Friday night we celebrated our time here in Lima with a big party, or despedida, for our families and friends. We thanked the host families for welcoming the students into their homes and their hearts. We thanked the language instructors, Leo and Oswaldo, for teaching them how to communicate more effectively. We thanked Celia for coordinating our program here in Lima. We thanked Alicia for helping out with Goshen Tambo and hosting us at her home in Villa Maria. And we thanked Willy for guiding us during our visits to the new settlements south of Lima.
We said our thanks with words, dance and song. And a skit about a hurried ride in a combi, or mini-bus, through the streets of Lima. And many hugs and handshakes and smiles.
Saturday we met as a group to debrief and prepare for the next six weeks of service in the provinces outside Lima. Two students will serve six hours north of here along the coast. Two will serve in the upper rain forest. And the rest will live high in the Andes, serving in the provinces of Ayacucho, Ancash and Cusco.
Students boarded buses to their respective locations on Saturday night and Sunday morning. They are grateful for the weeks spent here learning about the culture, history and socioeconomic reality of life in Peru. Now they are excited for the next step in their journey, anxious to meet new host families and begin working on their service projects Monday morning.