This past week was “Reconnect” at the Peace Corps Office. Reconnect is 2 days of technical training, review of the first months in site and lunch with the US Ambassador. When Cathaleen stood up to ask a question he had obviously read her blog and asked about Puchica so, if you are reading this Ambassador, you rock! I loved the Q&A and also took away a lot of valuable information on US Foreign policy and its current work in Guatemala. I also greatly appreciate that the head honcho for the US in Guatemala took the time to come eat some Dominos Pizza with a bunch of idealistic volunteers doing their best just to get by most days. That was most definitely the highlight of Reconnect for me. The rest of the week I had Spanish “class” but I was in a group with two other volunteers who just happened to be two of my favorite people and we got one of the best teachers. The days went by fast and I think the review of some Spanish was necessary since most people here do not even speak the language and if they do, it’s often worse than my Spanish. I also stayed with my old San Luis host family for a few days. I realized how much I have missed them. Also, Camila the baby is getting huge and she is starting to talk. It’s nice to have such a forward thinking Guatemalan “family” to visit.
The few days before I left I was having mixed feeling about returning and seeing my old friends from training and being back at my training site. I was excited but also apprehensive. I have felt so isolated these 4 months since my site is SO far away from most others and I have had internal and external struggles and, like any new PCV, questioned whether I could really accomplish this service. (Side note: still no latrine…BIG external struggle.) I wish I could say I feel much better about my site and my work and my isolation but I cannot. We had time to share with small groups our experiences in our site and my group decided to talk about only good things. We went one by one and I was last. At my turn I honestly could not think of one “success.” This is not to be negative but I feel like I have not accomplished anything in these 4 months. Yes I have “done” stuff but have I “accomplished anything? Define accomplishment. I am still beyond frustrated Peace Corps would give me 3 months of training on how to work with a Health Center/Post and then put me in a site without one. I often feel very lost in regards to work. Hearing all the awesome things my fellow Healthy Homes volunteers are doing with their Health Post educators and Tecnicos makes me a little more pissed! Why do I have to be here without anyone wanting to work with me?! I am slowly learning it is acceptable to stalk people here- call multiple times a day in order to get a straight answer. This is my site and I have to accept it but when will I like it?
Also, it was very strange to be back with everyone from our whole training class. I know I have and will continue to change as a person but those changes became apparent to me in being surrounded my new old faces. These are people I know and love but everyone was a little different. It is like trying to get to know an old friend after a long absence. The love is still there but you have no idea who that person is right at that moment. Strange feelings. On the long bus ride home I popped in my favorite music and had some serious thinking time. I joined Peace Corps to do good in the world and “be the change.” I left my friends and family and came to Guatemala also hoping to “find myself” a bit, or at least find my place in the world. Now that I am here I only feel as if I am losing my old self piece by piece. Maybe that is just the feeling of change. Only time will tell. I am off to listen to some Johnny Cash and knit. Is this the “new me”??
Peace and Love to All
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.” –HH Dalai Lama