Peace Corps: Chapter 1

Wow…it’s amazing how fast time goes by in blog-world. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I was offered the opportunity to stay on for a third year as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL), which is a special third year position. Myself and one other volunteer in my group, Maya, will be taking on this position. Originally, it was going to start in April, but things shifted and I officially started the new position on about two weeks ago! This is very exciting but it did mean I had to close out of my Peace Corps Volunteer service. As a PCVL, I will be living in a different pueblo and focusing solely on the volunteers, assisting with training, visiting sites, and supporting volunteers.

With only a few weeks left in my beloved pueblo, I wrapped up in-school classes (it coincided nicely with the end of the school year), my community classes, finalized the grant for the GLOW project, visited as many people and places as I could, and had a few small despedidas (farewell parties), including one my host family so wonderfully organized.

I knew closing out site would be difficult, but it was great to have some time to say farewell. While I’ll be able to visit, I know that it will never be the same as living there. I wanted to give myself time to say hasta luego to my wonderful people and pueblo and close out with respect for the time and experiences I had there. I’ll always have a place in my heart for this community.

My service was full of love, excitement, tears, frustrations, friendships, oddball moments,  successes, failures, and more. They give us a graphic at the start of service that shows the “roller coaster” of ups and downs of service over two years. At times I felt like I was going through it over the course of one day, but through it all, it was definitely vale la pena (worth it)!

Some things I’ll miss about my service and mi querido pueblo (in no particular order) include:

  • The amazing cafe in town with the best milkshakes and friendly faces
  • My host family for their check in’s, questions, cooking tips, and their amusement at my battles with cockroaches.
  • My community class students and their willingness to learn and participate, even when I ask them to do things such as using a fake microphone made of a toilet paper roll and a styrofoam ball to MC a fashion show to practice talking about clothing.
  • My dedicated teachers who pushed themselves to practice their English and step out of their comfort zone to teach their students in a language they weren’t very comfortable with themselves.
  • My students who yell good morning at all times of the day and keep me on my toes.
  • The Club that JoAnne brought together and our adventures around the pueblo.
  • Playing games or just chatting with Carmen and Luis Felipe with Luli, the most loving pup, on my lap.
  • Yadezi’s artistic talents and delicious cooking.
  • Waving as my name was called out while walking around town.
  • Sunrises and sunset on the hills.
  • Meeting up with friends in the centro to catch up, wether by plan or by chance.
  • My GLOW girls asking about and reminiscing about GLOW and all of the other participants.
  • The family that owns the old panaderia, which includes a persistent and dedicated young woman determined the practice her English, and lovely parents that would check in with me, always let me hang up posters about my community classes next to the register, and occasionally offer me treats.
  • The cats in SENA that would run away from me as I tried to shower them with attention every class.
  • Weaving a small faja with the artists working on beautiful hammocks and products around me.
  • Seeing the artisanal products and sharing them with other volunteers.
  • Walking delicately after the rain to not lose my shoes in the mud.
  • Arriving to school sweaty after walking there to have every teacher point out how sweaty I was.
  • Playing cards with my host cousin.
  • Making cookies and mote de queso, along with other treats, with Sam.
  • Dancing / attempting to dance with friends
  • Random conversations in plastic chairs while walking around town.

And so, here are just some images of the wrapping up of my service.

Here’s to year 3 (chapter 2)!