A joyous homecoming: Students return from Peru

By Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver
Peru Study-Service Term Co-Directors

Members of Goshen College’s Peru Study-Service Term unit for Summer 2014 arrived back in the United States on Monday afternoon. One student, Leah, left the group in Lima on Sunday night and traveled to Paraguay to visit relatives. Matt left the group in Chicago to travel to Florida for a family vacation. The other 16 students arrived in Goshen on Monday evening – about 20 hours after starting their journey home in Lima.


Students enjoyed a joyous welcome from family members and friends. Alejandro, Andrew, Brian, Brody, Derek Peter, Derek William, Edith, Emma, Jaime, Joel, Lucas, Michael, Miranda, Sierra, Stefan and Tim arrived at the Union Building by bus about 4:30 p.m.


GC Campus News Bureau Coordinator Brian A. Yoder Schlabach, who took the excellent photos that accompany this blog post, described the scene: “It was a beautiful and unseasonably cool day (65 degrees!), mostly sunny, and a nice crowd of students and family were gathered to welcome the students back. Lots of joy, laughter and tears.”


During the students’ long journey home, Director of International Education Tom Meyers provided email updates to Peru SST Co-Directors Richard R. Aguirre and Judy Weaver. Tom’s final update brought us great joy: “The students arrived safely in Goshen … There was a nice crowd of friends and relatives there to greet them.”


In an email, student travel leader Brian described the excitement about returning to campus and the actual welcome: “Most of the bus ride home was calm, with people chatting quietly or falling asleep. But by the time we reached Bristol, everybody was awake and the excitement level was rising. As we drove onto Third Street in Goshen, we broke into a verse of ‘My Soul is Filled with Joy.’ We all got more excited with each stoplight we passed on Main Street.


“There was a cheer as the bus door opened, and we all rushed off the bus. I had a huge smile on my face as I went over to my parents. I felt just pure happiness to see them again, maybe a bit of relief, too. I think many of us had been imagining this moment for a little while now, or at least counting down to it, and it was hard to believe it was finally here. Everybody lingered around the Union, making their way from parents to the many Goshen College students that showed up for the homecoming. There were plenty of hugs, smiles, laughs, and I think a few tears,” wrote Brian.