Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Do you remember the month of May your senior year in high school? You have spent 4 years there and with about a month left you start to slowly lose motivation, patience, and the desire to do anything. Who would have thought that the month of May during my Peace Corps service would cause the same feelings? Is May cursed forever as the month leading up to summer? I am not sure but I do know that this year this month has been difficult.

I have about 3 months left in my service here in El Salvador. Hence, I think I have Senioritis. I find myself bunkering down in my room dreaming of my future. Not just future in the sense of what am I going to do with my life, but a future of feeling clean, having a normal life of a 20 something, and having some amenities back (carpets, hot water, and a bug free bed). It is sad cycle though because those dreams cause me to feel so damn guilty—guilty that after 2 years here I am ready to go home, guilty that I constantly tell people that it is not worth it to go the states illegally yet I am dreaming about the day I move back home, guilty that 2 after years I need my amenities back but people live here their entire lives without those things, guilty that I want a normal 20 something life of meeting for coffee, joining a gym, and going out after 5:00 p.m. So, after I spend hours dreaming of those things, then feeling guilty about it, and then dreaming of a day when I don’t feel guilty for those feelings, it is usually 2:00 p.m. and I realize I spent all day not being in my community being a Peace Corps volunteer but instead have wasted away in my house fighting with an internet connection comparable to year 1999 trying to Pinterest recipes for grilled mushrooms for when I get back home in 3 months and wondering if I am going to become Tina Fey on 30 Rock (37, single, and quirky).

It is a terrible cycle that I cannot break right now. The date is just so close I can taste it. It tastes like Wawa coffee, fresh picked apples, roasted veggies, and frozen yogurt. It is teasing me. And as a typically restless individual (since the end of high school I have not spent more than 1 year without going somewhere new), I am ready for the next adventure. El Salvador has been so wonderful to me, Upire has made me part of their family and it a part of mine, and I still love this country and living here most days. But, I am tired. I am tired of the dirt, tired of the guilt, tired of the restrictions, tired of feeling some sort of sick all the time, tired of giving, giving, giving, tired of certain cultural differences that are just wearing on me at this point, and to top it all off I am just ready to do something new.

Yes, I feel so guilty for saying all of that. But it is true. And I can’t feel guilty for being honest here. It is a somewhat of a relief to say it.

However, just being honest about the problem does not fix it. I can’t spend my final months here salivating over recipes on Pinterest, locked up in my room away from Salvadorans, and living vicariously through characters in television shows who have hot boy friends. Or people who have bosses that look like Alec Baldwin (oh those dimples). Yes, I am current enthralled in 30 Rock if you can’t tell. So what am I going to do?


Masks from Cast material!

Finished products!

Continuing the Post Painting!

Hanging out and Making Bread is ALWAYS art!

Okay, so I don’t have a real solution. Basically the only way to avoid this stuff is to stay out of the house (my room), keep busy, and remind myself that I have 3 months to finish all my projects. AHHHHHHH! We have 3 months to paint all those damn posts!!!!!!!!!! When the pressure is on, I can usually get my act together. Well. that is how I survived high school at Charter. I guess it can work in Peace Corps too!

Plus, it is on those busy, but fun days when I remember how much I have loved this “job.”

Goin' Green Part 2

I am following "Part 1" way after the fact but deal with it. This post is going to be short but documents a big moment in Upire!

We finally got our TRASH CANS! :) It only took about 10 months...

Nearly 10 short months ago my youth group and I went to the Alcaldia (local Mayor's office) to solicit trash cans for our community. Our main reason for soliciting at this time was the impending inauguration of Dia de Comercio. We figured that a lot more trash would build up on Saturday mornings (and it does) and that it would be the perfect time for Upire to take the next step in trash management and educating the community that in some fancy places trash goes in a trash can. Our local Mayor read our proposal, our plan for dealing with the trash, and promised the trash cans to us at that meeting. Apparently there were some problems with the man in charge of the environment sector of the Mayor's office and we are just now getting our trash cans. Those problems lasted 10 months I guess. Oh well, typical development time frame here in El Sal. Needless to say, we are excited especially since we want to have them for our one year anniversary in August. We received 6 big trash cans which are strategically located around the main sector of Upire.


FYI: Trash maintenance is challenging here. In small rural communities there are no trash cans, no trash collection, or much recycling. Streets are either covered in trash or small piles of ashes where people have done the only thing they can do with their garbage, which means burning it. I am not sure if you have ever burned large amounts of trash but it is disgusting. Not only is it the bothersome smoke and fumes but also imagine the dirty, grimy job of burning used toilet paper. Unfortunately, burning trash is a way of life here. There is not much else people can do to dispose of their waste. What would you do? Travel 1.5 hours on a bus with your nasty toilet paper in tow to throw it in a trash can? I don't think so. Progress has been made in some ways though, especially in the area of recycling. The school and community members have learned (when they don't toss them on the ground) to save plastic bottles and resist the urge to burn them. Our Mayor then buys those products so that people collect them, resist the urge to burn them, and make a small profit.

The hope that with these new trash cans we can begin the slow process of educating the people of Upire to put the trash in those locations rather than on the street. The youth group has promised to take care of the trash cans and collect the trash (when we do our weekly cleaning round) and either (depending on what it is) send it to be recycled or burn it on behalf of the community. Hopefully this is a temporary solution and soon enough we hope Upire will have some type of maintenance service that will take care of the trash collected (actually IN the cans) so that it does not have to be burned. (this might take many, many years)

Until then, take this as a reminder to thank your garbage men. They do an amazing service ;)