Friday, September 25, 2009

Last Day in Honduras!

Right now I'm sitting in the Peace Corps office in Tegucigalpa, the capital. The last few weeks have been pretty eventful. My second to last week I was busy trying to finish up with the grant proposal I'd been working on. I was pretty busy getting stuff done. The second to last Saturday in my site, I had a goodbye party with volunteers in the area. There were about 15 people and it was nice. I made chili and dirt dessert for everyone, and when the chili was cooking, I went to take a nap, and when I woke up it was completely gone! They had eaten every last drop of it. I was very dissapointed, but at least I still got some dirt dessert. The next day, six of us went up the mountain to the river and swam for a little while. We brought the puppy of one volunteer with, thinking he's be fun to play with, but he slept under a rock the whole time. It was a really nice weekend, but sad saying bye to people.

My last week in site was sort of hectic. I had to clean out my house, give stuff away to people, pack my bags, and say goodbyes. I left a lot of stuff for the volunteers replacing me. I haven't gotten to meet my replacements, but they are a married couple and I hear they're really nice. One is in the municipal development project (the same project I'm in) and the other is in the youth development project. I've been joking with people that I do so much work, they had to put two people to take my place. That's definately not true though.

I spent a lot of time my last week visiting people and it made me wish I had spent more time with certain people before. Saying goodbyes really made me realize how much people mean to me and how much I mean to them. It was tough. Sunday was my last day, and it was so hard. I was saying final goodbyes all day to people I've spent two years with but will likely never see again. It was depressing.

I got to the capital on Monday, since we had to spend the week here to do administrative and medical stuff before leaving. But while on the bus here, we got word that Mel Zelaya, the exiled president, had snuck back into the country and was in Tegucigalpa. We arrived at 3:30 to find out that the current government had called a nationwide 4:00 curfew. So we rushed to get food and get to the hotel. Then we find out that the curfew was extended the entire next day! So no one could go outside the entire day. So we just sat in the hotel. There were about 18 volunteers here, and we stayed in this little, rundown hotel that Peace Corps always puts us in. The first night the electricity was cut, but it came back the next day, so we pretty much watched TV all day. We got woken up at 6am that Tuesday to the sound of protesters on the streets, disobeying the curfew. There was a huge police force out there throwing tear gas at them. We went up on the roof of the hotel to watch the action.

Since we were stuck in the hotel and couldn't leave to get food, and everything was closed because of the curfew, Peace Corps called the US Embassy to help get us food. So they sent over two US soldiers with MREs for us to eat. They gave us a little demonstration on how to make the meals. You add water to this packet, and it automatically heats the food. There were lots of different options, including: Vegetable Penne Pata, Sloppy Joes, Chicken Breast, BBQ Veggie Burger, etc. They pretty much tasted like frozen dinners or something. And they came with little snacks.

On Wednesday, the curfew got liften from 10am-4pm, so we all went to the Peace Corps office to get stuff done. We were supposed to get lots of medical exams done, see the doctor, etc., but since we lost so much time, they gave us vouchers to get everything done in the US. At one point, there was a huge demonstration outside the Peace Corps office and no one was allowed to leave. On Thursday, there was no daytime curfew, so we were able to get all the administrative stuff done with Peace Corps, close our bank accounts, and all of that. We made it to the mall and the grocery store, and we were hoping to go out to dinner, but at 6:15, they called a 7:00 curfew, so we were stuck inside again.

Today we are just finishing up a few things at the office. I fly out tomorrow at noon. Going through political unrest is an interesting experience, and it makes me sad for Honduras. People here have enough problems without corrupt politicians trying to make power grabs and messing everything up. It's been a frustrating week but it does make it easier to leave. I'm looking forward to going home and not worrying about curfews or protestors or tear gas. See you all soon!