Home Stretch…

By: Sarah Kaminer

I am on my last week here in Guatemala. It{s been very hard to blog because of the costs of internet cafe{s..but sometimes i put a blurb up on sarahenguatemala.blogspot.com when I only have a minute. I was moved to post because I just read the article about Eve in the July edition of Cosmopolitan. I do not know what I think about the article, but I do know I am not prepared for the emotions it evokes every time. Anger, sadness, anger, tears, and then a longing to talk to her family even though I have no idea what I would say. My sister Julia just got here, who just graduated from UNC in May, and was in Chapel Hill to experience that terrible March. We process together.

I am at home here IN guatemala. And as resolute as ever on my theory that youMUST stay somewhere for more than a month to make an impact or for it to make an impact on you. I am no longer a tourist. I know where my favorite foods are at the local grocery store, I know thursday brings triple saldo or cell phone minutes, and I know how to haggle a price on anything. Julia{s first day, I saw 4 guatemalan friends in the street that I was able to stop, kiss, and chat with for awhile. I finally have the community, the home, the family, the colleagues. Time after time I have seen people{s faces turn to shock as I explain I am here for a second time. ‘you must have liked it a lot then, to return’ they say. I explain to them that I wanted to come back to the clinic, the town of Santa Lucia, and my host family very badly. I was VERY tempted to choose somewhere else as I have never been to europe or asia or africa….but I knew my passion was Guatemala. Not just Guatemala, but Latino immigrants in the US. And the Spanish language. And a dedication as a bilingual nurse. The commitment to learn a culture, instead of assuming its all the same. Thanks to the Eve Carson Scholñarship committee, someone got excited for me!!!

I said goodbye to the clinic on Monday. I said goodbye to my best little friend Rosalie yesterday. I cannot imagine not coming back here. Whether its once, twice, every summer, or permanently, it WILL be a part of my life. It will also be taken back to CHapel Hill. I cannot wait to volunteer at the clinic in Durham where most of the immigrant patients are central american. I cant wait to have a conversation where we realize I have been to someones hometown. I cant wait to make posters about HIV in Spanish. I cant wait to transfer all of this.

I do not have a lot of internet time left. Next week or when I get back, I am going to post a lot more reflections and pieces of my trip. I cannot say how grateful I have been this whole trip, I cant wait to write thank you notes and chat nonstop. I am thinking about Eve all the time, and always wondering how I can bring her story to the people I meet. It{s an honor.

Here are a few more photos. Thanks for reading.

kayaking on lago atitlan!

one of the babies at the clinic, who i had to give a vaccine to….

TIKAL! Mayan ruins where the world is supposed to end in 2012…