Unbeknownst to me, an entire year has passed since I was last mulling over the ethics of candy bar purchases in the states, and looking forward to another full year here in Paraguay. Little did I know at the time, that one year would merge into two and I would find myself smack in the middle of territory few have chosen to cross into: a fourth year as a Peace Corps volunteer.
I suppose I could go back and recount what happened in 2010... lets see if I can sum it up in one paragraph.
I worked for an environmental NGO that focused on reforestation projects and environmental education, but aside from growing vast numbers of trees had little experience in either said focus. This led me to believe, and propose, and work through a year of project management, 16 different projects and a few thousand trees distributed. At the tail end, I helped design a plaza for a school for the blind with two other NGOs and inched closer to finishing an environmental education manual. Paraguay, again, was the most attractive option for work. Also, it has become more of my home than I readily admit, so I made it my business to extend my service as a volunteer once again, but this time into the field of tourism development, with the general goal of getting a few real design projects underway.
Nutshell. No drama, cut and dry. Life was not like this paragraph (aka short and pithy) but condensing a years worth of living in a meaningful way is as hard as trying to figure out which culture I presently belong to. So I´m just not going to go there for the time being, and jump right into the present.
As I sit in front of my computer screen, working away on price lists and construction documents, I see that I´m getting what I set myself up for this year: time consuming, eyelid drooping, callus-on-my-wrist from too much AutoCAD and 3dsMAX, design work. No joke, its rewarding in non-monetary ways, thank god, seeing people get closer to realizing their image of an improved environment or better public space, but man. I am tired. This 24/7 volunteer lifestyle is...well, its not easy i know that much. I still want to do so much that I push myself too hard, even with culturally appropriate siestas and breaks. As in everything, balance is essential. I´m hoping to find some pretty soon, just need to finish these construction docs first...