Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Nicaragua & Atlanta, GA (7/28/05 – 10/26/05)

I’ve had a blast since leaving DC in January of ‘04. I’ve spent time in 12 countries and several US states over the past 20 months: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Italy, Brooklyn, DC, San Francisco, San Diego, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Charleston, Ski Country Colorado, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Vermont, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Miami, Durham, Asheville, Greenville and Atlanta. I've truly enjoyed the experiences, but I am tired of living out of my backpack. Korea will be a welcomed repose.

I could spend time on tales of woe involving the pain and frustration of trying to take care of an abscessed tooth while uninsured and unemployed. But why spend time on lost luggage, 15 hour days on chicken buses, being sick, incompetent airline reps, etc. when there are so many good things to recount?! I’m glad I finally have time to write! So let me fill you in on all the blessings of the past few months.

Even more rewarding than Belize (see Belize entry below) was my trip back to Nicaragua. It had been 5 years since I finished my Peace Corps stint and left Nicaragua. I had been wanting to get back in the past few years to visit the host families who took care of me, and check on the kids I taught and coached while living in Bluefields. Particularly frustrating was the fact that I had been so close to Nicaragua on several occasions over the past 18 months, but unable to visit the country due to the tight schedules of the programs I was leading.

I flew into Guatemala City, Guatemala on July 28th and was able to see friends in Guate, and work in the Sun Jam and some scuba diving from the island of Utila in Honduras on my way down to Nicaragua.

La Familia Vargas, Dolores, Nicaragua Posted by Picasa

Ms. Gay & Family, Bluefields, Nicaragua Posted by Picasa

The Beyers Family, Bluefields, Nicaragua Posted by Picasa

My time in Nicaragua was brief, but rewarding. I saw 9 of the 13 people who were my host family when I was a Peace Corps Trainee in Dolores in 1998. I also got to hang out with the host families that took care of me when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bluefields. Just as rewarding was running into so many of my former players and students and finding out how well they’re doing. Sure there were a few sad stories, but I was beaming to hear 3 of them tell me they’re now teachers, in part because they want to encourage kids to reach their potential as I encouraged them to reach theirs. Damn near brought tears to my eyes, I tell you! I was also able to track down Chiki, one of the kids who played organized soccer for the first time on the team I had put together 6 years ago. He’s still playing, and is now one of the stars of the league!

Chiki (17) after his soccer match, Bluefields, Nicaragua Posted by Picasa


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