Flying from One Family to Another CC0

A long-awaited return home allowed me to focus on my past, present and future. 

Is there a more exciting experience than flying back home after spending a period of time away from your family and friends, and away from the comfort of a privileged existence?

For wandering souls like me, there is. It is the experience of discovering what I knew all along: That the world is immense, and that there are as many homes in it as you care to discover.

A couple of months ago, I returned to Canada to recharge my batteries after spending more than a year in Honduras as a humanitarian worker involved in human rights. My somewhat brief experience there certainly did not make me an expert on the subject. In fact, I felt that I knew less after spending time with local indigenous people than I did before I left for my mission there under the wing of Cuso International back in 2017.

My expectations before leaving for Honduras were, well, idealistic (which is another word for unrealistic). You can talk about social justice until you are blue in the face, but you will never know what it really means until you are face-to-face with social injustice. This is the realization I brought back from Copán.

I missed my family tremendously when I was abroad. Being back with them all was both a great joy, but also a source of worry. Although I had only been away for a relatively short period of time, I was able to see that everything was not exactly like before. Everyone had changed in some way, bringing home the fact that we are getting older all the time. 

My appreciation for my home, my family and my friends was so profound that I sometimes wondered why I had left them behind at all.

Another thing that happened to me when I was home was the return of childhood memories. Those often caught me by surprise. Everything around me brought back memories that were buried so far down that I was not aware of them.

My appreciation for my home, my family and my friends was so profound that I sometimes wondered why I had left them behind at all.

Of course, I now have another set of memories, including those of the families I had met in Central America.

Yet, it was all worth it, because I am going to bring all these new memories with me on my next travels: my parents’ embrace when they saw me again, my sibling’s stories, the sound of familiar voices, the favourite food that my mother cooked especially for me, the yoga classes and the bicycle rides I took, reunions with old friends of all ages, long meals in ethnic restaurants, drinks with friends and colleagues. . .the whole thing! It all made me so much more appreciative of my relatives and all that they have done for me, and I am more determined now to show them through my actions that their love was not wasted on me.

Now that I have had the incredible chance of reconnecting with my roots, my family and my tribe, I am looking forward to picking up my bags again. I feel that this is just what would be expected of me: I will leave again soon on another mission, for another adventure that will be both academic and involved with day-to-day reality.

After completing my doctoral studies in an American University this year, I will resume my active humanitarian work with renewed energy. In the meantime, I will be able to keep a hand in my chosen profession thanks to an agreement I have with Cuso and thanks to which I will be able to work as an e-volunteer while I am outside of Honduras.

So then, I have another homecoming to look forward to: my return to the Honduran indigenous people whom I met during my stay with them, and who have adopted me as a member of their family.

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Published in Volunteer Abroad Blogs
Daniel B. Sarvestani

Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani, is a Canadian human rights advocate and advisor. He has been volunteering and working internationally for the better part of the past five years. Currently, he is assigned by Cuso International (a Canadian development organization) to work in Honduras as an Indigenous Peoples rights consultant.


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