This impression was reinforced when the Peace Corps office in Quito invited me to to take part in the termination proceedings of my group. I would be practically a guest, since I had been sick and I still had five months or so to make up. But in a rather untypical example of mindless Peace Corps bureaucracy, I was told to go through the motion of terminating, just as though I weren't going back to Rio Verde.
My God, was it almost over? This was one of the few things we had in common, a feeling of amazement that the contract was almost fulfilled and that it was time to go home. It seemed only yesterday that we arrived in Ecuador secretly convinced that we were going to change everything and solve all problems. Well, Ecuador was still pretty much the same-but some of the members of my group were scarcely recognizable. The baby fat was gone for one thing, and for another, though it sounds sentimental and corny to say it, there was a raw and vulnerable look in many of th eyes; they were visibly marked by the suffering they had seen. They were all anxious to get home, bit it was confused by the sadness of leaving their villages and by a queer, sand dissatisfaction with a lot of uncompleted projects. We tended to overemphasize our failures, thinking more of what we hadn't done or what we had done badly than of our successful projects.