Monday, March 3, 2008

Now what?

Well, after being back in the United States for two days, it's clear that I had once again deluded myself and others into believing I'd have lot's of time for blog posting, phone calls, trip reports, and email catch up... I was quite certain that having the Colombia trip behind would give me ample time to sit back, reflect, organize and relax a little, but, as was to be expected, the list of possibilities, expectations, and opportunities is at least ten times as long as it was before the trip. Luckily, though, my yearning for some down time has all but vanished, leaving in its a place a renewed sense of purpose and conviction which should be just what I need to get through the remaining Maine winter.

Colombia has always been able to inspire me to raise the bar just a little higher and part of the reason I try to maintain such close ties with the country is that I prefer to hold myself to Colombian standards than to the standards that are often set for me here in the United States. Here, people often hear that I work in Colombia, and are inclined to think I'm making some great sacrifice, risking my life for the sake of others.... However, the 11 Americans who accompanied me on this trip I think now understand that this is not the case. When I'm in Colombia, not only do I feel deeply inspired by the creativity, intelligence, hope and exuberance of the people, but I get to delight in the intricacies of a beautifully spoken language, an intriguing culture, and the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the world.

Ironically, it is not going to Colombia that is the sacrifice for me, but rather coming back. In Colombia, it's easy to be inspired to do the right thing, to reach out to others, to step out of my comfort zone, but the real work not letting that feeling slip away, not losing myself when I come back here and face so many more temptations and distractions.

Sometimes it's so hard to know if I'm really making a difference for people in Latin America, or just satisfying my own appetite for adventure and diversion, but at least now, 11 more people have seen a piece of what makes Colombia so magical.