Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Adios Amigos

Well, we're on the move again.  We had 9 wonderful months in Hermosillo and really loved the people and felt like we had begun to put down roots.  But in the last 3 or 4 months, security and the ever growing drug violence made us question if we were wise to stay.  Up until then, we had been assured that the violence was directed at those involved in the drug cartels or the brave people trying to stop them.  But with increasing frequency we were hearing first hand very real, and very serious incidents -- especially in the areas where Roger was traveling to looking for potential projects.

The Mexicans we met were warm, hard working, and welcomed us with open arms.  It is sad to see what is happening to their country.

But as the saying goes, "one door closes and another opens".  Roger was offered a job as a General Manager  for a drilling company in Bogota, Colombia.  And before you gasp and say, "What are you thinking?!", he spent a few days there and is confident the country has changed since the 80s and 90s when we all read the newspaper headlines describing a country out of control.  I've also been doing a lot of research, and have read that the current drug violence in Mexico makes Colombia's past drug wars pale in comparison.  An upside of moving to Colombia is we don't have to learn another language and that our Spanish teacher will continue teaching us over the internet.  I don't think my 53 year old brain could handle learning another language as I'm finally getting the hang of Spanish!

Leaving our friends, Roger's staff, and the special children at Ciudad de los Ninos was difficult for us. 
Above:  On my last day at Ciudad de los Ninos, I donated a bunch of sporting goods to keep the kids busy, and gave a goodbye speech telling the children how they had touched my heart -- that I would never forget them - that they were very special, and I hoped they would work hard in school.  After I was finished, Rey, (the boy beside me in the above picture) took my notes and I could see him read them.  I assumed he was just trying to figure out what I had said!  But a few minutes later, I saw him quietly fold up the paper and put it in his pocket.

Awhile later, Rey came and gave me a picture and note that he had made for me.  His note said I was a nice person, he loved me and would never forget me.  The other boys gave him a hard time for doing it, but I was so touched by his note.  It's not easy for 12 year old boys to show affection --- let alone those in a macho culture --- so it meant even more to me.What a wonderful experience I had volunteering there, and I will definitely be looking for more opportunities in Bogota.

Our whirlwind series of farewells included taking our staff out for dinner to a great place that had a mariachi band......

 ....then we also took the group that befriended us early on out for dinner..Perla, Roberto, Javier, Sandra, Julia and Edwin all took us under their wings and treated us like family...
....then the following night Roberto and Perla hosted a final BBQ complete with karaoke -- I don't know if it's the water or not, but before living in Mexico we never would have grabbed a microphone and started singing!
...and I had breakfast with some of the wonderful ladies in the English Speakers in Action group.  They were a constant source of information and I called them my personal Wikipedia. I will, in particular, miss my friend Tracey and I hope our paths cross again.
Looking like the Clampetts, we packed up and left Mexico at the end of May and headed to Idaho where Roger got the Kinley flotilla ready for the summer.

Along the way we drove through Zion National Park in Utah.  It was jaw dropping beautiful and definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

Roger needs to renew his passport when we go to Calgary this week and then he'll fly to Bogota around June 12th.  He is really excited about his new job, and I know he I will put everything in to making it a success.  I will return to Idaho for the summer and hope to volunteer again at the Soup Kitchen.  When our last visitor leaves, I'll join Roger in late August or early September.  With any luck, he'll make it to Idaho for a short holiday in August.

Do we wish we could have stayed in Mexico like we had planned?  Absolutely.  But what we've learned over the last three years is we are adaptable and each new adventure has provided a raft of great experiences for us.  I'm sure Colombia will be no different.

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.'                          Dr. Seuss

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