Our 18 Goshen College students returned safety to Lima on July 24 from Ayacucho, Chiclayo, La Merced, Oxapampa, San Miguel, San Ramon and Tarma. They never looked so good and we (Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver) were thrilled to see them! And as pleased as they may have been to see us, they were ecstatic to see each other. It had been almost six long weeks since they were together.
Our summer group of students grew close after arriving in Peru on April 30. Alejandro, Andrew, Brian, Brody, Derek Peter, Derek William, Edith, Emma, Jaime, Joel, Leah, Lucas, Matt, Michael, Miranda, Sierra, Stefan and Tim genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and got to know each other well during our study period of class lectures, Spanish classes, field trips and a week-long journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu. So returning to Lima was like a homecoming celebration.
As the students started arriving about 7 a.m. Thursday at Casa Goshen (in the San Isidro district of Lima) after overnight bus trips, they wore broad smiles, laughed and greeted each other warmly with hugs, hugs and more hugs. Students talked and laughed amid piles of suitcases and backpacks.
In what has become a Peru SST tradition, we treated the students to a U.S.-style breakfast – pancakes, sausage, fruit, coffee and tea. Many dozens of pancakes were cooked and consumed over three hours. Most students had seconds and a few had thirds and fourths. All said they enjoyed familiar food after weeks of Peruvian meals.
After turning in assignments, filling out evaluation forms, returning books and taking care of other housekeeping chores, the students headed out to spend the afternoon and evening with their Lima host families and to do some last-minute shopping. Overnight, they were staying at Cirque Hostel, which is four blocks from Casa Goshen.
On Friday, July 25, students will head to the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (Buen Pastor) for some final academic work – a final quiz and an oral Spanish language evaluation. We then will leave for our concluding time together at a Christian retreat center called Kawai, located on the beach about an hour and a half south of Lima. The retreat center consists of an eclectic collection of buildings amid well-landscaped grounds, just a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean. It promises to be an enjoyable time of reflection, relaxation and recreation.