Posted by Kathryn Schmidt; pics by Katie Shank

The Peru unit knows how to throw a party.  These students prepared a delicious meal for 70 people, as well as decorations and entertainment.  It was a beautiful evening.  The word despedida means ‘farewell’ and is a tradition for this unit, each time the study portion ends.  The students have a chance to say “gracias!” to their host families here in Lima, provide an American-style meal and give a bit of a show.  The show this time included a hilarious skit (of course, in Spanish) that included: some jokes about the current Peruvian election, some Inca history and even one director dressed as an alpaca.  The host families absolutely love when Goshen students sing, and this group did not disappoint with several harmonious selections, including the popular Woyaya which many of them sang with GC Choirs.

The meal was fairly elaborate.  Mashed potatoes, shredded barbeque chicken, buns, a huge salad (literally, in a baby bath-tub!), a variety of drinks and a local favorite, Puppy Chow.  Many of our families have hosted multiple GC students for this program, and ask for the treat by name.  (There really is no Spanish equivalent.) The tables each had fresh flowers and the room had a festive atmosphere with streamers and balloons.  Students were eager to catch photos with their host families,  babies were passed around, tears were shed.  It felt like a Goshen/Lima family gathering–what a treat.

Today our students will leave for service.  We have students traveling by bus to the Ayacucho region, the city of Arequipa, as well as Oxapampa and San Ramon.  We also have a small group traveling by plane to San Roque.  We are very excited to visit these students during the next several weeks.

The words for “Woyaya” are very appropriate today as your young loved ones embark on the 2nd half of their journey.  This beautiful song was written by a Ghanaian drummer, Sol Amarifio.  The word Woyaya means “We are going.”  These students certainly are.

We are going, heaven knows where we are going, but we know within.

We will get there, heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will.

It will be hard, we know, and the road will be muddy and rough.

But we’ll get there, heaven knows how we will get there, but we know we will.