First Week In Paraguay...
Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
21Trip End Apr 26, 2009
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So, Itīs about 5 mil ...just a buck....to use the computer here for about an hour....but I have learned rather quickly not to think in terms of American dollars when I am purchasing things, because people are so poor here and things are expensive. I just passed some gas accidentally....and the computer guy gave me a funny look...oh my life here in Paraguay....you would be so proud of me..the littlest (I also have learned to invent new words here) things donīt bother me so much as they did in the US.
So here I am...away from home for 8 days....hey...who is counting....only 715 more to go...just kidding. Actually, the PC director gave us that number in one of his spills when he was telling us that our service isnīt all that long when you factor in inservice trainings, vacation, doctor visits and so forth....he, of course, is saying this while we are (in my group) sitting in an old capilla (chapel) on perhaps one of the hottest days while Iīve been here...99 degrees. Anywho, life has been so interesting the last week. Iīīve left my life in the US and tried to at least adjust somewhat to a new culture, new food, new environment, new people, different ...many....different ways of doing things. I am learning so much. For example, PY people obviously donīt believe in using a mousepad at their public cafes ... so I have made my own little mousepad that I bring with me to help navigate while Iīm here so that it somewhat alleviates the pain of navigating. Just one..!
The second day I was in country, I became so so burnt on my arms that I had to visit the PCMO (Dr. Avilla) where he, like most, people comment on how white I am...of course in a muy guapo way!!! Today, I got some sun creme to use, thank goodness. You probably wouldnīt believe it, but I am also wearing a hat everyday...the only time I take it off is when I am inside the main CHP center in downtown Guarambare for whole group training..and even then, I feel totally desnudo ( naked!).
Since my last entry, I have had many interesting experiences. I have helped mi madre kill a chicken. That was pretty dog gone interesting. I couldnīt beleive that I actually ate it an hour after we killed it!!!!!! I have pictures, which are forthcoming. I dont have a convertor, and I can only get one in Asuncion, which I havent been to yet. They are muy caro (expensive) but I need it to charge up the battery in my camera long enough to post my pics. But dont worry, they are coming. Also, milking a cow is much harder than I thought. We have a servant on our farm, and he takes care of all the many animals that my family has...cows, chickens, goats, horses, pigs...you name it. Itīs sad, because here in PY....the poor people treat the even poorer people worse....He is a muy guapo (hardworking, not beautiful) man. He was patient enough to help me learn how to get about just a cup of milk out of two cows in about 30 minutes. I had to get up really early to do that....so I think I am going to make it a weekend activity. The church experience was ..letīs see, shall we say.....eye opening....all the ladies in my town gossip about everything, and like us back in US, come to church so we can pray and ask for forgiveness. They use lots of flowers (fake) and lots of pictures and do lots of kneeling..I have never knelt so much in my life..all I could think while doing it was ..dang, what if I was 100 pounds more...I would definitely break it and MY BED. my bed in the house that I am staying in is very small...smaller than a twin size bed back home..and it hs a thin sheet of wood holding me up with a needle thin matress. I like it though. Makes me even more humble..everything just makes me feel so humble. You just donīt know how great we have it in America and we complain so much.
I have made it a daily routine after school to play with the neighborhood kids in my community, which is called Typychaty....pronounced too.poo.cha..too. I wanted to give them a high five and they didnīt know what I was doing, so after I taught them, they were going around and doing it to everyone...you know, where you joke with them and move your hand to make them laugh....oh my goodness...they had so much fun with that! I love to play volleyball with that...well, itīs not really volleyball....we are using the movements, but just lack the necessary materials!!!
After church this past Sunday, part of my afternoon job on Sundays is to ...integrate into the community....itīs actually listed on my school calendar. So, I went with my host family and some friends to a local soccer game..they actually wore socks with their cletes, so I knew that it was a high profile thing. There were lots of people there. As soon as we got there, I was hit on by this drunk...I was so embarassed and he wouldnīt leave me alone. I had to get my friends help...he didnīt have any teeth, so I didnīt understand much of what he was saying and like most people in PY, they switch back and forth between Spanish and Guarani which is so hard for me to keep track of. My language classes are going okay. Thatīs all I can say about that. tHe language barrier continues to be my biggest challenge.
Yesterday, during tech training, we got to meet and talk to some real live PCVīs ... I really identified with one PCV with his project, his living conditions and so forth and he made me feel at ease about what is going trhough my mind when it comes to site selection from my APCD (Associate peace corps director) in charge of my sector. That is coming sooner than I think...we started our first project in tech training. It was to form a club de lectura...which is basically a reading club. my reading club meets on saturdays and we rotate meeting locations between my partner and I. So, pray that that goes well for me. Kind of nervous about that, but something that I hate about my character is that I always make things more difficult than it needs to be.
My fav foods so far is sopa de paraguaya which is like this really good cornbread, except it has corn meal, cheese, peppers and onions, and milk and eggs...it is so good.....and there are the tortillas which is nothing like the tortillas we have in the states..they are fried fritters with milk, eggs, flour, cheese, peppers, and so much more. it is sooooo good. and like any fried foods, you cant just have one, you have to have like three. I wonder if I am going to gain weight. Iīve tried to keep drinking my water...but my mom canīt keep it fast enough, because it has to be boiled until I get my med kits. What you do is you take a 2 liter bottle and paint it half black....and then you put your water in it with a couple of drops of chlorine.
Today, I started my vaccinations....one down, 8 more to go. The doctors are so nice and very up front with us. There discussions are serious and scary at times, but I just have to make sure that I keep myself first...sounds selfish, but I always am thinking of the strangest things at times....like...hmm...is my water really boiled.....oh is the water i got from the well not!!! Strange...my family is nice though, so they are keeping me alive! I have had mucho diarrhea....it has just become a part of my daily life. I go...go....much more than what I did in the states..and letīs just say that it is never SOLID...I have learned not to drink terrere with heavy dinner,,,that just makes the diarrhea more and more...so I try not to do that without being offenisve, because everywhere you go, everyone offers you this drink...it is okay taste wise, itīs like water in leaves that you drink...Iīm getting use to it. oh well, itīs funny to actually inspect what is coming out of.....my sister Amber still does that in her adult life...so I donīt feel bad. Plus, did you know that you dont throw toilet paper down the toilet_ .....disgusting...I am just now getting use to it....plus when you have diarrhea....you dont have much to get out...you get my drift....sorry to be so frank, but itīs simply life here in PY. Every night, I bathe with the frogs in the bathroom that come to watch me....he he !
I had my first let down yesterday...a girl that I have made good friends with told me she was ready to ET...early terminate and go back home. She is so strong though it seems...she knows the language the best of any of us in the ed group and she is very beautiful. I walk with her every morning to school. I meet her at her house....I have to clap a bit louder at her house, because from her gate to the house is pretty far. There is not doorbell, so you go up to the gate and say HOLA,,,,,,and start clapping.....strange. anywho, I have prayed hard that it will get better for her. she left a sig. other back in the states and she came with a cell phone that is compatible..which I think is the problem. It just constantly reminds her of what she has left behind. of course, i can sympathize with her. i took her out for a coke yesterday afternoon after she broke down and cried in front of the language teachers...in Guarambare...it was nice. I keep connecting to her. Pray with me .... for her!
Well, my limit is quickly approaching. Not sure when I will get the chance to write in again....
I hope that you get a chance to write me a letter. I am getting your emails....but I would love to reply, but I just canīt to each one. It makes me sad. I havenīt even talked with my mom or dad over the phone yet....it is so expensive!! I am hoping that I will get something set up soon to talk with people home. I know that I will get a cell phone when I swear in, but until then, it will just be me....alone...itīs sad, because I really want to talk with them, but itīs teaching me a lot. I canīt express that enough!
If you are mission minded and have the resources to send me things....I need some markers, construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue. These things are sooooooo exp here in PY....and are very rare. Also, if you can go to the dollar tree and get some small things that I can give away as prizes to kids who partiipate in contests that I am going to do with my reading lcub...who can bring in the most bottle caps_.......funny, ed volunteers start collected trash that we can use to teach. so if you get the chance, I could really use that.....but it is expensive, so I completely understand!
Please continue to pray for me.....so many challenges, so much to learn still and itīs definitely hard at times and a bit overbearing at times.
i know that my thoughts are so random, but itīs what is coming out ....you know since I am ADHD (never diagnosed officially) I just canīt get things in order when I am being timed!!!!
Until next time,......
Your ambassador to the world, Trevor