From One Santa to the Next

So, I moved. I think you knew that. I went from Santa Cruz to Santa Maria (have I mentioned that Guatemala is a country heavily influenced by the catholic faith?) a little over two weeks ago and, well, I still don’t know how I feel about the whole thing. Really, I’m struggling to be content with my decision to stay.

Don’t get me wrong, the new town is fine. It’s smaller (4,000 people vs. 14,000 and only 5 communities vs. 30ish) but with a really big, fancy muni and an adorable park. It’s interesting to get a chance to live in an indigenous community, with the tzutujil words floating all around and the women tottering along in their traje. My house is fine, the family I rent from is fine, the fact that it’s pretty cold here is… uh… fine, I guess. Everyone has been nice and, besides the fact that I am back to square one and spending my hours in the muni doing things like writing this blog post instead of actually working, it’s all… fine.

The problem is that I left a situation that was great. I dealt with fine for over a year and then the new mayor showed up and finally it all started to fall into place. It was great, it felt right, it felt incredible. And I got to enjoy it for two months. And now I’m back to fine.

I was talking to another volunteer right after my move. He has also moved to a new site and said, “You know, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I think my service pretty much ended a month ago.”

Well, that’s all fine and great for him. He built a bottle school. He had months of great while I was struggling to turn fine into something more. He feels, more or less, fulfilled. I do not.

As we were making the drive to the new town, with all my stuff piled into the back of the pickup, the men from the muni acting as my movers started to lament my departure.

“It’s too bad we weren’t around last year. Think of everything we could have done!”

“Why can’t you stay, again? We have so many projects we want to work on with you!”

Lost opportunities.

And now I’m back to fine. And I’m wondering, is this it? Is my Peace Corps service really going to be two shining months amongst 22 of just okay? Why did I stay when I could have finished at a high point?

I know, the entire thing is selfish. It’s not supposed to be about me, it’s about service. But I am selfish. And this is about me. And I’m unsatisfied.

So, we focus on the little things and I try to convince myself that every bit of it matters and is important and that, of course, the most important effects are the ones you can’t see or measure. Okay. But I like things I can see and measure.

Then I remind myself that I’ve only been here two weeks and things change and no one can really be sure of what is in store for me here in my second Santa. It’s true, anything could happen. And I’m trying to have faith and be positive and open to it all. But underneath all that I’m still mad. At Peace Corps for making me move. At Guatemala for being dangerous.

And at myself. Because I’m tortured by these thoughts that I did all this to myself. That it’s my fault.  If I would have worked harder, been nicer, pushed more, been more I could have accomplished something big, even completed that bottle school before leaving my first Santa. And if I were a better person, more open, more motivated I could do something incredible in my second Santa too. It makes me mad that I am a mediocre volunteer.

So there it is. The truth. I’m not the amazing peace corps volunteer that my friends think I am. You can stop sending letters and words of encouragement now.

What does this mean for the last months of service? Saber. I’m not closing myself off to the opportunity and the experience, that would just be more guilt and regret to deal with. I’m here and I’m attempting to make it worthwhile. Maybe I won’t have any more great months, but I am trying as best I can to make things a little bit better than just fine. And to be just a little bit less angry.

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One Response to From One Santa to the Next

  1. Dd says:

    snap out of it. you’re still there. get angry when you have a 9-5.

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