Dissolving Borders | Day 5 in Peru | Exploring Lima & the Surco YMCA


Today we actually had a minute to enjoy the beautiful city of Lima!

Our host Paco took us on a tour of a Franciscan Cathedral and the catacombs. I was most fascinated by the beautiful tile work that reminded me of Morocco and Spain. Immediately outside we were offered churros which were stuffed with caramel. Who could say no? Absolutely delicious! We also made a quick stop into the chocolate museum to do a tasting of chocolate tea and Suspiro Limeno.


We made it to the Plaza Mayor so we could see El Palacio de Govierno and the Lima Cathedral.

We tried to stay on schedule to get to the Surco Y (about 20 miles from where we stayed) but it took about an hour and a half to get to that area. Traffic here is a beast!! As seems to be required here, we stopped for lunch and I finally got my ceviche! It was fantastic along with the freshest octopus I ever had. After the delicious lunch it was time for our work day to begin.


We went to the Surco branch and got a tour from the executive director, Luis. (We spent last Sunday with him as well watching Peru beat Saudi Arabia in futbol.) Surco is a fitness, membership and afterschool facility.



What was most interesting is that they have managed to engage their members ages 25 to 29 in social programs. Claudia (director of the program) shared that it has been difficult but she is proud of her progress. In Surco they also have a growing senior member population which we discussed in depth. However, I must admit, translating “Pickleball” into Spanish was a futile exercise! Their afterschool program focuses on continued learned and the expectation of parents is that their child will do better in school as a result of participating in the program. They did have the most difficult time understanding that our program is to support the working parent rather than continue the education process.



Luis was sure to tell us that in Peru they “Live to eat, not eat to live!” So, of course, they made more food for us to eat during the meeting that went well into the evening.

I think exhaustion has finally set in, when we got back to our hostel at 9pm we passed out! (except for Eva who finally got to catch up with her sister who lives here).

Only two days left and still so much to do!


Pam Halpin

Pam Halpin


Email: pam.halpin@thesay.org

Phone: (908) 273-3330 ext. 1134



To learn more about various upcoming events at the Summit Area YMCA, please visit www.thesay.org/calendar 

About the Summit Area YMCA 

The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need. To strengthen your community and provide others with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, make your tax-deductible donation today at www.thesay.org/give