I feel like I’m at this weird crossroad.
In a few hours I’m leaving Santa Elena, saying goodbye to so many things that I’ll know I’ll miss dearly, especially the friends I’ve made here, but at the same time I’ll be continuing on in Venezuela for a week more and still be with Kelsey. A part of me feels like Trail of Seeds project ends today, but really we finished giving the last grant two days ago, I’m meeting Trevor in a couple weeks to talk about editing the documentary, and Kelsey and I still need to write out a few budgets- as part of a huge push I’ve been doing lately to get official future documents for the organization set up. Also, though we’re leaving all of our new friends here, they all have Facebook, unlike in Mangula, so I know I’ll be hearing from them soon.
Things aren’t really ending, just changing- the next portion is starting and there is so much to look forward to. Tonight we are taking a 10 hour bus to Ciudad Bolivar from where tomorrow we will be flying in a five-seater plane to Canaima. We will then take a four hour dug-out canoe ride to the base of Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world, sleep there in hammocks, and come back the next day. Then we’ll take another 10 hour bus to Caracas, meet up with my roommate from the United World College, meet his family, go to a beach, and then head off a couple days later. Kelsey will go back to Canada, and I have a fun 2-day layover in Trinidad where I will stay with one of my best friend’s mom and go out clubbing and Soca dancing with the sister of another friend. Then, I’ll be in New York, the day before my birthday, meet my grandparents (who are there for a college reunion) for lunch, and hang out with my friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in over a year!
What I’m most excited for is continuing Trail of Seeds’ work. The success of our project here and the lessons we’ve learned from the mistakes will make us a better organization going forward and I’m actively searching for the tools to improve. I’ve decided that for my final semester of university, and for the first time ever, I will not have a job outside of school. I can’t wait to see what all I’ll accomplish with my extra time but I know I will be personally, physically, and intellectually advancing and pushing forward Trail of Seeds as well.
It’s always a strange feeling being sad to leave something behind but being so excited for the future. (Un?)Fortunately, I’ve become accustomed to it by moving around so much. But no matter how exciting the next week, or four months, or fifty years are, I’ll know I’ll never forget my time in Santa Elena. I’ll always remember our dog cachique, empandas from Rosa’s breakfast shop, the long walk to Manak-Kru, the songs we always sing, the interactions with so many people around town, and the friendships that we’ve formed. I might even miss the plastic covering on all of our mattresses, the inconsistent internet, and the loud street that I live on. It’s been a special place to us and I think we’ve left a special impact as well.
We’ve done more than we thought that we would here, that was always my goal, and will continue to be for all that comes ahead. -Sal