Lima Families Offer a Warm Welcome

Goshen students met their host families on Friday after a summer day spent touring downtown Lima.

With schools closed for vacation and traffic lighter than normal, we made especially good time on the return trip. So good, in fact, that we stopped for ice cream  (the flavors chosen included sauco (a cross between blueberry and blackberry), maracuyá (known in the States as passion fruit) and  mango (same spelling, different pronunciation).

The students had prepared to meet their host parents and siblings by reviewing information about their families, including the locations of their homes, and studying (and practicing) Peruvian greetings and farewells. Celia, our study coordinator, served as the expert in residence, instructing students in women greet women (kiss alongside the cheek), women greet men (kiss alongside the cheek) and men greet men (handshake) — and in all cases, hugs may be part of the greeting as well.

Before host parents began arriving by cab, car or bus to pick up their students at the Anglican Cathedral of the Good Shepherd (La Catedral Anglicana del Buen Pastor), we enjoyed a visit with Rev. Jorge Zamudio, the first Peruvian vicar of what was once an exclusively English-speaking church in Peru. Our lectures and Spanish classes will be held at Buen Pastor and Rev. Zamudio will be one of our first speakers.

For many students, it’s both an exciting and anxious time, sitting alongside each other on the stage of the main hall at Buen Pastor, wondering who will be picked up next. And then, What to say? How to say it?

As each family member arrived, students quickly gathered their belongings, posed for photos and then headed home for a weekend of getting acquainted with new families and neighborhoods. They’ll return to Buen Pastor on Monday morning, for lectures followed by language classes.

As the last student walked out the door, a double rainbow appeared, as if directly above the church. Rev. Zamudio joined us in admiring a sight that is relatively rare in Lima. It was a hopeful note on which to begin a three-month journey in Peru.

Photos by Duane and Karen Stoltzfus and Celia Vasquez