Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Year In!!!

Tomorrow is a milestone for me, and I'm sure for any Peace Corps Volunteer. I've made it a full 365 days in Guatemala. I've had my fair share of ups and downs. There were times when I felt on top of the world, and other times when the world knocked me on my butt. So far I've managed to dust myself off pretty well, sometimes with a little help from my friends. Overall, it's been a great experience, one that I wouldn't trade for anything. In my time here, I've learned way more than I could ever hope to teach, and taught things I've never dreamed of teaching.

I feel like this is a good time to revisit the reasons I came in the first place. I truly believe the statement, "All men are created equal." However, something has always bothered me about that idea. It's the instant after we are created that does it to me. The reason I filled out my application to join the Peace Corps is because I found that my world was infinitely big, yet surprisingly small. I was born to exceptional parents, raised in a wonderful environment, and handed many opportunities that would be considered a luxury to a huge majority of the world. I was fresh out of college and I had come to a fork in the road. Down one path of paved roads and rest stops was the heart of America, the land of opportunity. A place where dreams could come true, and anything was possible if I put my mind to it. A place where the world was my oyster. Down the other path, the roads were rocky and rough. There lied barriers and obstructions. There were limits to where I could go and what I could do. Where dreams could just as easily become nightmares. However, in this place, the world was literally at my fingertips. I chose the second path because I could have just as easily been born right here in La Cumbre. In fact, with the birth rates here, and in most other places in the undeveloped world, I'd say I was unbelievably lucky to have been dealt the hand I was. Yes, we are all created equal, but in that moment that follows, to suggest an equilibrium is outrageous. This is something that I thought I knew before, but have definitely learned by now. Still yet, there is a duality to the equality concept, and I'd say this is what really pushed me forward when I was considering joining. There is, I believe, one existing equilibrium in every person. It trumps everything else. That equality rests in the decisions that each we make, and it is the foundation of humanity, which is such a contrived word. Within it are suggestions of unity, that we are all human, but the real power in humanity lies on an individual basis. Thus, our decisions are key. People can debate right and wrong how ever much they like to, and I suppose that much of the time we are all right in our own minds, although it may take some self-convincing, but we all have the ability to do the right thing. There are so many negative things in this world to burden us. Many people are fueled by hatred, anger, ignorance, greed, or pride, to do whatever might benefit their own interests. Too often, people forget the simplest of philosophies, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We can all fall victim to selfishness, many times without even realizing it. On the other hand, we all have the same ability to love, smile, laugh, and hope. We can help each other, we can work together, and in doing so, we can help ourselves. There is always a fire that burns in the darkness. To some it may be a dim flicker in the wind. To others it may be enough to warm cold hands, but the fact is that we can all feed the flames and that fire can grow. As our surroundings are illuminated, we will suddenly be able to see what was once dark. I came to Peace Corps to help those who are disadvantaged and less fortunate, because I realized that their struggles were mine as well. Sometimes, I forget that. It begins to turn into just another job. I forget about the here and now, and find myself thinking about the then and where. As I spend the next days reflecting on my Peace Corps service, thus far, the year long journey that I have embarked on, I will focus on what I did right, but more importantly what I could have done better. With 15 months left of my service, I will work more on adding to the flames and lighting up the darkness.


  1. So Proud of you. You are doing a terrific job and growing up to be make great decisions. Thinking of you every day and saying a prayer for you and all the Peace Corps Vol.
    love MEME

  2. Yes that was deep....I may have to re-read it later and let it soak in some more. However as one that saw her fork in the road and was led the other way (I always dreamed of being in the Peace Corps)I am envious of your choice. I have no regrets because I know God led me down another road but what you are doing is tremendously meaningful and important and I am glad you are doing it even though I can't imagine how hard it is at times! Love and miss you here!

  3. Your caring nature and insight into the world outside our little bubble never cease to amaze me. I'm so proud of you, and hope that I can find some way to impact other people in such a positive manner as yourself. I look up to my baby brother so much, and can't wait to see you again!