Monday, February 4, 2013
Me faltan cuatro meses!
Lets pick up with me going home last summer 2012 for two weeks to visit some graduate schools in vermont and newyork, I did this to placate my parents although knowing that I would be in texas in just a short time. Most of my friends know of my love affair with the city of Austin. My dream of attending nursing school at the university of texas will be arriving shortyly. I will be moving there August 2013, starting school in september.
Why nursing you ask? well I had always worked in health care before peace corps and had never really realized what direction i was headed until holding a dieing child in my arms while working in the rural health post in Guatemala. There have been so many other horrific things I have seen and been witnessed to and it has changed me profoundly as well as many of my other volunteers. we have all been changed by being challeneged with working in one of the hardest and most dangerous peace corps posts in the world, new volunteers are made to sign a waiver acknowledging the added risks of serving at a post of this nature.
I had a site change. CRAZY. I was made to leave from where I had been working for the last year and 8 months due to security issues. I cannot really say anymore then that. I left everything behind, my women's group, completed projects, my dog, my host family, it was too hard to say goodbye. i just left, i could not handle it. I feel horrible about it to this day, but I cant look back, it would be too hard to go forward. I miss my dog rose, terribly, i pray everyday that she is ok and being treated well, i have my doubts but my old sitemate is looking after her. My new site is a municipality of xela, I cannot really say the name due to security. It is a beautiful and welcoming town, such a change to where I had been living previously. I work in a health center much like the puesto i had been working in before, it serves the same pupose to the rural population, however for me everything has changed, there are more health staff to work with and the local population has welcomed me with such gratitute and selflessness, they are always taking care of me. My work has been steady and I am finding my rhythum with the new staff, which are some of the best Guatemalans I have come across, there passion and dedication to help the poorest of there country can be seen everyday. This is what I have been searching for since the beginning and I am glad I had the courage to stick it out when such terrible things had occured in my old site. I will not ever forget my old site, I will remember the memories, but I have to move on.
More about my new site: The people speak a local dialect which I am being taught by my new women's group. I am currently living just outside the center, with my abuelitos, they are my little tiny guatemalan grandparents. They have a huge house that was built by there son who currently lives in the United states, so it is just myself and them. They are too old to walk very far so I have the second and third floor and the roof all to myself. Although the house could be described as a mansion it lacks basic necisities which marks it for what it is, a house built on remesas from the united states. There is water once and a while and electricity once and a while, no refridgeration and very little ammenities, and it is freezing.
In this new area I find myself respected more, less harassment, less stress and less nervousness about whether or not i will be touched, sexually harassed or assulted. suffice it to say i feel comfortable here, my guard is still up, this is is rural guatemala after all, however I know when even the little boys have respect for me, things are getting better.
I had a horrible jaw infection which made me super sick and having to spend two weeks in the capital in the peace corps hotel, eating mashed potatoes and going to the doctors, while my face swelled up so horribly that i had black and blues under my eyes and could not see. Things got better after waiting for a while, never the less I am ok, which is all the matters.
Another horrible event. I was going back for one of the final times to my old site on the bus as I had done for the past year and 8 months and I was assulted by a drunken man. Verbally, physically, sexually, who threw food on me, touched me and noone came to my defense. This is Guatemala, you look out for yourself I finally gained some courage to remove myself from the clutches of that horrible man. It was an absolutely terrifying experience that i still think about daily. Peace Corps has been helpful with the processing of this event. what more do I have to say to this man? FUCK YOU!
Female volunteers go through so much here, I really wish the american people would acknowledge the dangers volunteers face and think about our families and what they must go through worrying about us.
My sitemates parents came for christmas. I finally was able to leave the doctors and we had a blast playing tour guides with them and realizing how awesome our spanish has become!
I went home for two weeks in january which was awesome. I gave several talks about peace corps and visited some old friends and places. The time went by far to fast and this last time I was home, was the hardest for me. I really felt that I did not belong with normal people. I am not sure what it was, a number of peace corps volunteers speak about this, people call it ptsd, or adjustments difficulties, we have to remember that we have not been home for more then a month in the last 2 years. We have missed so much and no longer relate with normal americans. I will be thankful and so very greatful to go home for the last time in June 2013, however i am frightened to realize the struggles that we will have trying to adjust back to life in the United States.
some good news. I am playing soccer with the womens professional team in xela. These girls are so amazing and it makes me so happy to play at this competitive level again. i go to practice twice a week, leaving early from the health center. we also have home and away games on sundays, my friends from peace corps have come to watch and some friends and guatemalan family from my new site as well. I also have been keeping up with my running and have signed up for my second half marathon when i get home in the states. It will be the mad river valley half marathon in vermont!
Quite litterlly i have so little time left here it is scary and exciting to think about the next steps, looking towards the future in texas and being able to study nursing and speak spanish. I hope to graduate in two years and work for a while then again leave the country to join something along the lines of nurses without borders or doctors without borders. My future is definatly not one of settling down somewhere. At one time i had thought i was going to get married and have that kind of life, but i am so happy that my life the last three years has taken the turns that it did. There are people i still think about and things i still yearn to know, but I am happy again. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made working with the United States Peace Corps in rural health for the past two years.
COS= close of service: June 24 2013
Trip to visit rachel my best friend (Indonesia, Bali, The philipines by way of Quatar and jakarta): July. august 2013
University of Texas Austin nursing school: August 2013
All for now. I love you all and miss you all so much! see you all so soon! thank you for your support and comfort!
God please protect me in my final months here and protect my fellow peace corps volunteers here and around the world!