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Archive for January, 2012

Sorry for the lack of blogs recently.  As you all could probably guess, we have been very busy!  In short, this is what we have been up to since the New Year:

  • Soaking up our last few days in Trinidad – including several delicious home cooked meals with Lourdes; a farewell lunch with some our work friends, Juan, Karla, and Flor; a farewell party organized by the mayor with all of the municipality workers; and of course all of the dreaded goodbyes.

Dinner at Lourdes' with Lourdes Maria and the newest member of the clan

Our despedida with the Mayor and Vice-Mayor

Goodbye lunch with Juan, Flor, & Karla (carne asada - yum!)

Lourdes with her mom, her two daughters (in front of me), her sister (in red), and her niece (in black), and Paco the parrot

Lourdes and I with a gift I embroidered for her

  • Packing things to bring home, selling the big items (bed, stove, fridge, and 2 dressers), and giving away everything else.

Goodbye house

Goodbye Pulgui (neighbor's dog)

  • Loading up with the other PCVs from the Santa Bárbara department and heading to Teguc (on a private, chartered bus).

PC chartered us a really nice bus. Leather recliners, wow.

  • Attending a four day conference in Teguc put on by PC Washington staff (aka The Big Dogs).
  • Enjoying our last few nights with our PC friends.

David and Carlos, PC staff

  • Saying goodbye to Honduras and heading to RDU via Miami.
  • Saying goodbye to our closest PCV friends (who all had connections in Miami as well).

Miami airport - $8 beers with friends (Mark and Christine in the background)

  • Arriving home to our families and our long lost puppy dog (who was overjoyed, to say the least).

We'll miss you, Honduras.

Many of you have probably seen Honduras in the news these past few weeks.  Although many things are true – Honduras does have the world’s highest murder rate, narco trafficking is out of control and highly to blame for the violence, and there is a high level of poverty – we also want you to remember the stories shared through our blog.  The stories that showed good, honest people living their lives the only way they know how.

David and I were lucky (and hyper-vigilant).   We never had a security incident in Honduras although we knew many other people who did.  We love Honduras and the people we met there who shared their lives and their homes with us.  We hope that with the increased awareness about the situation in Honduras that the country can receive the help it needs.

For now we are home in Raleigh on a 30 day Administrative Hold.  Towards the end of February we will be heading out on our “Big Trip” through Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  We’ll be blogging a bit more in the meantime and then more consistently throughout our trip.  Thanks for all of your support throughout our 23 months in Honduras!

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The Guilty Gringo

There’s only one week left in Trinidad and, naturally, I’m feeling a bit emotional about our impending departure.  Peace Corps is one of those rare experiences in life (for a million reasons) but mainly because throughout the entire experience you always know when it’s going to end, down to the date.  The first few months in country it seems impossible that you can make it 27 months but eventually there are more months behind you than there are ahead and you start thinking about packing up and leaving.  Not to mention the fact that our departure date has been sped up by 3 months.  How can it already be time to leave when in some ways it feels like we just got here?

Don’t get me wrong – I am looking forward to coming home to the States.  I miss my family and friends, familiar places, and all the luxuries of life in the US.  But I also have this nagging feeling that has been building for a while.  Peace Corps says that the crime level is out of control and volunteers are in danger so we must retreat back to the safety of our own country, but what about the innocent people of our town who just want to live in peace?  In the past few weeks we’ve heard several Trinitecos say, “If I had a visa then I’d be out of here too!”  I can’t help but feel guilty that we can just leave when things get too rough when none of our Honduran friends have that option.

I’m also dreading saying our goodbyes, in general, but specifically to a couple of people who we have become rather close with.  My closest friend, Lourdes, who is like an aunt to us, took us in on Christmas and New Year’s Eve (when all other Hondurans are with family) and is now inviting us over to dinner every night.  The other day she fought back tears while asking me how she could go about sending me things to the States.  I thought she meant a card or letters but she said, “What about when I want to send you tamales, or homemade bread, or coffee?”

There are tons of things that I won’t miss about Honduras – our house that never seems clean, enormous spiders, lack of food variety, just to name a few – but this place has been our home for the past 2 years.  We definitely lacked many of the creature comforts of home but we also enjoyed a lot of freedoms that we didn’t have in the States, like being able to eat breakfast together every day.  It’s also been really nice not having the pressure to buy the newest things, wear the trendiest clothes, or go on the most exotic vacations.  Of course, I’m looking forward to having some new things again but after seeing with my own eyes the poverty that some people in the world live in, that guilty feeling creeps up again.

I know this is a struggle that all Peace Corps volunteers face at the end of their service.  I also know that over time the readjustment will become easier, but after living here I can’t feign ignorance anymore.  So the question becomes: how do we take what we’ve learned here and continue (trying) to make a difference in the world while still living a “normal” American life?  I have a feeling that one’s going to take a while to figure out.

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