I am sorry if you have tried to link to this blog unsuccessfully, it tells me that the link is broken and I'm not sure why. I'm writing this from my aunt's house in Kansas City, since we made the decision to leave Honduras for fear of the unstable political climate. Although we always felt safe in La Esperanza, rumors of the US Embassy closure, closed borders with Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, road blocks and the closure of roads into Tegucigalpa and potentially San Pedro, limits on the press/news, and finally the decision of the German government to pull their student volunteers at hours' notice (including our housemate) led us to leave the country versus take the risk of being trapped there. It was a very difficult decision to make with no right answer, however, the worried moms prevailed... Although we were assured of our safety by everyone we knew, the citizens seemed to contradict themselves when they said that they were also expecting civil war as a result of the government conflict.
So, where from here? Fortunately for me, this was a (almost) regularly scheduled flight as I was planning on attending a family reunion anyway, with plans to return to Hond. Now, I have a return flight credit, and will look into other volunteer programs in other Central American countries. I am personally leaning heavily toward Mexico, since I had a good experience there studying abroad in college. If you have any recommendations, please send them to me! I am hoping to make a decision this weekend, and fly out as early as Monday.
What was left behind...
We had established a strong presence in La Esperanza with good connections with the hospital, a garden in progress at INFA, and twice weekly English lessons at the elementary school. We had also just scheduled our first regional half-day health seminar, which was very terrible to cancel. However, the Peace Corps remained in Honduras, and we had a great connection with a volunteer who is in her third year there specializing in maternal health. We were at least able to leave her in charge of wrapping up what we started. Altogether not a very satisfying end, we can be proud that we worked hard and made connections with many women while we were there. I was so humbled by their grace and humility. After living for just 3 weeks roughing it (although not by Honduran standards by any means), it was really interesting to re-enter the United States with a new point of view. I have a new appreciation for some things, ie internet access, Starbucks, and dollar bills, but the value that we as a culture place on appearances and conspicuous consumption is also much more noticeable. It was a wonderful experience to live for just a short time in a culture so different from our own, and to be apart from the material belongings that in some way define who we are.
I loved Honduras, and it was a wonderful experience to be there.