"Ever have a moment when you wonder 'How did I get here?'"
Recently this happened to me while standing on the side of a highway waiting for the second of two buses to bring me home. The bus stop is a dirt patch at the confluence of a major highway and a road leading up into the mountains. About a half dozen chickens meander around my feet, looking for scraps of nutrition among the grass patches. All too often one ventures too close to the road and is quickly run off squawking by a roaring bus or car followed by a plume of smoke. It is an amusing sight. In addition, cattle are occasionally herded across the highway to find better pastures. Today a boy on a horse, maybe 11 years old, shuffles his dozen or so cows forcing traffic to stop impatiently. A couple of men and women gather near me and on the other side of the road also waiting for different buses. They take solace in the shade of a road sign knowing the wait will be near an hour. But I have hope that today will be different and if I look hard enough perhaps I can will the bus to come sooner.
As I stood there in the hot sun after a long day of interviews and ethnographic data collection, I wonder about all the small decisions that brought me to this place in this moment. I think of all the people who enabled me to advance academically and all of those supported along the way. I also smile thinking of all the places I could be in the world with all of the privileges I have. Yet, I have chosen to stand on a dusty corner in a forgotten part of the world sweating profusely, avoiding wandering bulls and listening to clucking chickens. Indeed, there is nowhere else I would rather be.
Life continues to be good in "La Divina." Santiago has recently learned to crawl and his mobility has created more work for us. He is also beginning to babble often saying "Dadadadada" and everybody in the community loves him especially the girls. As for Elizabeth, she will soon offer a class on pregnancy and early mothering for the women in the community. She also took a number of great photos which you can check out at the link below. Finally, my work is going well and I have enjoyed chatting, working, walking, eating, praying, and playing soccer with community members, NGO directors, religious leaders, and kids.