The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely mine and not connected in anyway to the United States Peace Corps.



Mahreesol. There’s a slight stress on the first syllable, a sort of leaning into the word that allows the voice to gently flow into the rest of the name. And then comes the rolled R, like a playful flip on the end of the tongue, adding a hint of subtle sensuality which can be detected only before one gets used to the pronunciation. The last syllable, with a long O sound, ties the vocalization of the sound to another word, soul and so after all is said and done one’s ear is left with the impression of an essence. My name, when pronounced in the accent of the local people, has a sort of beauty to it; when I hear mi nombre from their mouths it sounds like poetry. It also doesn’t quite sound like they are talking about me—it’s far too elegant and exotic to possibly be referring to me. It’s funny how our identity becomes wrapped up in the name we were given at birth, a name we adapt to, grow fond of…. become. I have always thought there is power in a name. Of course, since I’m named after my grandmother and mother perhaps it is a cultural notion I’m holding on to with that idea—but I’m fairly certain if the idea of a name containing power is merely a cultural one, it is an idea civilizations worldwide and throughout time have come to accept.  So here I am, in a new culture, starting down a new path in my life, with (after only 3 days) what still sounds to my ear like a new name.  And as I peer into the immediate future, to the work I’m going to be doing down here, I can’t help but think that this change, this what at times seems to be an overwhelming change, is going to be a good one.

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