September 17, 2013

A Full Day of Orientation

Richard and Judy met the students at Casa Miraflores, the hostel where they spent their first night in Peru.

Students received a festive greeting, which was intended for other North American visitors, during their first walk in Lima.

Students received a festive greeting, which was intended for other North American visitors, during their first walk in Lima.

As we set off along the Avenida Comandante Espinar, we suddenly found ourselves walking down a corridor of flag-waving, cheering school children. They were so happy to see us! We had no choice but to keep going until we got through this celebration, so we smiled and nodded. When we had a chance to ask what was going on, we learned that they were waiting to greet some North American visitors and thought we were them. So we received a warm (if mistaken) first-day greeting, which we decided to take as a good omen.

Goshen College students pause in Ovalo Gutierrez for a group photograph. Ovalo Gutierrez,  a large traffic circle surrounded by businesses, is a center of commercial life in the Miraflores and San Isidro districts of Lima.

Goshen College students pause in Ovalo Gutierrez for a group photograph. Ovalo Gutierrez, a large traffic circle surrounded by businesses, is a center of commercial life in the Miraflores and San Isidro districts of Lima.

We walked on to the Ovalo Gutierrez, a big traffic circle and central location for businesses in the Miraflores district, to pose for the traditional first-day group photo, exchange money and buy a few school supplies. Then we walked to Casa Goshen for the day of orientation.

The morning included introductions, an overview of Peru and working through the Orientation Handbook. At lunch time, we walked to the beachside park – just four blocks from Casa Goshen – where we took a stroll on the beach, ate a picnic lunch and had a worship time. We read Genesis Chapter one, “In the beginning…” and reflected that as beings made in the image of God, we are creating something new.

Students enjoy a visit to the Pacific Ocean. Most dipped their hands in the chilly waves.

Students enjoy a visit to the Pacific Ocean. Most dipped their hands in the chilly waves.

It was a chilly, overcast day, and we were glad to return to Casa Goshen for the rest of the afternoon.

In the afternoon, Celia, our Lima coordinator, told us about her family as a way to introduce us to Peruvian cultural mores. She also gave us information on transportation in Lima and taught us how to give a proper Peruvian greeting (brush cheeks and air kiss). Alicia, who does housekeeping in Casa Goshen and cooks lunches for the group three times a week, gave us a delicious fruit-tasting demonstration.

Students sampled tasty fruit from Peru.

Students sampled tasty fruit from Peru.

After a dinner of one of Alicia’s wonderful soups, students received their first assignment and a big pile of books and headed back to the hostel for the night. And there was evening, and there was morning; the first day…

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