journal entry

4 September 1999 

Gracias, Lempira, Honduras  

The sun is rising over the mountains to the east, already making it quite warm. A breakfast of refried beans, eggs, fried plantains and tortillas sits in my stomach. I’m still drinking my watermelon licuado.

 Chris and I are waiting for our pick-up ride to the trailhead. Today and tomorrow we will climb 9347 feet Mount Celaque, the highest peak in Honduras.  Camp 2, EI Naranjo Montana de Celaque  Am a little tired from the climb up to here. We are about 8000 feet high. Fortunately, it is not raining. A late afternoon sun shines through the forest canopy, a soft gold glows on the many shades of green of the tropical cloud forest.  A small brook and an occasional rumble of thunder rolling off the mountain below are the only sounds in this peaceful, quiet setting.  Clothes, soaked in sweat, hang on the pack straps strung between two trees. The tent is up behind me; the stove and cooking needs are to my right.  It is good to be back in the woods again … been a little while. The solitude and being away from noisy buses and squabbling people cast a ray of ease upon me. I desire to be nowhere else.  The trees covered with mosses, bromeliads, epiphytes, vines and ferns are interesting.  I use “interesting” because they are foreign to me. I know not the relationships the plants share, their biology, etc … thinking.  It is cool up here, around 65 degrees I’d guess. As close to autumn as I’ll get for now.

I am happy.

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 The following morning we woke around 5:30 after a rough night of sleeping. It was quite chilly.  We stepped out from camp and began the ascent with stiff bodies. Passing through dense forest, listening to bird songs and following plastic blue and pink strips tied to trees, we reached the summit one-and-half hours later. We snapped a few photos, looked out at the rugged mountains of western Honduras and shared some laughter. We did it.      

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While sitting at the summit and looking at Honduras unfolded before and below me, I gave thought to my two years here. I thought of Manto and my new familia there. I reminisced about days and good times with volunteer friends. And then I thought of home and my family there.  It is quite overwhelming for me to comprehend what my life has been in Honduras. I am, for the most part, happy here. When I think of life in the States again, the work, the hustle and bustle of life, the material greed, the lack of time for sharing a conversation, the abundance of stuff, etc., I become quite scared. I do not want to live that way.  

Yet, it is my country, my community, and my home. Despite the fear, I feel the pull of going back. I recognize it is time to bring Peace Corps-Honduras to a close … time to move on. Where I am going, I do not know.

For now, Penn’s Woods sounds good to me.

independent writer

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