Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Worst Christmas Present Ever

Everything had been building up to this, but we were still taken by surprise.

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours was shot in the leg during a bus robbery. Luckily, she is fine. She left to go to DC last week for the second round of surgery (the bullet broke her femur). That bus robbery had been preceded and was followed by other robberies on the same bus line (our bus line) in the surrounding days.

We had always known Honduras was dangerous. It does currently have the highest murder rate in the world after all (82.1 per 100,000 people). But we never felt unsafe in our site, or riding our bus.

But then yesterday, we received a text message from Peace Corps saying that there was an urgent email in our inboxes, one that we should check right away. The email basically said that Peace Corps is temporarily suspending operations in Honduras. We have 3 weeks to wrap everything up. Everyone has to fly home to our ‘homes of record’ in mid-January.

We never imagined we’d be leaving like this.

The email left open the possibility that Honduras will reopen in February, assuming that it is possible to address the security issues and keep volunteers safe. There are several ideas as to how that can be accomplished.

But for us, this is it. We are not ready to leave, but there is no good reason to come back. Our original end of service date is only a few months away anyway, and we are not in the middle of any major projects. Plus, if Peace Corps does comes back, they will want to shift other volunteers to our site since it is one of the safest in the country, so we would only be in the way.

We are lucky in that our preapproved vacation to Nicaragua in January has not been cancelled. We are still allowed to go, provided we don’t use local public transportation in Honduras, but we did have to shorten it.

So keep an eye out in the next month for a couple more blog entries about our trip to Nicaragua and our attempt to say goodbye to this country that we have called home for the past two years.


  1. So sorry to hear about this. I learned of your friend being shot in the NYT... sad news indeed. Please let her know that the anonymous people of the Internet wish her a speedy recovery.

    My heart is broken for my country and the neighboring (just as broken) states. We appreciate your volunteering to help out in whatever way you can.

  2. I served in Honduras from 2004-2006, Youth Development. I heard from another former volunteer that PC was pulling out of Honduras. I was saddened to hear the news and surprised it has gotten so bad (no, I hadn't kept up). While incidents happened when I was there, it was never to the point of shooting someone. Definitely time to go.

    I also served in Cote d'Ivoire in 2002, but was evacuated shortly after training because of a coup that led to a civil war. Whether you're just beginning, almost done, or somewhere in between, it is hard to say good-bye and leave in such a way. My heart goes out to you and all the volunteers.