Monday, November 14, 2005


WHO: Essa (aka Vanessa)
WHAT: Peace Corps, Environmental Education
WHERE: Nicaragua
WHEN: Sept '05 - Nov '07

WHY: La vida es un carnaval

I wrote a letter to my best friend, Lacey about leaving my training family, which I did this morning...thought I'd post an excerpt that I think is interesting. Hmmm... seems pretty strange to be quoting myself...

"So, I said goodbye to the family early this morning. We left at around 6 am, and it was sad – Nazareth got out of bed to say goodbye, which I was in a way hoping she wouldn’t – just made it all the more difficult. Just as I gave Maura a hug, she started to get teary (llorosa, in Spanish in case you wanted to know). It just tore me up. This whole time I was here, I couldn’t help but make comparisons between myself and her daughter, Claudia, who is Nazareth’s mom. She left about two months before I got to Nica and went illegally to the US. I know we look at those traveling to the US illegally as sketchy, or perhaps get uncomfortable talking about it, but being down here has given me a totally new perspective on the topic. This experience with the family put a real face on the issue. This is not a thug from the border – this is a woman, in her early 30s, with a college degree, and a young daughter who is looking for a better life for herself and her family. And, she’s found it in part. She is sending stuff home - money, clothes, toys for Nazareth. But in another way, it breaks my heart because Claudia doesn’t get to participate in the raising of her daughter, and she works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a restaurant in Miami. I know she wants her to come to the US, but who knows when that will happen. Or how?Maybe it never will, as Claudia may come back to Nicaragua...

So how do Claudia and I compare? Yeah, our situations are vastly different – I’m not illegal, and I don’t have to work like a dog. And I’m safe, and more or less viewed in a different light than Hispanics who don’t speak English are in the US. But, I am new to the country, and am having my share of culture shock and difficulties. I told Maura in a thank-you letter, that I felt that Claudia and I are experiencing similar challenges and that my transition was made so much easier by the fact that I had Maura and Nazareth to keep me company, care for me, worry about me, teach me, and make me laugh! "


Blogger John Gierke said...

Well, you might have got me "almost" to tear up with your adios entry, but rather I think I have something in my eye... Your project opportunities sound great and I am very pleased and optimistic that you are going to accomplish much and have tremendous impact on those you work and interact with. The one thing I don't agree with is that you don't feel you have to work like a dog.--your advisor

6:22 AM  
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