Our two days of orientation covered the basics of life in Lima—transportation, communication, money, health, and safety, among other topics—as well as some long walks, short bus rides, and exciting taxi rides. The students got their first look at Goshen Tambo (the directors’ home and heart of Peru SST operations, where the group will gather every Wednesday) and also the classrooms at Santa Maria Reina Church, where they’ll be attending lectures and Spanish classes. They met Celia Vasquez, our study coordinator; Willy Villavicencio, our service coordinator; and Alicia Taipe Tello, our assistant at Goshen Tambo.
The group’s first lunch–a picnic on one of the bluffs overlooking the ocean–was followed with some playtime at the park and a brisk walk down many, many stairs to get a closer look at the Pacific. We wandered through a mercado, strolled past some Incan ruins, and got a quick lesson in changing money and buying phone cards.
The SSTers also exercised their taste buds with some Peruvian fruit (including chiramoya, granadilla, lúcumo, maracuya, aguaje, pepino, tuna, mango, and caña de azúcar), and dinner the first night included Peruvian dishes lomo saltado (rice, beef, potatoes, tomatoes) and tallarines criollo (noodles with vegetables) and bright yellow Inca Cola. As we wrapped up orientation and closed out our two days together, we broke out the Sing the Journey hymnal for a little worship time before we met the host families.
Plenty of smiles and hugs were exchanged as eager host families arrived to meet their new “kids,” and each student will spend the rest of the weekend getting to know his or her new family, new home, and new neighborhood.