First of all, since last Friday I have had 4 (4!) goodbye parties. One with the school, one with the community, one with the youth group and one with a random family who wanted to feed me pupusas. By this morning, I was all farewelled out, plus I was EXHAUSTED from barely having slept all week. My last week in site was burning hot and water became scarce all over the village, and I was so dehydrated that I found it hard to sleep. This made me actually kind of happy to leave my site for San Salvador, for a few days if not for good.
So this morning when I left some of the host family came to see me off. Even the dogs I adore came up to me and let me pet them (did they know?) Contrary to many volunteers, I left with dry eyes. I think I was too tired to comprehend what was going on.
My friend with a truck took me to San Salvador with all my suitcases, after a nice final lunch of shrimp on the beach. Now I'm in the capital enjoying air conditioning and wireless Internet. It's weird to think that I'm going home Saturday for good and not just for a two-week vacation.
So now I'm writing the list. The list that all Peace Corps volunteers write. And mine is probably the same as everybody else's. But here it is.
Things I will miss about El Salvador
- Living my life surrounded by natural beauty
- Living my life outside
- Eating fruit off trees
- Being fed and cared for by random neighbors
- Not being glued to TV and the Internet
- Having time to read for hours
- Reggaeton and bachata music
- Volunteer working hours (i.e. being able to ditch work and have fun whenever I want
- Random people who know my name and hug me in the streets
- Pupusas, tamales de elote, fried plantains, red beans and even tortillas
- Working with cute children
- Dedicating my life to helping others
- Streets covered in animal poop
- General dirtiness
- Having to watch everything I eat and drink for contamination
- Lack of cultural value for education
- Lack of cultural value for hard work
- Handout mentality
- Scarcity of water
- Lack of convenient transportation
- Lack of discipline at home and in the schools that turns kids into rude little criminals
- Cultural acceptance of bad or unjust situations (instead of the drive to change things)
Here are some pictures from my goodbye parties:
"Thank you Alia for having shared two years. Welcome Rebecca."
These kids gave me a sweet wooden pineapple with a picture of the school inside.
A band showed up at my community goodbye party and played music while everyone watched this slideshow of pictures from the past two years.
Paz y amor.