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The morning after the despedida, or farewell celebration, Goshen College students gathered at Casa Goshen for their final service orientation.
Students participated in an exercise designed to show them what it might feel like to be poor and disadvantaged – like many people they would encounter on service. We reviewed cultural mores, health advice, academic (and behavioral) expectations and what to do in case of emergency. The students also got their service reading assignments and reminders about logistical matters. And we ended our session with reflections and prayer.
For lunch, students enjoyed pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian dish of smoked chicken, potatoes, yams, green beans and corn seasoned with special herbs. Lunch was prepared by Alicia Taipe Tello, who cooks for students twice per week when they are in Lima. Afterward, we celebrated Gina’s birthday with a delicious chocolate cake.
Then it was time for the students to say goodbye to one another, in many cases for six weeks. The women embraced and some shed tears. The men were stoic and did a kind of sports cheer. The students then left Casa Goshen and had the afternoon free to pack, relax and spend a final evening with their host families.
Over the next two days, the students departed by buses for their service assignments in Chancay, Ayacucho, Tarma, San Ramon, La Merced and San Miguel. There were more tears as students said goodbye to host families at two bus stations, but also smiles in anticipation of new adventures and challenges.