- The week of our swear-in, a new Country Director started. She has previously run Peace Corps programs in Guatemala and Kenya and was brought on as our former Country Director retired. With this change in leadership, changes were bound to happen as well.
- During our All-Volunteers Conference, safety and security issues were brought to our attention and it was discussed that changes were bound to happen in order to solve/curtail the problems that these statistics showed.
- The day before Christmas Eve, 4 volunteers from CII-6 (my group) received calls from the office telling them that due to security concerns with their school and/or living area, they were being relocated from the city (Santa Marta or Barranquilla) to pueblos in the the Atlantico region. This news came as a huge shock to our entire group as no one saw these moves coming. Paranoia rained supreme amongst all of us as we speculated who else was moving and when "the call" would come.
- The day before New Year's Eve, 3 more volunteers received the same call. This occurred after we had been told that all of the moves were finished, so naturally a new wave of panic and uncertainty ran through our group. We brought in 2015 with more questions than answers. What a great way to start the new year!
- The first week of January brought along the last set of changes (for the time being). 4 more volunteers, myself included, received the fateful call, informing us that we would be moving out of Barranquilla and into pueblos around the end of January. We were instructed to not go to school and to just hang tight and wait for more information.
So that brings me to my current situation. Telling my counterparts at my school and my current host family that I was being moved was one of the most difficult things that I've done ever. The looks of disappointment and sadness will forever be something that I think about. Needless to say, that week was definitely the hardest one I've had to stomach since I arrived in Colombia.
So finally, after multiple weeks of sitting by the phone, waiting to find out my new location, I received the second, much more anticipated "call." I found out that I will be moving to Repelon, a city of about 16,000 people, about 2 hours south of Barranquilla. The city is situated on a lake, so hopefully that equates to lots of fresh seafood and fish for the next two years! All of the stress and anxiety that I had been holding onto since the beginning of January magically melted away. I'm finally able to look forward to starting my Peace Corps service and do what I came here to accomplish.
While there are still lots of unknowns about my new site, the prospect of being the first volunteer there possibly ever is exciting. I know that there are going to be a lot of hard days ahead of me, filled with ups and downs. Issues regarding Internet, water, electricity, among others, will test me to the max. But I came to Colombia to experience a life unlike one that I've ever had before. So while it's hard to leave my current host family and my fellow volunteers that are staying in Barranquilla, I'm confident that this move will open up new avenues and opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.
Bring on the pueblo life!!
|Where Repelon is in relation to Barranquilla and Cartagena|
|A map of the town itself - definitely a change from Barranquilla!|