Thursday, September 18, 2008
So it’s been a rough few days, even since we’ve settled here outside of Lima. We’re doing Close-of-Service medical tests, learning about our options (still don’t have a list of where we could go) and finding out that we have to make very fast decisions about certain things. But here is a list of what I’m thinking.
If I transfer directly to another country in Latin America (my favorite option)…
- I likely won’t be coming to the United States before I transfer (so any shopping has to be done in Lima or the next country)
- I get to keep learning Spanish. And impressing you all with that.
- There’s a good chance there will be tropical fruit involved.
- I get to know and love a whole new Latin American culture! I’m a lucky girl, getting to integrate into not one, but 2 cultures.
- This option isn’t guaranteed because the host country has to accept me once I decide I want to go, but I’m pursuing it as my number one.
- Regardless of what happens in the new country (if I had to early terminate or medically separate…hopefully neither), I’ll always have Returned Peace Corps Bolivia status…so I don’t lose that on resumes, etc.
If I choose the “re-enroll” option:
- I close out my service now, get the Returned status, and actually return to the US.
- Have some sort of top-of-the-application-pile status for doing a full 27 months in another country.
- Won’t leave the US for a while…new programs aren’t really leaving again till January/February
- I’ll be pretty bored at home after the novelty wears off and I can’t get a job (like last year all over again)
- I could maybe look into doing a Master’s International (which combines grad school and then 2 years of Peace Corps to earn a master’s degree)
If I just decide to COS and move on:
- I may do Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) in central America
- I may choose grade school
- I may move to California and join a hippie commune…or just be friends with hippies
- I may move to California and get a paying job working in anything related to nutrition, food, agriculture, or farmers’ rights. As long as I can speak Spanish.
- I’ll be proud of myself, but I don’t think I’m ready to be done with Peace Corps yet, despite the rough times.
Thanks for your support so far, I think the hardest blow is that I won’t be able to see my lovely supporters soon if I transfer, and that it’s going to be very hectic to tie up the loose ends in my site over the phone.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
You may have been seeing the news about Bolivia (like, the 5 seconds CNN plays between Hurricane Ike and Wall Street)...but the situations between East and West and City and Campo and Evo and the US were all deteriorating really fast. So first we were consolidated into one city, then the decision was made to evacuate us to Lima, Peru, and recently they decided to temporarily suspend the program in Bolivia. So I´m safely in Peru, but emotionally a mess trying to figure out what I´m doing next. I´ll have several options: leaving Peace Corps and being considered a returned volunteer (which has several benefits in terms of jobs and health insurance), or transferring to another country to do more service. I´m hoping I can transfer to another spanish-speaking Latin American country (wonder how they´ll feel about my cruceño accent) and do another year and a half or so, but the accepting countries tend to dictate what they want in terms of skills and time commitment. I hope it can work out that way though, I don´t feel like I´ve accomplished my Peace Corps goals yet.
I´m so sad that this is happening to Bolivia. I feel guilty that I can leave but the Bolivians are still in the midst of serious turmoil. All my friends in site will probably be safe, but this could be the beginning of harder times. And like many of us have expressed, we felt that we were doing important and useful things in our communities, which were very hard to leave. Personally, I barely knew what was going on, other than gas wasn´t arriving to my site, and that things suddenly were doubling in price. So I really left loose ends because I thought I´d be going back in a week or so. We had many tearful goodbyes with our staff, who were so incredibly supportive to us even while their own home country was going through this and as they knew they were mostly about to be without work. I could never thank them enough. Our country director and the second-in-command (I hope you´re reading this!) were so honest and patient with us and our millions of freak-out questions, how could we ever thank them enough?
I´ll keep this updated as much as possible, please don´t worry about me...but keep Bolivia in your thoughts and prayers if that´s your thing. They need the good vibes more than I do.