After some 15 collective days away in July, I'm finally back again in site for a long haul - maybe until Christmas, with a few days away before that for in-service training and Thanksgiving. Que venga la tormenta, as my APCD said the last day of Reconnect. It was great to be away and it's tough to be back, although I must admit nowhere near as tough as it was to come out to site in the first place.
But, before I get into that, the story up until this point: After a few lazy days in Panajachel we headed over to visit a friend in Santiago Atitlan. After an entertainingly rough ride across the lake we got off and got an eclectic tour of town; the muni, the church, the budget dive we'd be staying at, a local comedor, and aldea Panabaj, the site of a large mudflow in 2005 and muni relocation project. Santiago is a really interesting town, and a unique challenge as a tourism PCV, since the place is already crawling with tourists and tourism projects. It was a fun afternoon, although that night I crashed with some raucous fever. After that we went to back to Panajachel for a final night, and then on to the capital for a talk with CONRED and a night in Antigua. This wasn't in the original plan, but I think Guatemala may simply be a vortex of surprises, because pre-planning seems to continuously render itself less useful here than seems normal. All-in-all the time out of site was a welcome breath of air, but I have to admit that the morning hello's on my way to work today did make me smile in a 'home sweet home' sort of way. I guess that's kind of the best of both worlds, right?
At any rate, la tormenta: The immediate challenge of right now is that having surmounted that golden 3-month assessment period, I'm feeling antsy, as though I need to get something important done about yesterday or so; mentally tallying the half-dozen or so ineffective charlas and radio spots I've done, the small percentage of schools I've visited, the events I've attended and one proposal I wrote, I wonder, how will I organize anything valuable and long-lasting here, based in the fundamental effort and interests of community members; and I start to doubt the value of my potential contribution here. Perhaps I'm undervaluing the social progress I've made in 3 months, but after two weeks straight with your best friend, social progress amongst relative-strangers resonates weakly. But it's the classic PCV story. I've just got to keep it in perspective.
So that said, I've got food, I've got water, I've got love, I've got "animal pairs memory", I've got an awesome little laptop, 24-7 wireless Internet. And Mishi. So really I can't complain too much. A ver where the next few weeks take us...