Letters and Pictures from Honduras from PCV Barbara Joe

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By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 9:55 pm: Edit Post

Letters and Pictures from Honduras from PCV Barbara Joe

Letters and Pictures from Honduras from PCV Barbara Joe

Read the letters from Honduras by PCV Barbara Joe. They contain excellent descriptions of Peace Corps work and are full of insights into volunteer life at:

Letters and Pictures from Honduras from PCV Barbara Joe

Following is a letter called:

Closing Ranks

As you know from the last letter, my site mate, Sam, has left Honduras and the Peace Corps altogether. Two other volunteers from our training group departed about the same time, so out of our original 50 trainees, we are now down to 43. Apparently, the one- year mark is common for departures—volunteers who are not adjusting well realize that the next year only holds more of the same. Or perhaps the novelty just wears off. Whatever the reason, it’s disconcerting to see blank spaces appear in the photo line-up of each trainee cohort. No matter how careful the prior screening, a measure of attrition is inevitable; I can only hope I won’t be among those having to leave early. I cannot imagine that I would ET (early terminate in PC parlance) unless something catastrophic happened. Whenever I actually do end up leaving, I wonder how it will feel to go from being Doña Bárbara, a big fish in the little pond of El Triunfo, to being just another cipher, a mere speck swallowed up in the vast ocean of Washington, DC? Although my official end-date is more than a year away, the very thought of leaving saddens me already. It’s going to be such a wrench that I’d rather not even think about it yet. If I didn’t have family obligations, I might even consider extending for a third year. However, I do sympathize with those who, for reasons of health or just plain emotional well-being, decide to leave early. To simply stick it out while feeling miserable is no benefit to the people we are trying to help.

Several volunteers are currently deciding what do after groups of thugs swept through their towns like Genghis Kahn, robbing, raping, and killing in their wake. As far as I know, the gangs are still at large. While the marauders are not expected to return to the scenes of their crimes and the PCVs there were not directly affected, nonetheless they have been left quite shaken and may decide on a site change. The whole populace of their communities is understandably distressed and not in any mood right now to tackle the more mundane problems falling within the volunteers’ purview

It should be pointed out that, worldwide, PCVs are seldom victims of violent crime. PCV deaths are most often due to motor vehicle accidents (not a very comforting thought). Other causes are natural phenomena, such as the mudslide thought to have killed a volunteer now missing in Bolivia or, occasionally, guerrilla action, as in the Philippines. AIDS has probably been responsible for more PCV deaths than outright murder. (The possibility of serious disease or death is discretely avoided in recruitment literature.)

In terms of PCV tenure, several countries are considered more desirable than Honduras, such as Costa Rica (though only a lucky few volunteers are assigned there), Panama, the Dominican Republic, and the English-speaking Caribbean islands. However, posts in Africa and Eastern Europe often present even greater hardships due to language, disease prevalence, inaccessibility, climate, local attitudes, and distance from the US. In China, I understand, volunteers are pretty much restricted to a single geographic area where they must live in segregated quarters and are limited to teaching English. So we in Honduras are relatively lucky.

Some of you have asked if Sam will be replaced. The answer, unfortunately, is “no.” Not only is Sam irreplaceable as a human being, but if anyone from our trainee cohort leaves early, that space remains vacant for the rest of the term, although it may be filled again from a future training group after we are gone. Meanwhile, I have inherited some of Sam’s tasks, most notably the installation of two water pumps in a nearby town, which should prove challenging.

I had been lobbying the PC to place a municipal development volunteer in El Triunfo, preferably one with computer skills to help me with getting the high school, health center, and library on-line. (I’d also like to get a new computer that actually works for Corcride. Wish I still had the eight computers of various vintages I gave away before I joined PC.) However, two months after the municipal development program director and I met with the mayor and town council regarding the matter, the mayor still had not filled out the application for a municipal development volunteer. I resisted the temptation to do it for her. Of course, she is leaving office in January, but that’s no excuse for such procrastination.

On the day Sam departed from El Triunfo, I was in Choluteca attending the disaster preparedness follow-up workshop, so didn’t get to actually see him off. He left me a long, touching farewell letter in which he thanked me for my compassion and understanding, describing me as a “dynamic personality.” I’ve been called a lot of things before, but never “dynamic.” When I read that, it was so out of synch with my own self-image that I laughed out loud, but, as my host mother in Valle de Angeles likes to say, “Each mind is its own world.” Thanks, Sam, I do appreciate the compliment.

While hardly making up for Sam’s absence, I am happy to have had the company during June and July of Simon, the 21-year-old pre-med student from Chicago mentioned last time. Sam is blond and blue-eyed, while Simon is a freckled redhead who is a good deal taller and thinner. Nonetheless, there seems to be some confusion as to whether they are the same person, both being light- complexioned gringos. I am often thought to be the mother of one or both.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

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



By Stephanie M. Joe on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 12:35 pm: Edit Post

I wanted to let everyone know that I maintain a website for my mom, Barbara E. Joe, who is a PCV in Honduras, now in her third year. Many photos and letters are posted on that site and give a good description of the region. Here is the link to her webpage: http://www.barbarajoe.100megs6.com/

By faustominidio on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 2:36 pm: Edit Post

hello to JOANNA SUSKI PCV in San Nicolas de Santa BArbara

good luck

Fausto Minidio

By faustominidio (host211-139.pool8249.interbusiness.it - on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 6:47 pm: Edit Post




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