Goshen College students have arrived in Peru – tired, excited and still smiling. United Airlines Flight 1095 arrived just two minutes late from Newark, N.J. Their 169-passenger Boeing 757-200 jet touched down at Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima at 9:07 p.m. Wednesday night (April 30).
The 18 students moved through customs and immigration in less than an hour and were greeted by SST co-leaders Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver and Celia Vasquez, our Lima study coordinator. After retrieving a student immunization accidentally left behind at a customs station, the group gathered in a circle and SST Co-Director Aguirre offered a prayer of thanksgiving for safe travels and for the next three months we will spend together in study and service in Peru.
The SST leaders collected passports, visas and other documents for safekeeping and then distributed to students emergency contact cards, bottled water, packets of crackers and cookies and a bar of Sublime, a delicious Peruvian chocolate bar. Students also gathered for the traditional group photo.
The students then stepped outside to overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-60s– a bit warmer than the weather they left behind in Goshen. After a fairly speedy 35-minute journey by bus, the students arrived at Cirque Hostel, their home for the next two nights, at 11:05 p.m. After stowing luggage in their rooms, some students quickly checked out the rooftop patio. Still, it seemed clear most were tired and ready to sleep after their 19-hour journey.
On Thursday, the students will have breakfast at nearby Casa Goshen (the apartment of the co-directors). Their full day of orientation will include a picnic and visit to the beach and a walking tour of the neighborhood. For now, however, it’s lights out and time for bed. As we have proclaimed after the arrival of prior groups, ”Gracias a Dios, los estudiantes están aquí y están bien (Thank God the students are here and are well)”!