I have not posted in a month’s time and hope the holidays and New Year are treating everyone well. As many of you may know throughout that month’s time a 30-day Military Siege of the Alta Verapaz region has been underway in an attempt to reinstate some sense of security and authority over the narcos and corrupted police force in the region. During this time frame civil liberties are no longer valid and people can be detained without reason. Over three-hundred new police officers will be sworn-in in the Coban and surrounding regions today. As a cautionary measure Peace Corps has extended our evacuation from site for another week, until at least the 19th. Although no weapons have been fired as of yet, this will allow us all to see if there is any initial conflict with the new force in place.
Over the past months time I have been able to experience first-hand the amazing diversity and beauty this tiny country holds. Each obstacle seems to present a unique opportunity. These have included my first trip to the lake, my first hike up volcano Pacaya, and a stay at Trent-Guillermo’s site in Mañanitas, Escuintla on the Pacific Coast. The visit to the coast included seeing Guillermo’s current sea turtle project and the release of fifty newly born turtles into the ocean. Only an estimated one in one-thousand turtles will survive to adulthood.
Being able to flee my second home has produced a conglomeration of reassuring and saddening sentiments. It is reassuring to know our security is one of the aspects at the forefront of importance as a volunteer. Leaving behind local workmates, friends, family, my newly-born godson, Selvin Jr. , etc. can be disheartening knowing they don’t have the luxury of just getting up and moving. Living in a country and region with a history of extreme violence makes the current events even more real- many locals shut-down and cringe at the idea of military presence and violence as they play out under current different circumstances.
I now anxiously await the one week-seven days-168 hours to pass until I am hopefully able to return home to continue working on a variety of projects. Like the baby turtles, only a select few things may flourish and grow, but those select changes are worth the effort.
|Trent's family with the daily catch|