So much has changed. I went back and forgot how transitioning between the campo and the capital was more difficult than I thought. It is absolutely exhausting and can now fully understand why a Peace Corps service is supposed to be 2 years. Any more than that and a PCV gets burnt out.
I went back to my site for two main reasons:
1. To hang with the coolest Leah I know – one of my closest friends made in Peace Corps. Now, what made it difficult to hang out with her was the constant influx of kids coming in and just sitting, staring. Living in the capital for months now, and having privacy whenever I want, I forgot about this constant interruption. It reminded me so much about how flexible and patient we, as PCVs have to be and eventually become. I was a pleasant and reflective reminder of all that I had learned and gained in my time as a PCV
2. To check in and meet with my women. I was so nervous to meet with them and find out that quizas, just maybe, they hadn't been working as health promoters. Well not to my surprise they hadn't. There had been 3 homes certified in the last two months and they were lacking some serious work MOJO. SO in asking them what they thought they could use to help them get back to working one of them raised their hand and said “ when the trunk of a tree is chopped down, the tree branches go down with it – they stop working, they no longer need a reason to receive light and nourishment. What we need is another trunk, another PCV.” You can just imagine, especially if you are another PCV, my immediate frustrating reaction. All I wanted to do was yell "that is not the point! this is supposed to be sustainable" After carefully explaining this concept they came to the realization that they themselves had to take responsibility for carrying out this project and created a plan. Once they did I applauded their new-found motivation and goal setting and we were able to move on. PHEW - THAT WAS A CLOSE ONE. They now have a plan for the coming year and have found reasons to be personally invested in the project.
So, back to Leah's I went after this meeting and just reflected at how much a PCV goes through. It's so interesting to be on this side of it - still a volunteer but with a greater Peace Corps context as a PCVL working in the Peace Corps Office. I get to see the big picture and how all of the day to day things I did at my site fit into it. I also get to see the nuances in the field that is supported by the grander Peace Corps Agency.
Going back reiterated my appreciation for this culture's hospitality and vecino-ness. EVERYONE is a neighbor and even though I don't live there anymore I still felt like I was a huge part of the community. It took me a few hours just to get up one of the roads because I was stopping and saying hi to everyone. I sat for about an hour at one of my friends' houses and just chatted about life and family. It was so refreshing.
A HUGE BONUS on this TRIP! Got to see my BFFL Nino who I haven't seen since May!