January 17, 2005: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Humor: Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Amy Langrehr coming home after learning to live in Honduras

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: January 17, 2005: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Humor: Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Amy Langrehr coming home after learning to live in Honduras

By admin (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 10:10 pm: Edit Post

Amy Langrehr coming home after learning to live in Honduras

Amy Langrehr coming home after learning to live in Honduras

Amy Langrehr coming home after learning to live in Honduras

Life Support: Coming home after learning to live in Honduras

Monday, January 17, 2005
By Amy Langrehr

After two years with the Peace Corps in Honduras, you come home.

Worry wriggles in your stomach (and this time it isn't an intestinal infection). You have nightmares about lifeless tortillas and sweet dreams about that special someone you left behind. There is no doubt. Your conscience is geared up for a big change. You are living in your native country again.

When you go out to a restaurant, you are amazed at how fast the food comes and how everyone else is getting up and putting on coats just as you are ready to order another cup of coffee and chat for a while more.

You are overwhelmed at the size and selection of everything, everywhere, far beyond your choices in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

Somewhere, sometime, in that Central American country, you started to think in Spanish. You chatted with neighbors in the streets, on the town's bus, and on the steps of local stores. You ground corn every morning with the women and little children.

Home now, you express a part of yourself that has been on hold for two years. You goof off with old buddies in northern Virginia with whom you plotted elementary school pranks and survived those awkward years.

You celebrate holidays with your family, not your host family. There are amazing blues, jazz, theater, movie and arts festivals to attend. Thai, Greek, Indian, Italian, deli and snack foods (conveniently wrapped) seduce you.

You feel relieved when people ask you what you do instead of "Are you married?"

You knew this older part, this gringo part of you, before -- and you will know it again, but in a different way.

You step into a posh coffee shop that conjures up memories of red coffee berries drying on roofs and patios, of friends hiking up muddy pathways in their flip-flops to pick those berries.

In Honduras you learned how to hitch a ride on the back of a pickup truck and that "the bus will leave any minute" means "the bus will leave sometime, probably today."

On arriving home, you miss the handy neighborhood kids, always available to send on an errand, and you feel slighted when neighbors don't visit you daily.

You rush to the post office to mail an important letter before its door is locked promptly at 5 o'clock. In Honduras, the nearest post office was the mailman's living room. You went any time, and often stayed for hours, joined by neighbors to watch programs on his television.

Home again, you carry a secret pouch of recollections to try to express by anecdote that you are different from the 22-year-old girl who left the United States two years earlier.

Those who never leave may never understand.

You have lived in another country and made it your home. Now blessed with the experience of maneuvering in two distinct cultural settings, you are relearning the familiar. You readapt, readjust and work a fast-paced schedule.

This time, though, your routine is tempered with fresh insights. You carry the memories of Honduran friends, framed in a language you now use mostly in "ethnic" food stores where you go to smell the plantains in the air and hear playero on the radio. Selecting from an assortment of pan dulce, you stumble on some Spanish words and receive quizzical looks from other customers, Latina immigrants who don't recognize you as one of them and wonder why you are so happy to see semitas and polvorones.

Honduras and its people have taught me an alternate -- neither better nor inferior -- way to find rewards in my life. I can switch back and forth between my two cultural heritages, choosing from both. I've stretched and grown.

(Amy Langrehr, of Arlington, Va., now works with immigrant day laborers as a staff member of Reston Interfaith Inc. She may be contacted by e-mail at amyelizabeth20170@yahooo.com. This article is from Hispanic Link News Service.)

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

January 15, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: January 15 2005 No: 375 January 15, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Bellamy finishing term - Veneman to head Unicef 15 Jan
230 RPCVs volunteer for Crisis Corps 14 Jan
Peace Corps Fund needs silent auction items 12 Jan
Matt Gould in one-man Peace Corps show in Hollywood 12 Jan
Taylor Hackford's "Ray" Nominated for Golden Globe 12 Jan
Ambassador Johnson shares memories of Thailand 11 Jan
Senator Dodd suggests PC return to Venezuela 11 Jan
Ambassador Hull wants PC to return to Sierra Leone 11 Jan
Poiriers unhappy with PC investigation of missing son 10 Jan
Emile Hons reflects on the Deborah Gardner murder case 10 Jan
Judge Paul A. Bastine criticized for stalling Divorce 6 Jan
Volunteer Patricia D. Scatoloni dies in Macedonia 4 Jan
more top stories...

Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.
RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?
The World's Broken Promise to our Children Date: December 24 2004 No: 345 The World's Broken Promise to our Children
Former Director Carol Bellamy, now head of Unicef, says that the appalling conditions endured today by half the world's children speak to a broken promise. Too many governments are doing worse than neglecting children -- they are making deliberate, informed choices that hurt children. Read her op-ed and Unicef's report on the State of the World's Children 2005.
Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.
Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; Humor



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.