Well friends, if you didn’t know already, my time here in Honduras is unfortunately being cut short. A couple of weeks ago (the day of my buddy Dave’s wedding) while I was back home in the States, I received an email titled “Please Read Immediately.” With all the recent incidents, mainly a fellow volunteer and friend being shot in the leg, I knew it probably wouldn’t be good news. Our Country Director, Emily, explained that we were going to be put on Administrative Hold. This means that on January 16 I’ll be coming back to the US for a period of at least 30 days while they evaluate the security situation in the country and decide whether to continue the program. If Peace Corps decides to continue in Honduras, it will be much smaller and my site could be excluded from the program. Honestly, the prospects don’t look good and I expect and am preparing for the likelihood that we won’t be returning. I could reapply to another country and program, however, it will take at least three months to get placed (probably much longer) and I would have to start my two years all over again. I love what I do and the experience I’ve had, but I know I could not start this process all over again and be a Peace Corps volunteer for the majority of my twenties. So it’s with great sadness that I’m turning a page and looking to start up my life again in the States.
Right now I’m back in my town, Pespire, trying to enjoy the hot weather and keep myself busy until next Thursday when I leave for Tegucigalpa. There, all of us volunteers will attend a conference where Peace Corps will lay out all of our options. Arriving in town yesterday and walking into my little house, a flood of emotions overwhelmed me. It just feels like my home. I am really going to miss all of the people I’ve befriended in Pespire and other volunteers who have become very good friends. I spent last night talking to my neighbor Gustavo who has really looked out for me. I talked to him about how most of us don’t really want to be leaving and he surprised me by saying he thought that Peace Corps is making the right decision. Today as I talked to people in the town and work partners, they echoed similar sentiments and were all sad to Peace Corps, which has been in the country since 1963 and provided a lot of assistance, leaving the country. Hearing this makes me proud and confirms that not all of our work was pointless in the end. Gustavo has already planned a despidida or going away party this Saturday and I’m sure it’ll be emotional to say goodbye.
So where does this leave me? Well, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that question. This scenario was never in my plans and everything has been fast forwarded by a year. Soon, I plan on applying for jobs in Joplin or Northwest Arkansas and am hoping to find something where I can use my economics and business degree, maybe even some of the Spanish I’ve picked up. However, I’ll be open to going wherever if a good opportunity arises. The prospect of not having work for an extended period of time is pretty frightening. The silver lining in all of this is that I’ll be around my family and friends, which I’m pumped about. It was great to reconnect with people over the break and I’m really looking forward to continuing that. In all of this I’m praying for perspective. I’m really fortunate when it comes down to it. I have the luxury of getting on a plane and leaving. Most Hondurans don’t have the opportunity to escape the violence and poverty. I need and appreciate your thoughts and prayers, but it’s the Hondurans who are really desperate.
There it is. Later, after a little time and distance, I plan on writing about what I’ve learned through this whole experience. I want to thank everyone who has supported me while I’ve been down here. Without your emails, packages, facebook messages, and blog comments; this would have much tougher. See everyone soon!