It´s so hot here!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
Trip End Apr 26, 2009

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Flag of Paraguay  ,
Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mba'eichapa! Iporante ha nde!
Greetings to all my peeps in the good ole' USA! I am able to post two entries today, because I am starting to use my laptop when I can at my house to catch up on blog entries...this way, I don't spend all afternoon at the internet café. The computers there are extremely slow and there is always a line! I learned about a new program called SKYPE...I would encourage you to google it and find out more about it. But, basically it is a phone program that I can use on a computer in PY to call someone back home in the states or anywhere in the world, for that matter. It is free for internet to internet. So, if you do not have a landline telephone that you tap into for your internet, then I can pay 2 cents a minute to call you on your cell phone or other phone. That is much better than what they charge here at the publica telefono COPACO. I am excited about that.
This past week, I learned a lot more about what I have to do in order to qualify for Peace Corps service. As you know, I am in an intense 3-month training program...dubbed the longest job interview ever. This is true! I was particularly glad to learn this information because it provides me with a sense of closure about some anxieties that I have recently been having with this whole process. Just because I go through training doesn't necessarily qualify me for service. There is a paper trail. Every so often, I will sit down with different people, including my language and tech trainers and the country director himself, so that they can evaluate the progress that I am making in five areas ... they include community development and personal adaptation, personal health, safety and security, language, and technical training. The process is dubbed TAPS - Trainee Assessment Packet. I have a part to complete every now and then and the staff adds additional assessment. The assessment process is based on the trainee qualification criteria and the achievement of the above five competencies and performance objectives. The process includes check-offs, quizzes, exams, and/or simulations, as well as language interviews and monitoring by each of you of progress toward meeting my goals. The way they put it to me --- I particularly like...they said "working with you to see if this is going to work for you." I like that, because I want someone to talk to me every now and then and tell me how they think I am doing compared to what they have seen in trainees for the past 40 something years.
Informal feedback happens all along. The formal TAP for assessment of my progress and participation is scheduled at two points in the training cycle. The first is in week number five, which is a benchmark review of where I am on the road to qualification by meeting the competencies and indicators of the five component areas of pre-service training (PST). During this time, I will be given the opportunity to reflect on commitment and gauge knowledge, skills, attitudes, and practices in the context of Paraguay. It is also a time for me to analyze the progress I am making and to develop and strategies necessary in order to improve. The second formal TAP assessment and interview is in the final week of training. Once again, my self-assessment and the staff assessment is brought into context. Questions I ask myself - --- the big one is do I recommend myself for PC service? My PC-LPI (language proficiency interview/exam) score is weighed into the mix of things. Did I meet the language level criterion? This is what I worry about the most.
If I make it through, then CHP (the people who are training me) will make a formal recommendation to Peace Corps in Asuncion based on my record of progress to meet the qualification criteria. The PC country director makes the final decision of whether or not to act on the recommendation to accept me, or not, as a PCV. It's a very technical process, but I am very glad that it is in place.
So, that's what I have to do in order to stay for the entire two years. I have to say that there have already been a couple of days that I am questioning my presence. Today, however, answered why I am here...I met with my Reading Club this morning. Myself, along with a partner...a very nice young lady from Wisconsin named Brook, went out the past couple of nights to invite the kids in our barrio to our Club de Lectura. We invited a host of children. This morning, a total of 15 showed up, including our three teenage volunteers. It was absolutely amazing. When I got up this morning, it was raining, and I thought that we surely weren't going to have a good show. The banners that we made got wet and kind of messed up...but all the confusion cleared up when the first couple of kids came in. The purpose of this project is to further integrate ourselves into the community. We started with a couple of icebreaker games to learn the children's names. I thought that we had some strange names in South Carolina. Let's just say that it isn't just an issue in our country...but I got their names now! Then, we read them a story and we asked some questions about took me so long to ask the questions that I had....then we had the children draw their favorite part and decorate our club banner and so forth. They were so interested in the story...I have never seen anything like it. American school children aren't all that interested because they are read to everyday of their lives almost! Here in PY, reading is frowned upon. I have spent many a hour after dinner this past week reading and studying in my room-when my mom and dad see me...they always say "Que guapo!" Which translated, means you're hardworking! Reading is not considered a leisurely activity here...I am in a country where the illiteracy rate is super super high, especially among adults. Pictures are going to be doing my talking for a while! You should have seen how many of them raised their hands so anxious to answer questions we had for them.
After we read to them, we played two games - Simon Says and a water balloon toss. They loved both games very much. We also announced our contest awarding a prize to the child who brings in the most bottle caps. They are going to be great to use in the schools to help teach math. If you would like to send dollar tree prize items to me...muchas gracias!! You just would love these kids! I have three favorite little girls. Their names are Catalina, Fatima (Pronounced totally different than what you think), and Faviola. They are so angel - like! They are so sweet and precious, and just love to help me out. They also love to tell me what I am not saying correctly and how to correctly say it! Most of the children that came today didn't have shoes. Some had their sandals. You could obviously tell that many of them didn't bathe that morning or night before (many in my community bucket bathe - I am grateful that I have a bucket that I can pour into my shower head to make it work for 4-5 mins and my toilet!!).
This coming week is going to be super busy. Monday is a normal training day. Tuesday is our first dia de practica...part of the TAPS process. We are visiting some area local schools to make ourselves's kinda like in the US when you are in an education program. All of us have been assigned to schools that we will be doing our practicum work in...where we will present model lessons and complete workshops with the faculty. I will be working at the school in downtown Guarambare. Super excited! I was, however, informed today that I need to get a school uniform..which I thought someone told me that I didn't need to get one. Oh well...I will be visiting the modista (clothesmaker) in my barrio pretty soon. The dia de practica carries over through Wednesday. Thursday is going to be pretty interesting. I haven't been into Asuncion yet...none of us have. So, the CHP staff have designed a scavenger hunt type deal for us to complete. Not sure when we need to leave because I have no idea how to get where I am going, but we have to be at a central meeting location at 12:30 in the PC office in Asuncion. I am supposed to ask my family how do I get to my particular Mercado cuatro. Again, the language barrier is a problem. I have to do this by myself. That means taking the bus into Asuncion by myself. The horror stories I have heard about on the buses that go into Asuncion just scare me to death. Again, be reminded that the economic situation in PY is extreme...and people just put knives up to other pppl on the bus to take what they want. I, however, do believe that I am preparing myself correctly. I have made my fake wallet and I have everything around my neck suspended from a loop. So, if they want it, they have to take my neck too!! That is the trend with cell phones in PY - the ppl are suspending them from their necks. So say a special prayer for me on Thursday. Friday, we have a regular day. Some of us will leave Friday night for our first overnight tech excursion. Friday through the following Tuesday, I will be working with a currently serving PCV in education somewhere in the country - it could be as little as one hour away or as far as 11 hours away we have been told. So, I'm kind of nervous about that to, again...we are on the buses and I will be by myself. IT's going to be interesting and eventful I am sure, because I get a first-hand look at what other PCVs in my field are doing - how they are living, working, socializing and so on. Plus, this will be a great chance for me to get the information I need for my first CHARLA presentation the following Friday on 2nd grade education in Paraguay.
So, it's going to be a long next ten days or so! Things will move fast, that's for sure! Tonight, I made empanadas with me family. My host brothers and I continue to play our nightly game of UNO..they love that. It is truly the game that will never end. I didn't get a chance to exercise the past couple of nights, because it's been raining. I got my helmet from the CHP staff so I can lawfully ride a bicycle now! I look so dorky with that thing on.
I do want to share an amazing cultural experience that happened yesterday. While in Guarambare for group training, I witnessed a funeral. It is very different than prevailing traditions in the US. The coffin is carried from the church down the street in the hands of the pallbearers - no hearse. Behind the coffin follows the family of the deceased and any who are joining in the parade. There were at least 100 people in this "parade of mourning." Some were nicely dressed in traditional black somber dress, but there were many who just had their normal clothes on drinking their terrere in the middle of the street. They were also chanting something - couldn't make it out. But man it was pretty culturally exciting.
My health is okay. I am still adjusting to the new foods. My host mom is a fantastic cook. She is starting to let me help out in the kitchen (both outside and inside). The foods just rarely seem to settle with me...I still have bad diarrhea, but I feel so much better and just getting it all out!! LOL! I started drinking SUERO CASERA ..a dehydration juice type thing so I can get fluids back in me per the doc's order. It just seems to make me go more. I know I'm not getting enough water in me...not near as much as I was consuming before I left the states. Oh well, it will get better I am sure. The mosquitos are so bad here...everytime the first one comes out in the AM or PM - my family is just scared to death...screaming DENGUE, DENGUE..where is the spray!!
This week, I am especially missing a couple of things --- some orea cookies and my mom's fruit smoothies!! Gosh, I would love to have those!! Thanks my friends for sticking with me and keeping me in your prayers. It means so much to me and yes, I do feel your prayers! Thank you again. I do have an unspoken prayer request and would GREATLY appreciate you lifting that up on my behalf to our Lord for his guidance and assistance.
I am able to load a few pictures, not too many. Hope you enjoy them. Pics of my host family are forthcoming!! again this morning was very interesting. i am typing some of my blogs at home on my laptop, so i am going back and i am not crazy. just conservative with the time. i took communion this morning for the first time here. i lined up to get it from the was very nice. my friend helped me to translate what the priest was talking about in his message ' it was on the golden rule..treating others how you want to be treated!
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snowlover77 on

How Fascinating
Hola Trevor, I just finished reading your most recent post and I am so interested in what you are doing over there. I think the Reading Club is just awesome! I am going to go tomorrow to dollar tree and get some prizes and some materials and get them on their way to you. Brenda said she will help me. Hopefully in the next several days we will have it coming to you.

I figured the mosquitoes would be pretty bad there. But hey, we have them here so it's nothing you aren't used to...they're just Py mosquitoes versus Wedgefield mosquitoes. Good way to look at it!

The PY funeral you described sounds similiar to our funerals except the people in PY are walking behind the casket instead of driving behind it like we do here. You should take the opportunity when you can and visit some cemetaries when you can. I think that would be most interesting. What an amazing cultural experience.

About the language training...I can sense you are having difficulty in that area. Gurani' is a very unusual language, isn't it? And nothing like the Spanish you learned in high school. But time will be your freind in this area...all things worth learning are never easy so hang in will all fall into place for you soon. Each day you will feel just a tad more confident. I salute you for all you are enduring. Not many could do it or better yet..not mnay have the desire to do it.

Tell me more about the crime rate in Py. I am curious about that. What about the justice system there? Do you know anything about it yet?
So, You suspend the cell phone around your neck? I guess that is a good idea. And the fake wallet is definitely a great idea. Just listen to the Peace Corp leaders..they know the deal and will do all they can to help you stay safe.

So, Your host brothers enjoy Uno, huh? That's way cool! Is your host dad a nice man? You never say much about him. I'm glad your host mom is a good cook. She sounds like a great lady. Please tell her I said Thank you for looking out for you so well.

As always I am praying for you. I know you must feel them. God will take care of you, trevor. You belong to Him. He is always there for you when things lok bleak and you feel sad and blue.

You said you uploaded some pics but they aren't here. Check on that.
I am SO glad the Skype thing worked. I am going to start taking my phone in the bedroom with me when I go to bed at night so if you call I will hear it. I apologize again for not hearing it this morning when you called but at least we learned that skype worked. So call again soon...just try your best to let me know ahead of time when you plan on calling..if you can.

Well, Trevor, I love you and I miss's so weird not seeing you around here. I can't wait for Brandon and Nikki's wedding in August.

Please take good care of yourself and remember how much I love you...Mom....May God Bless you today and always....
P.S...I am thrilled beyond words to hear that you are bonding with those little kids. You have a gift, Trevor, and you are using it. Keep up the good work.

vweible on

You poor thing...I can't believe you still have diarrhea!! You need some Pepto or something!! LOL!! I am going to print out all your blog's and take them to work the let everyone read. You know ...alot of the people at work don't have computer's.There have been alot of server's to leave and go to as been slow ...but for the most part things are good for some of us!! You will be keep up the good work and keep faith. Take care and I can't wait until the next adventure from Trevor come's!!Didn't get the pic's though...try again....take care...Velvet

darryl.davids on

We are enjoying the updates -- much like the Children Sermons of days gone by -- short and to the point... Really, the details are much appreciated; through you, we are in South America also! Our Prayers are with you daily and we are eager to hear what new has occured. Remember your daily Bible readings! God Bless, DD

longislandgirl7 on

Hey Trevor,

I have been keeping up with your blogs and man i must say that some of that is just sooo overwhelming to read I can only imagine how you must feel. The whole community bucket thing really was messing with me hard. LOL. You know I stay in a bathroom and that just wouldn't float with me! Sounds like you are coping well though and doing fine. I think you are going to pass with FLYING COLORS!! I never knew though that there was all this extra 'stuff' that went with going into PC. I thought you just sign up and get sent off and thats pretty much it....guess not! Look forward to another blog. Take care and keep your head up. We will all say prayers for you.
Love Gina and family

shebeams on

Hola from Cherryvale
Hi, Trevor! It really sounds like you are having a real survivor adventure. There is just no way I would be able to handle the whole bathroom bucket thing! Not to mention passing around water and drinking after everyone else! I'm sure you will do great. You are one of those rare people who excels in all you do. I am praying for the bus rides and language experiences. Thanks for the 'poop facts'!! I feel a service learning project coming on that could get you a few supplies. I think the students will be so excited to help. Keep the sunscreen on, remember to watch for flying chickens, and I'll catch you soon. Sherry

snowlover77 on

The Sound Of Your Voice
was music to my soul. How great it was to be able to talk to you today. You just don't know how it made my day. You sounded so good. I enjoyed our conversation so so so much. Your adventures sound amazing to me and I like hearing about other cultures and from what I hear from you, Paraguay has some very very interesting customs.
Supper was good. I know how much you would have enjoyed the dinner...fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn and lima beans and biscuits.....One of your favorite meals. We all were thinking about you.

You really need to make it a habit to use the sunscreen, Trevor. Don't want to get all burned up. That PY sun puts off some extremely hot rays.
Please next time you blog do talk about your upcoming solo chicken killing endeavor. I will be most anxious to hear all about it. Just take it easy as you break its' neck.

You know out of all of the topics we coveredon the phone today, I must be honest and tell you what most sticks out in my mind is the fact how privileged we have it here in America. I just kept is so right. We are so so fortunate and also so very very spoiled in our nature. Everything is pretty convenient here in our country. It's hard to completely imagine all you say without experiencing it myself but I can half way imagine it. I think what I would struggle with most is the language gap...that would drive me you know me, I like to KNOW people know what I am saying. LOL!!! But on the inside I know I would be growing by leaps and bounds. I'm real proud of you, Trevor. You amaze me really in alot of ways. Always remember how special you are..... not only to me and your family... but far above us...God. You belong to Him and He will never ever let you down. You have got to know that. There is nothing on this earth that you and Him can not accomplish together.......etch those words on your heart.

Well, I will sign off for now and post again tomorrow. Keep on hanging on..and remember SHOOT FOR THE MOON AND YOU'LL LAND AMONGST THE STARS!!! The Paraguyan stars...LOL! All My Love and every ounce of my prayers...., Mom

I will now look forward to our Monday phone dates.

kjsroro on

i miss you trev!!!
i am glad that you are with a good family. What are their names?? mr. and mrs. what? aunt sandy and i are sending you somethings through the mail. maybe some oreos and stuff. i love and miss you. everyone here is doing good. i went to TN this past weekend. everyone is ok! it snowed and i had to drive in it while it was snowing. i almost ran in the ditch. lol. it was soooo scary. guess i don't do well driving in TN while there is precipitation coming down. (you know what i am talking about I-40 and the rain)of course again i slammed on the brakes!! lol. i really miss you trevor. i miss hanging out with you and being silly. i hope you get to feeling better soon. i love you! rachel

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