There is a church nearby, sounding it's bells. It's beautiful. And calming.
I am back in the City of San Vicente, working here in the training center and living in a nearby town. I am staying with an older couple, the same couple that hosted me almost two years ago as I completed my own training to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. What amazes me about this city is how different it appears to someone already adapted to living in this poor, amazing country. Instead of seeing trash in the street, I notice the beauty of the Church and her architecture. The traffic no longer terrorizes me, allowing me to greet the street vendors and actually become part of the town. It's soothing. Girls giggle as I walk by, whispering their requests that i "give" them my blue eyes just as I drift out of hearing distance. Old men walk with their hands behind their backs, their heads held high, envying and cursing youthful men in the same instant and without opening their mouths.
As a volunteer, I lived in a different part of the country. It, too, was beautiful. Because of a few security incidents, I will no longer be living there.
Leaving the town was difficult. I had to say many goodbyes, with little time. My neighbor, Luis, my favorite person in that pueblo, was the hardest to say goodbye to. I walked up to his door and, having been gone a week without saying anything, looked forward to the expected teasing. i knocked. He opened the door with that guarded look of his, and immediately smiled and laughed when he saw it was me. "Ah. And where has my Gringo Monkey been?" He calls me a monkey because I'm a hairy man. It sounds like an awful thing to say to someone, i know, but he says it with such affection and as he says it, he reaches out and pats my chest. All i could do was cry. He opened the door and brought me inside and hugged me until i calmed down. I told him the news, and it was his turn- he understood he would not have me to share his news and gossip and little nothings. We both lived alone, and found in each other an unusual friendship between unlikely parties. I miss him dearly, already.
And then the trip out of town. My last glance at the park, the volcano, the unending green tide of coffee plantations.
After two hours, we arrived with all of my things to the open arms of my old host family. I thanked and said goodbye to my Peace Corps escort, and collapsed into a familiar rocking chair to talk to Don Jesus (Don means Mr) and the woman that works at his house, Isabel. Don Jesus' wife Alisa, the owner of the house, is away visiting family in the States, so the three of us sat down and talked about a living agreement, and then I told them my story.
And now I've told you as well. I'm glad we all know.
Peace Corps has graciously offered to allow me to stay and complete my four months of service. I will live near San Vicente and work out of the Training Center. My program-Municipal Development- is being restructured and redeveloped. I will be assisting with this process, and preparing for the arrival of the new training group in February. Their training will last two months, and I will help with talks on the culture and the best ways of adapting to life in this beautiful country. I don't know all the details, but I am excited. A new chapter begins.