Bye Bye, Bogota

These are my friends on the way to work. They’re usually asleep. There’s about six more, and they all hang out around the food carts. I can’t imagine why, the frying oil smells like their butts. Oh, wait, that’s why…

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A short post tonight, but an important one to me, as I prepare to leave Bogota. I’ve been working some very long hours on a set of reports that signal the end of my time here. News came out today of the signing of Colombia’s peace accords, and as I stared at the document on my screen, I had a knot in my throat – they’ve fought so long, and now battled for peace for four years more, and finally, the end is in sight.

I’m feeling the same, on a one-person’s-journey scale. It has been hard to pay attention to anything but work, but I knew the time was coming when I’d leave Bogota. This last stretch has been a lot of work – a lot of data to analyze, a lot of interviews and focus groups, a lot of surveys, a lot of stories about life Colombia outside the lovely capital cities. Our team did 20,000 interviews in five months. Then, the better part of the team vanished and the analysis came down to just a scant bunch. And the responsibility to me – I’ve worn it heavily, sometimes like a big whiner. Often!

I knew that when I finished, I could start the next chapter of my life, blah blah blah. So melodramatic. Anyway, it has felt like carrying a load of cantaloupes. Even when one got removed, I still was off balance, burdened, unsteady, too many damn melons. Now, finally, the load is starting to lessen. Tomorrow we give the client the big presentation on the data. Tomorrow night my friends are having a “so long Keri” party for me. A week later, I will be packed and waiting for my flight back to DC, some time with family, and then on to Madrid.

But what do I leave when I leave here? It’s a story that’s been building while the cantaloupes have been falling where they may. (That’s a metaphor, right?) This week I’m going to tell a bit of that story so I can remember better all the stuff that life has been made of here. I’m taking pictures, reminiscing, and hanging out with the ones I do love here. And I’ll put it right down on the interwebs. It’s my way of saying goodbye proper-like.

Till tomorrow —

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