Honduras is geographically composed of 18 departamentos. Kind of similar to ‘states’ in los estados norteamericanos. I live in el departamento de Atlantida. This weekend I went to the small city of Olanchito (40K) in the departamento de Yoro which borders Atlantida inland, about two hours by bus into the mountains from La Ceiba. Two of our companeros had birthdays where ten of us north coast volunteers posted to sites in Yoro, Atlantida y Colon gathered to celebrate in style. Jenn, Jill, Leala, Fernando, Iljeen, Mateo, Katie, Rebecca, Linda – all 20-somethings – and me, participated in a ritual as old as mankind, although they didn’t know that. Our diverse group of ethnic hispanic, african, caucasian, asian, men and women norteamericanos from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Seattle, and Maine came together like moths to a flame to be among our own kind. For the first time in my life I experienced the feeling of being an “American.” Our language, our culture, our slang, our idioms, our music, our recognition of self, exploded in my head like nothing had ever done before: not even when I was a soldier in the military. It was a recognition of being unique; of being ‘us.’ I love my country. I am proud of my country. I am glad to be in Honduras as a representative of my country. I will never forget my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers; our most noble of citizens.
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