i´m nearing a strange part of my Peace Corps service – the countdown. There´s a certain insanity to it. I have about 1 month left in site before I head down to Lima for paperwork; I´m saying goodbye to some of my good friends here in Amazonas as they finish their service and leave for home; I´ve said goodbye to my old host family from training, and will say my farewells to all of Leymebamba soon enough. Yet again, from start to finish, Peace Corps seems like a long series of goodbyes. (And ridiculously high moments, and persistent loneliness, feeling amazingly fulfilled, and so much more.)
I´m becoming slightly restless and nervous, wanting to finish up my time and work as best as I can here, make time to spend with everyone in site before I go, and stock up on the best memories I can while I still can. At least I can prep for the change ahead of time; it´s not like it´s a complete blindside. Then there´s the job search for back home, which I should really be getting onto now, and paperwork to close everything out; packing all my things, and receiving the new Volunteer in Leyme right before I go. It´s nice knowing the work will be continued once I go, and that I was able to set down the ground work here in Leyme. Now I can relax and leave it in other hands.
There are lots of emotions going on – excitement, sadness, trepidation, slight fear, and resolution with the process that´s marching its way forward. I have about 5 weeks left in Perú, this place that now holds a spot in my life and my heart. I´ve had plenty of great experiences (see the photos below for some of the more recent ones), and I´ll get to have more before I leave. My Spanish has greatly improved, and will be part of my work (fingers crossed) from here on out. I´m more confident, more patient, maybe, more grateful for the little things, and better able to feel where i´m at. I´ve made some great friends, and now have two more families. It´s been hellish at times, but it´s been good to me too.
Another look at the “Serpent Lagoon” in Atuen, one of our more rural annexes. It´s literally shaped like a serpent, and some people say it was hand-made by the Incas. See one of my earlier posts for an aerial shot.
Our Laguna de los Cóndores (Lagoon of the Condors), Leymebamba´s well-known lagoon where 219 mummies were discovered in mausoleums set into the cliff´s edge. They say it´s 1 km wide by 2 km long. Took this photo from an inflatable boat we got to row across.
It was a small hike up to the mausoleums, up muddy slopes, ladders, and some slippery rocks, but amazingly beautiful once we got there. The set-in cliff site overlooks the lagoon, and water falls lightly from the overhang on the outer edge. It´s one of the most majestic and peaceful places I´ve been to here.
I got to help out with a young women´s leadership camp here in Amazonas, put on by our Volunteers and health-based work counterparts. It was good fun, and two participants got to come from Leyme. (see below)
…And there was a birth control fashion show.
Went down to Lima for the better part of a week to help out with training for the new group of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Volunteers – we were Peru 18, and their group is Peru 22 (numbered by when they entered into the country — they´re the 22nd group so far). One of them´s hopefully coming to Leyme! I got to stay with my old host family in that time, and snapped that shot of them at breakfast the day we parted ways.
We had an official “despedida” (goodbye celebration) two nights ago in Chachapoyas, and some of the newer Volunteers surprised us with a cake. From left to right, that´s Sarah, Brian, Jessica, me, and Chris. (We were one short for the night – Andrew was spending his last weekend in site with his host family.) Love em all.