Monday, July 13, 2009

2 years in Honduras!

Saturday, July 11th was my two-year mark of coming to Honduras. “Does it feel like it’s been two years?” people ask. Time here sometimes goes fast and sometimes goes slow. It does feel like two years, it feels like a long time. But, at the same time, I think back on something that happened, and it’s hard to believe it was almost two years ago that it happened. And, for me, it’s sometimes hard to take note of how the time passes, since there aren’t really seasons. And it’s been the first time since I was 5 that time hasn’t been marked by school breaks and summer vacations. That’s something everyone faces once they finish school, unless you become a teacher I suppose. But here everything moves slower than in the US, which is sort of double-sided.

How do I feel about leaving in 2 months? Well, I’ll save the real insights for when I’m actually leaving, but I would like to say that I’m so happy I’m here. For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting tired of being here and ready to go home, but overall, I am very happy to be here. There are always ups and downs. I believe you could ask any Peace Corps Volunteer in any country and they will tell you that there are extreme highs and lows. At times, I feel so content, at peace, happy with my life here, and I don’t want it to end. I love my town, the people, my work, my life. But at other times, I feel frustrated with everyone and everything and I just want out or to give up. Sometimes I’m just tired of it all. And of course, there are mediums in between the extremes. But the thing is, you can experience the range of these extremes within the space of a few hours, or even the same hour. You can go from the high to the low or the low to the high in the space of an hour. Happy to frustrated to angry to content. We have to deal with such a range of stresses here that we are often on edge. I’m going to be really sad to leave. When people talk about it, it makes me want to cry. But there are also a lot of things I’ll be happy to be over with. It’s going to be really, really hard to leave here, but I’m ready to go home.

Ok, those are my thoughts. Now as to what’s been happening for the last couple months. I can’t remember the last time I wrote or what I wrote about, so I’ll just start with my birthday. My birthday was June 10th, my second birthday in Honduras, and it was really nice. In the morning, as I was getting ready, the two librarians, who I’m friends with, came to my house bearing gifts. They gave me a tank top and underwear. Haha. They were nice though. Then I went to the kindergarten for Wednesday morning story hour, and all the kids sang to me and every single one gave me a hug and wished me happy birthday. In the afternoon, I went to the town down the road where there are two volunteers, and I met with them and a couple other nearby volunteers for lunch, so that was fun. We had a delicious chocolate cake and I got some presents! Then I went home and visited people all afternoon. In the evening, I went to my neighbors for my birthday dinner, which was good, and they gave me even more presents! All together, it was a very nice birthday. The following Saturday I went to my friend’s town a couple hours away and we had a combined birthday party. About 18 volunteers were there and a bunch of Honduran friends, so it was really fun.

In May and June I worked a lot with the schools. Every Wednesday I do culture talks with 5th grade. Each week we talk about a different continent and the way of life there. I use library materials and one or both of the librarians come with to do the talk with me. There are two 5th grades, so we have to do each talk twice. We’re usually there from 1-4. (The school systems a little different here. Grades 1-3 have class 7am-12:00pm while grades 4-6 have class 12:00-5:00). The talks have been going well. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some pictures soon.
In mid-June my Peace Corps group had our Close of Service Conference in the capital. It was 2 and a half days long and it was pretty helpful. We talked about searching for jobs, presenting our Peace Corps experience, readjusting to life in the US, administrative things about leaving, and some other things. Since it was the entire group I came to Honduras with, it was neat seeing everyone together again for the first time in almost two years, although we have lost many people who left due to medical or personal reasons. I saw people I haven’t really seen since we swore in as Volunteers. So that part was fun. I will have my end of service medical exams the week of September and will be flying home September 26.

The past few weeks have been a little crazy. As some of you have heard, there was a coup in Honduras. I’m not going to explain the whole thing, I shouldn’t get into politics, but any online news site will have articles about it. BBC News, CNN, and Washington Post have all had some good articles. If you have specific questions or want to know more about what’s happening, just email me or leave me a comment. The coup happened on Sunday, June 28th. Peace Corps kept in contact with us and we weren’t allowed to leave our sites for over a week. Now we’re allowed to travel, but only nearby. There’s been a national curfew in place since it happened. Although there have been lots of protests in the capital, and some violence, things have been pretty calm everywhere else. There have been some roadblocks and protests in other areas, but nothing too serious. So we’re really in no danger. But the day of the coup, and that whole week, everything was really uncertain and it was hard to get good information about what happened, what was happening, or what was going to happen. At first many of us thought we’d be evacuated out of Honduras, but since none of us have been in danger, that’s not going to happen.

A lot of work and projects were put on hold, and we weren’t allowed to travel, so it was a tough, anxious, boring couple of weeks. The teachers went on a nation-wide strike and schools were closed (which is a fairly common occurrence here) meaning that I haven’t had much work to do. Thankfully, classes are starting up again this week. Again, I could go into detail about what people are saying about the situation and what I think, and all of that, but this isn’t really the spot for that. It’s important for volunteers to stay neutral when talking to Hondurans, which is what I’ve been doing. It’s not really clear what’s going to happen, since negotiations last week fell through, but things are slowly returning to some normalcy.

Lately I’ve been busy applying to jobs. I’m mainly looking at non-profits in DC in the environmental field. I’m really worried because this obviously is not a good time to be looking for a job but I’m going to be persistent and I’ll settle for what I can get. I’ve applied to a lot, and plan on applying to many more. If anyone has any suggestions, leads, or knows of any openings, please let me know. Email me or leave me a comment. I can use all the help I can get!
I’ve written kind enough for now, I think. More to come soon, hopefully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi kristyn,
It is hard to believe it has almost been 2 years. Think of all the things that you have seen and done in those 2 years and all the people that got to come and see you there. It will be hard to leave all your new friends behind there but know we are all waiting for you to come home. It is time and we have missed you so much. We have missed you at all the parties and the holidays. Sept.26 seams so far away yet so close. Be safe and see you soon. Love ya always. Kathy