PEACE (of My Heart) CORPS

May 4, 2009
By Evelina Albanesi BRONZE, Florence, Other
Evelina Albanesi BRONZE, Florence, Other
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I wrap my arms around Tim, a Peace Corps volunteer from Kansas who hosted my classmates and I for four days in the small village of El Pital, El Salvador. I do not want to let go for the fear of this experience truly coming to an end. A couple of seconds later I slowly ease my arm muscles and my eyes shut tight gating my tears. The words, ¨thank you," catch the breeze and do not reach Tim. Maybe that is a good thing because ¨thank you¨ seems like a lame attempt to express the gratitude I feels towards Tim for allowing me to visit his village.
I pick up my backpack and heart off the concrete floor and drag myself onto the booming chicken bus, which is blasting the same five songs I have heard over and over during my three month long journey through Central America. I gaze out of the window and watch El Pital shrink in the distance. What could my new friends and family be doing right now? Are the best dancers, Edwin, Otto, and Leo practicing the 1980´s dance moves I taught them the night before at our dance party? Are they working? Or, are they talking about the latest news on the "Mara 18," a feared gang that commands streets from Los Angeles all the way down to El Salvador. Are the girls we had in our life skills class reading the goals they set for the next ten years like they promised or are they patting tortillas for the evening meal?
I drift away and daydream about the morning we gathered young people, ages five to twenty-two, together to paint rocks and lamp posts with us. The beautiful artwork will keep the government from suffocating the village with political graffiti and glossy presidential candidate pictures. I smile thinking about the hour and a half hike to the reward of a refreshing pool of water with a small waterfall along side it. The most incredible feeling comes when I think about what a significant impact us gringas had on the girls we interacted with. Tim told us that most of the girls came on the hike but few had the courage and confidence to go into the water. They were too embarrassed. As soon as they saw us, young gringas, swimming in the water, they cannon-balled in.
The bus begins to slow down and I arrive at my new destination, though I am still reminiscing about my time in El Pital. Just maybe, I will follow in the admirable footsteps of Tim, as a Peace Corps volunteer, and return to the petite village to reclaim my heart.

The author's comments:
Evelina is a high school Junior from Florence Italy. She is currently spending a semester studying abroad in Central America with The Traveling School. This article, written for her Travel Journalism course, reflects on her experience living with a Peace Corps volunteer for four days.

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This article has 2 comments.

G said...
on Jun. 12 2009 at 6:04 am
Like OH MI GAWD this girl is just so amazing!!! For serious, I only wish I could meet her... again :) Hope you i good. I came on here and saw you and I were high ranking. GO US!

on May. 30 2009 at 6:45 pm
Snappy, sappy, and happy all at the same time. Peace Corps it is!

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