It has been a while. I know. I would like to have a really good reason for being MIA for so long, but I don´t.
Projects are going well. School is now out, which means that anything and everything with any semblance of productivity has come to an end. My youth groups are all graduating and ending and I am in the process of planning summer classes and camps in my community as well as preparing to participate in a number of national summer camps for youth. It will be a busy but fun summer! I am struggling with the library and need to figure out what to do as the USAID money I was told I would get does not actually exist (why they didn’t tell me this 6 months ago, I don’t know). My community has been proactive and has put an “internet” center in the building and we are raising money through that but need to figure out a plan b.
I just got done running a conference and it was a huge success! The title was “Empowerment and Leadership in Marginalized Populations” and we worked with leaders from 12 different extremely impoverished and marginalized communities in order to educate them about issues that affect community development (HIV, gender inequality and illiteracy) and provided them with “tools” that they can take back to initiate change. It was a huge success and a very wonderful experience for all who participated.
I am excited to come back to the states but nervous about the transition. There are days when I wish it was tomorrow (have 4 – 5 months left) that I was leaving and then there are the days (now a rarity) when I think I could stay for a while longer. I still haven’t been in my current community for a year and am going into the summer slump. A time where the heat is offensive and all the youth leave to spend the summer with other relatives. I also am loosing my patience a lot more and am giving a lot more “boches”, which means snapping back at someone with the purpose of putting them in their place. I don’t like to be that way, but the “dame” (give me) culture and the sense of entitlement is really getting to me. I often need to remind myself to take a deep breath and relax, because really, none of it matters anyway. I am really learning how to cogerlo suave (take it easy). But I still get irritated.
I now see my role as a Peace Corps Volunteer as providing opportunities to youth living in poverty. And that is an awesome role to have. Some of these kids never get to leave the batey, which is not a very fun place to live, and I am able to provide them with opportunities to get out and see the beautiful country they live in and to meet other youth. What they choose to do from there, is up to them. I have seen some changes in the youth who have participated in my classes and been able to travel with me, such as higher self esteem and a higher level of community involvement. I always wish I could do more, something to address the causes of the situation in my batey, but that is not something I can do alone. I try hard to initiate conversations about addressing these deeply en-rooted issues, but people are complacent and disempowered. It is easier to sit in a plastic chair and talk shit about education system then to depend that the teachers actually show up to work.
Que será, será. I am excited for the next five months and will be sad to leave but am excited for the next adventure. Whatever that maybe. I am looking for job leads in the states, so if you know of any, let me know!
I will write more soon. Please shoot me a message to say hi, it’s been a while since I have heard from anyone in a long time! Also, to help with my writers block – send me any questions you would like answered or topics!
Nos vemos pronto!