MISSOULA, Mont. — For over a decade, a Montana Tech pastor has been taking students to work with churches and schools in Peru, but his recent trip has fallen right in the middle of a coronavirus travel ban.
“We are in the best place we can be at the time,” said pastor Mark Arbaugh, in charge of BSU, a Christian club on campus.
He and three students are in Lima, Peru. They were supposed to leave early Monday morning after spending the week there, but no commercial flights have flown in or out of Peru since March 13.
Only one person per group or family can leave to get groceries. So while Arbaugh gathers empanadas, his students stay at the hotel, work out and get homework done.
“Me and the two other students that are here were able to attend our lectures and get our homework in remotely,” said Montana Tech student Adriene Horn, “so that definitely relieves a lot of stress.”
While the group says they feel safe and taken care of, Arbaugh worries about other people’s situation.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like for the Peruvian mother knowing her kids are in America, they are separated. I think there’s about 3,000 Peruvians that are going to school of some kind in the U.S. right now. It really is a big two-way street of how you get them here if all the commercial flights are canceled and how do you get us out of here if everything is canceled,” he said.