actual holiday. The rest of the time I spent around my house, with my family, visiting my grandparents who live nearby, and spending time with friends from home as well as visiting Holy Cross a few times. It was great spending some time at home with my family. And just like in July when I left, my parents had another going-away party so I was able to see a bunch of my family. This time for the going away party I made Pisco Sours, a typical Peruvian drink, to share with my family. It wasn’t the best Pisco sour I have had in my life, but I think they came out okay.

Here in one of the pictures I am with my mom’s half of the family: my grandparents, my cousins, my sisters, and myself. This was during my going away party, which was complete with a cake that said “See you in July” in Spanish!

Pisco Sour!

During my trip I also made it into the city twice! I absolutely love Boston and was glad that I was able to spend two days, one downtown and one a Northeastern University, walking around the city and taking some pictures to show my Peruvian friends and family.

Today, I am going to be spending sometime visiting friends, and tonight I am going to see Avatar 3-D (the movie) in a new theater in Lima! I also hoping to meet up with the three new Holy Cross students that have come to Peru for the semester; I am looking forward to a many more great experiences this semester.

“I’m wicked excited to be back in Lima!”



Well, I am finally back in Lima after almost four weeks of traveling. Since December 23 I was south of Lima with a friend from the University, Rey, and his family for the holidays until January 8 when we arrived back in Lima and two hours later boarded another bus north to Mancorá, Tumbes, an Piura; three well-know cities in the North of Perú.

First, Chincha. I had a great time with my friend, his family, his cousin, and his grandparents for Christmas. It was the first Christmas I have spent away from home, but I am really glad I took advantage of the opportunity and stayed in Peru for the holidays this year. For Christmas it is typical to eat turkey and they always have dinner at midnight, and then open presents. I know at least in my family, the presents and family parties were always during Christmas Day. Several days later, for New Years, we had another family dinner and stayed in the house with the family until midnight to celebrate with pisco (a alcohol that is popular here) before going out to a local club were we “celebrated” the New Year. It was a great night…it began around 7pm December 31 and ended around 8:30am January 1 and I have some great pictures, hahahaa.

During my time in Chincha I also spend a lot of time at the beach, enjoying the nice sunny weather in Peru, played basketball at the local sports complex, visited El Carmen a district in Chincha that is historically all black and has a very interesting and unique history.

Two memorable experiences while in Chincha was the birthday celebration of Rey’s (my friend) grandmother, la mamá, and a mass we went to in El Carmen where Rey’s cousin, Guillermo played el cajón, a typical Peruvian percussion instrument. For the birthday party of la mamá we all sang happy birthday at midnight and Rey’s cousins who play guitar and cajón played along and then we enjoyed aguadito a typical Peruvian soup.
Then, after my two weeks in Chincha, I then went up north to enjoy the famous beaches of Peru in Moncorá, Los Manglares in Tumbes, and the city of Piura. It was a great vacation and I was able to spend a lot of time at the beach…and the beach for me is one of the best vacation spots.

Now I have a couple days to get settled back into Lima and January 19 I am flying to Boston to visit my family, grandparents, and friends for two weeks. I am very excited about seeing my family and friends although I am also happy to say I will miss Peru while I am gone. With my great friends and family here in Peru I have never found myself really home sick saying “I need to go home”.

I’m on my way out now…I have some more last minute shopping to do. I was to get a couple more small gifts for my parents and sisters!