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The time in Lima drew to a close, and it was time for the Peru Study-Service Term students to say A Dios – go with God – to their host families in Lima. So the students planned a farewell celebration or despedida – a beloved Peru SST tradition.
Since television game shows are popular in Peru, the students decided to include games in the program. Families laughed as volunteers tried to knock over cups with tennis balls tied to the back of their belts, eat donuts on strings, find a small piece of candy in a pile of whipped cream or catch candy tossed toward their mouths. There was even a candy-filled piñata for the children.
The biggest laughs of the evening were for three short plays written and performed by the students. Jonathan Mark as the famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, stole the show with his enthusiastic performance. Other scenes showed students being served dog meat after insisting to a waiter that they wanted to be served “perro caliente” (hot dog), going to a disco, riding on a crowded bus and being thrown from the heights of Machu Picchu by the ghost of the Incan emperor Atahualpa.
Students served “Puppy Chow,” the famous sweet snack of Goshen College dorms, and a variety of other goodies to the families. There were songs, short speeches of gratitude and photos with Spanish teachers and families. Peru SST Co-Directors Richard Aguirre and Judy Weaver thanked parents for the love and support they gave the students. There also words of gratitude by Lima Study Coordinator Celia Vasquez and Service Coordinator Willy Villavicencio.
The best part of the evening, however, was simply time for the students to sit and chat with their host families one last time before leaving for their service assignments. Two days later, students were boarding buses to cities all over Peru.