Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting Ready for Life in the Capital!

As you all know, my time with Peace Corps is winding down. And while the days are winding down, the amount of work certainly is not following the same pattern. In this last six months, I have had the most work I have had in my whole Peace Corps service! This can be attributed to the fact that people in the community are more willing to ask me for help or workshops. Initially, I imagine they were nervous to ask such things but now that I am closer with more individuals, there is less unwillingness to ask. Some have asked me to teach them to make cake, pickled vegetables, help them make a personal stove, help them calculate costs and gains of a pulperia . . .

Truthfully, it’s nice to have the distractions so I don’t have to think about how little time I have left here in Nueva Esperanza. At the same time though, I am being careful not to overdo it because I also want time to just relax and spend the last couple of weeks with people here.

Another distraction has been . . . where am I going to live in the next three weeks? A few months ago, I applied for an internship that USAID was offering to all Peace Corps Volunteers who have completed their service in Honduras. The internship will be in the USAID office in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. My friend and fellow PAMer, Mary, also got the internship and we decided to look for an apartment together. Although we do realize we are going from one spectrum to the other: living in small communities working on development to living in the capital in a posh office working on development . . .we are excited for the opportunity and know we will learn a lot more about international development from our experience with Peace Corps and with USAID.

Some of you may have heard that there has been some political strife here in Honduras and USAID said they would be cutting their aid. Mary and I did have some initial uncertainties if we still had our job, but we are in the process of signing the contracts so no worries!

Well, searching for apartments has been tough for a variety of reasons. One: I live about 7 hours (on a good “fast bus” day) from Tegucigalpa, Two: We don’t want to pay ridiculous prices for a place (we’ve lived in mud houses for two years, too nice of an apartment is unnecessary and would be a little overwhelming) and Three: Unlike in the villages where you can walk into someone’s house with no locks, it’s hard to get in contact with people renting when they have huge impermeable walls and barbed wire all around. Mary and I searched on three different occasions. The first time, we found some apartments we liked, but were very far from the USAID office. From this trip, we realized that we would really like to be within walking distance of the office. So the second time, we walked around two nice neighborhoods right above the office. We looked at some very nice apartments but none that were in our price range. Because Mary lives close to Tegucigalpa than me, she was able to check out one option that sounded promising. A woman was willing to close off part of her house and turn it into a two bedroom apartment. Because we were running out of time and because I really can’t afford to come into Tegucigalpa anymore, we checked this option out. It was perfect!

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