Saturday, September 09, 2006

I´m Legit

It`s official. I am a volunteer. I made it through eleven weeks of training and so did the rest of the 50 out of the 52 that came to Honduras. The past couple of weeks have been a blur with so much happening. Field-based training in La Esperanza wrapped up successfully and rather quickly. Then it was back to Sta. Lucia for a week and the following weekend was our site visit- the time when we were finally told the location of our sites and actually got to visit them for four days to see the place and get to know the community.

Sweet Discovery. I lucked out by having my site situated in the highly-coveted area of the North, where all the beaches are found. I´m not quite that lucky by being right on the coast, or even being really, really close to it…but two hours away isn´t bad at all. My site is the principal city in the department of Yoro, known as civic city of Honduras. My real fortune lies in the kind of work that I´ll be doing- mainly with the municipality and the casa de cultura, which is what a city´s cultural center is called. My counterparts are the mayor and the director of the casa. It´s still pretty surreal how I was sad to leave my dancing and all the arts in San Francisco but managed to end up in a city best known for the writers and artists that have emerged from it. The casa was pretty defunct until the new director took over and now it offers music and drawing lessons, ballet (well, sort of) classes and is actively looking to do more (perhaps I didn´t have to say goodbye to dancing or design work afterall?). I arrived at a perfect time- Civic Month where two weeks of activities celebrating culture and civic pride have been scheduled. My work in the municipality is yet to be determined but I´m supposed to over all strengthen it…rather vague and ambitious, I know. Hopefully my subsequent meetings with the mayor will clarify things and focus on at least step one.

Burnt, but Content. I can´t really expound right now, exhausted from the week´s series of activities and emotional roller coaster ride. I was on the bus for at least a total of 30 hours the last two consecutive weekends. My site is ten hours away from Sta. Lucia and last week´s visit plus last night´s return have taken their toll on me. Not to mention that I´ve packed and hauled all my things three times the past three weeks- from La Esperanza to Sta. Lucia and now to Olanchito. For the first time in eleven weeks, I am feeling a bit spent. Fine, sort of sick. But I just wanted to share my thoughts while fresh, especially about last Thursday´s swearing in of volunteers. The country director for Peace Corps Honduras was there, along with, the U.S. Ambassador. The ceremony was short and sweet and afterwards we had some fun in the Ambassador´s Residence where as a bonus, we got a sighting of the Honduras President who happened to be there. The night was concluded with dancing at a club with the entire group and afterwards a hot shower and a plush bed at the Marriott where we were actually allowed to spend the night on a volunteer rate. I guess I can´t really complain about the ten hour bus ride that followed the next day.

So this is it for now, folks. More details to come as I get to know my new home for the next couple o´years and start settling in to the Volunteer life. I plan to take everything slowly, but surely, just as I always have. I´m just happy to finally be able to say- I`m really doing it! Wish me luck!