Thursday, January 5, 2012
Monday, January 2, 2012
Our girls and women's soccer team wearing our new uniform. We purchased the uniform after hosting a town dance on Christmas Eve. Plus check out our cleats (Thanks Anne!) and our soccer ball (Thanks Makenna!). On the right is Yuri our trainer and Honoria our President, and her son Esteven. I'm standing next to Noelia the captain.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
On Dec. 20th all Peace Corps volunteers in Honduras received word that due to the increase in violence in Central America volunteers would be pulled out of country and placed on administrative hold until staff can restructure the program and review which sites are safe to return to. Until we leave the country we are on Standfast, which means we are prohibited from leaving our communities.
For several months now volunteers have spoken about the possibility that the country would close. The security situation is something I’ve dealt with privately for my entire service. It’s a topic I was reluctant to bring up with all of you or write about on my blog for fear that doing so would make my loved ones worry and jeopardize my ability to continue working in my community.
I’ve been lucky to escape the worst of the violence. I’ve reported five incidents to Peace Corps Honduras that occurred over the last year however the incidents were minor. No one was physically hurt and life moved on.
I love Honduras in a way I can’t express. The relationships I made with my host family and my community have profoundly changed my life and made me see myself from a different perspective. When I arrived here I lacked the words to express myself in Spanish. Instead I learned how to be quiet and listen as people explained to me what it means to be a Honduran. I’ve learned how to deal with failure and I’ve gotten over my fear of making a fool of myself. I’ve learned to accept charity from those who have very little themselves. I’ve done good work here. I’m proud of the projects I leave behind.
With the 9th grade students we applied for, received, and administered a $2,000 grant with which we painted murals depicting our town’s natural resources and endangered animals and with which we installed recycling bins and taught the kids how to use them. With my teachers we organized trash pick-up days and taught over 40 environmental education classes. Working with a fellow volunteer we wrote formal lesson plans and created a yearlong environmental education curriculum, which with funding from our municipality reached over 800 students in the first year. In my spare time I taught English classes, facilitated a pen pal program between Honduran and American students, and was treasurer for our newly formed women’s soccer team. Just this last weekend we successfully finished raising funds to purchase team uniforms. It was an incredibly constructive year and a half.
Yet I had so many things I still hoped to accomplish. My town council and I are in the middle of applying for funding to complete a latrine project, we had hoped to write a middle school edition to our environmental education manual and expand the reach of our elementary school manual, and I planned to continue giving English classes. Plus I hoped to be here as my host cousin finds out if he will receive a scholarship to study in the states that we’ve been working towards for the last several months and be present as my 1-year-old neighbor will gets emergency heart surgery from a group of doctors visiting from the states.
It’s so hard to leave Honduras because leaving suggests defeat. It suggests that we’re calling it quits after 50 years of service to the people of Honduras. It means that we can escape a dangerous situation while leaving behind those who aren’t privileged enough to be born a few more degrees north.
I will go home because a part of me has been waiting for this phone call for months. The logical part of me has known it’s the right thing to do even if the sentimental part has refused to leave. My safety is more important than my work.
But life moves on, even if we’re not yet ready to. So now I’ll head home and figure out the next step in my life. I’m not sure where I’ll end up but I’m looking forward to being with my American family and I’ll always look back on my service with pride and satisfaction.
I’ll see you soon,