The study portion of the Peru Study Service Term came to a close with a despedida (farewell party) for the Lima host families, language instructors and coordinators. The students sang a couple of songs, performed a skit comparing the life of a student in the US to that of a student in Lima, and thanked their families, teachers, coordinators and directors for the their contributions to the program. The centerpiece of the evening was a play entitled, “The Story of Quinua,” a humorous account of the ancient discovery of this high-protein grain high in the Andes, its use in Peruvian cooking and the health benefits that are now recognized worldwide. Then the students served paneton (a Peruvian cake), puppy chow (the American classic) and hot chocolate to their guests and, family by family, bid them farewell.
The students have departed for their six-week service locations on the coast, highlands and rainforest and now have the chance to say “hola” (hello) to a whole new family — and a whole new way of life — in the distant provinces of Peru.