Lost and Found in Bolivia

Chronicles of Rachel's Peace Corps service in Bolivia as an Agriculture Extension volunteer.  I hope not to get too lost during my 27 months, but I have a feeling I'm going to find some things.  Enjoy the stories!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

safe, not necessarily happy

Hi All,

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 cruceƱo 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.
we evacuated in this military plane from the 1940's!


D said...

They should be able to find you a place in Central - South America. They allow the PCV to pick the country in most evacuations. Of course they might make it difficult with excuses.

Good luck.

SergtPeppa said...

Hey - I'm a PCV in Ecuador, trying to look for any information on what's going down in Bolivia. We're glad you're safe, though I agree it sucks to be evacuated. I hope people in your site are doing ok!

mawuli said...

I was evacuated from Cote d'Ivoire during political unrest in 2002 and ended up in Togo for 2+ years. There should be some good opportunities to transfer during your COS conference. Good luck!

Amy said...

hey ra,
glad to hear you are safe, but i am sorry for your evacuation!! that military plane is sweet looking. hang in there and keep on being ra.

Flaming Curmudgeon said...

Just glad you're safe! Thought it's a huge glitch in your planning, I think it will certainly turn out for the best and you'll get some great assignment you never imagined. Aunt Bonnie told me you are in her prayers. UK