Saturday, April 1, 2006

April 1, 2006


Today is many thing to many people. Today is the first day of April, maybe one of the first days you've enjoyed spring, or even the first time you've brought out the sandals for the year. For me it is the end to this long journey of my Peace Corps service. I am not sure if I could ever really, truely articulate what I've been through here. It is an experience that has touched me so deep into my soul. I have found out a lot about myself, humanity and what so many around the world
live like each day in trying to get out of the poverty stricken struggles each new day brings. There are really so
many snapshots and mini movies that will forever be
imprinted into my heart and mind. Some challenging, like
the long gone innocence seen in the eyes of a child forced
by her family to sell her body for money, the smile and hug
of a 8 year old dying of AIDS who is making the most of
their time with you, the rage of violence in a scene
witnessed that resulted in death. I could paint these
pictures one upon the other, yet I would never wish them to
become "real" to you. Yet on the otherhand, I will also
never forget the many laughs, the unending conversations,
the beautiful country, the music, and the experiences of
simplicity that lit up my heart, my mind and my soul to the
power of another people living and fighting just like me to
'count' in this world. Although we may appear different
from a superficial level, when you strip yourself of all
you deem essential to your life, you realize that your
needs and what is important are not so different afterall.
I will certainly not begin to pretend that this country
continues to have its fair share of struggle, nor will I
back away from saying they have made great strides, but
they are a very young nation (gaining their independence
from the British in mid 60's) who fight for an identity and
efficient systems in many aspects of government and
society.
Today I am officially an RPCV (returned peace corps
volunteer...although technically displaced right now) and
am without a doubt a very different person than the one who
flew out of Minneapolis on a cold, blustery day 26 months
ago. I can honestly say that this experience has been a
roller coaster from my lifes lowest lows to highest highs,
yet in the end I am stronger for it. Without the support
and love that so many of you have shown me and the strength
you knowingly or not provided me, I wondered at times if I
could have made it through. So today, I thank you for being
a 'silent' partner in my journey and I look forward to
seeing many of you into the very near future.
All my best today,
Kristen
Ps. I am flying out to Peru tomorrow and will be traveling
for a couple of weeks around the country (and maybe some
into Bolivia and Chile's borders) and will arrive back in
the Minneapolis area late on April 20th.