This morning the students, all 21 of them, boarded a bus for the central region of Peru to begin their six-week service assignments.
Three will volunteer in Tarma, a beautiful city located in the Andean highlands, teaching in a Catholic school and working with children in a program sponsored by Compassion International. Six will live and work in the sister cities of San Ramon and La Merced, spending time with kids in an after school program, teaching at a school for special needs, assisting at a medical clinic and volunteering at a fair-trade coffee organization.
Two will live in Oxapampa, home to the descendents of European immigrants who settled in the Peruvian rain forest in the 19th century, one volunteering at a hospital and another at an after-school program. Two others will work at a hospital in Villa Rica, the coffee capital of Peru. Four will be based in a native Ashaninka village and four more will live and work among the Yanesha people, assisting with a variety of projects involving education, health and ecotourism.
The excitement was palpable as the students hugged their Lima families goodbye and began boarding the bus for points east.