Happy Volunteer Day

Let us also remember that volunteering can embrace all people, from the activist who works full-time for a cause to the occasional citizen who reaches out when he or she can.  Each sets an example of the spirit of compassion we need.  Each makes a valuable contribution to reaching our common goals
Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries.  By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose.  
 Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations 

Dusting out the cobwebs

Sure is quiet over in these parts….

There’s been a hiatus of posts around here.  What happened? Unlike most of my cohorts from Peru 14, I’m still here in Peru. I’m still a Peace Corps Volunteer.  But most of you reading this probably already knew this. 

So why the lapse? No real good reason, really.  There’s always a million excuses. Maybe it had to do with me working at a computer full time, thus throwing off the shin of sitting down to churn out blog posts? Maybe it was that I was living in the big city, and had many other bright shiny distractions? Could be.

But I’ve, in a way, missed writing here.  Blogging during my first two years allowed a more analytical side to come out. It allowed me to keep writing (something I did a ton of at Wooster), making it easier to jot out entries.  But after lapsing for so long,   it’s hard to get motivation and jump over the first big hurdle to anything – starting. So I avoided it.  It’s usually easier to not do something, right?

This isn’t a vow to return to blogging, nor is it me waving goodbye.  I’m planning to stick around Peru for a little whiles longer, but more on that later. Maybe, if I get around to it.

Great Packing Advice for Peru 19 & Peru 20

From http://zenhabits.net/empty
Written by Leo Babauta.

"We often load ourselves up when we travel, because we want to be prepared for various situations. This burden of being prepared leaves us with our arms full, unable to receive whatever is there when we arrive.

It leaves us tired from carrying, so that we are not happy when we meet someone new on our travels. What if we traveled with empty hands, ready to embrace new experiences, receive new foods, touch new people? We might feel less prepared when we leave, but the preparedness is an illusion. Stuff doesn’t make us prepared. Having empty hands but a heart that is full of love leaves us prepared for anything.

This doesn’t just apply to taking a trip, but to living each day. Each day is a journey, and we load ourselves up with material possessions, with tasks and projects, with things to read and write, with meetings and calls and texts. Our hands are full, not ready for anything new.
Drop everything, be open to everything.
Enter each day empty-handed, and full-hearted."

Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

I present to you, the view down the street from my Lima apartment.  

Been Away, but Now I'm Back Today

Well, I finished up my service in Sausal, moved all my sh*t to Lima, put it in storage, grabbed my plane ticket and I've been home since December 22nd and returning to Peru this evening.  One of the perks of sticking around for a third year is that you earn a round trip ticket and 30 days home leave. So I definitely took advantage of this, tacked on a few extra days of vacation and have got to relax with family and friends.

Is it weird being back? Well yes and no. I was home for a week in May for a wedding, but time blurred by – there was always somewhere to go, someone inviting me to a beer. Being home for much longer is a bit more relaxed. And the readjustment curve isn't as drastic since we don't exactly live in the bush in Peru. But in some aspects, it has been a bit odd, overwhelming, and agitating.

Hasta Luego to Honduras - But It Was the Right Call

No doubt that Peace Corps has had a rough year or so in the media. While they've celebrated their 50th Anniversary, they've also been subject to much more scrutiny as than in the past, and rightly so. We've seen the unfortunate death of a PCVs in Paraguay and Mozambique  from auto accidents, and most notable the suspension of the Honduras program, and that Guatemala and El Salvador are no longer receiving new training groups.  

And the story is pretty intense, and so is one volunteer's response.

In the meantime, read this....

New post on its way shortly. In the mean time, I highly suggest you read this account from a volunteer who recently contracted HIV during her service. Really powerful reading. Read all of it. Seriously.