Usually when we talk about "Time and unforseen occurance" it has a negative connotation. Just recently something totally unforseen happened to me, but this time its not at all negative. I've been in Mérida just over three months now, and I now know my way around the city pretty well. I've also adjusted well to the climate. In fact this morning i was in Starbucks but I had to leave because the air conditioning was too much for me, I was starting to shiver and get a runny nose. I was really prepared to stay here in Mérida for a full year.
Now to the point, as mentioned in a previous post I wrote a letter to the Mexico branch office of Jehovah's Witnesses, asking for direction as to where I should go to help. Because the letter was sent by regular mail, and the postal system in Latin America is notoriously unreliable, After six months had passed I assumed my letter was lost in the mail. Thus I decided to come here to Mérida on my own.
Just a few weeks ago, I recieved a response from the Mexico branch. Of course, I could just ignore it and stay here... but I would much rather be in a place where the branch had assigned me. The funny thing is that just before the response came I had been seriously considering moving to progreso to assist the new english group forming there. I prayed for help to make the right decision, and then shortly afterward I got a letter addressed to me by name suggesting I move to Central America. Seems like a clear answer to me.
But it gets better. They listed 4 congregations for me to choose from: Copan ruinas (Honduras), San Pedro Sula - ingles (Honduras), Laguna de Perlas (Nicaragua), and Léon - ingles (Nicaragua). Does one of those sound familiar? Thats because one of the posts on this blog is about a trip i made to Laguna de perlas last year where we travelled by boat to reach isolated villages. It was one of the most enriching experiences of my life, and now im being asked to go back. My immediate inclination was to run outside and get a taxi to the airport right then and there. But after giving it some thought i've decided to wait until after the district convention in september.
I like it here in Mérida a lot, but I do miss the simpler lifestyle and slower pace of living on the caribbean side of Nicaragua. I also miss the friends i made while i was there, who became as close as family to me. I look forward to seeing all of them again soon. I've already bought a plane ticket to get from Cancun to Managua, I will take the bus from here to get to the Cancun Airport. The reason i am flying from Cancun instead of directly from Mérida is that for some reason it is much cheaper. I save over $100 flying to Managua, and when coming from Canada I saved around $200 by not going directly to Mérida, and that includes the price of the bus from the airport to Mérida. So if you plan on going anywhere in the Yucatan i recommend flying to Cancun and then taking the bus. When i get to Managua I hope to meet up with some of my old friends there, but if that isn't possible I will go directly to Bluefields, and then Laguna de Perlas.
I'm not sure if I will fly from Managua to Bluefields this time, or take the bus/panga route. The flight is less than an hour, as opposed to 7 hours by land and rivers, but another factor is that the people sometimes view you differently based on how you arrived. For example, if you come into Bluefields on a fancy airplane (its a prop plane, but to them its fancy), they will not think of you in the same way as someone who came on the boat a long with everyone else... what im saying is, if you come on a plane, you're a big shot gringo who can throw money away for the sake of convenience, but if you come in on a panga like all the commoners, you might just be one of them. I've heard many times in conversation when i was in bluefields "so-and-so came to bluefields last week, he came on the plane because he has lots of money". I'd like to avoid that stereotype as much as possible.
I haven't found a place to stay yet, but I know that Jehovah will provide. After all, its his organization that is sending me there.