The Honesty of Paraguayans..
Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
21Trip End Apr 26, 2009
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This week has been especially difficult, but I am glad it is coming to a close. By the time you read this, the first two people in our training group, G-23, are making their way back to the States. One of whom is a girl whom I have gotten to know really well and become really great friends with. Her name is Brooke. She has had a rough time since we got into country, and this past weekend, she got really sick and didn't get the kind of medical attention we have been promised. It's even got me thinking. Two other girls in my sector were hospitalized this past weekend for stomach viruses...most likely from the well water. It's been really sad, because it's like every time I get close to someone...something happens and someone has to leave. I am going to miss Brooke. She is the volunteer nearest me and that is where I have been doing my reading clubs and other projects for tech training. Pero, Espero Brooke mucho suerte! It's going to be rough for the next couple of weeks getting into the routine of her not with me...we did all our walks into town ( you can really get to know someone on an hour walk in the Paraguayan dirt roads with no end in sight....es la verdad!!) I think what has got me so down is not that I am going to miss Brooke, but it's like I'm thinking...I'm still here..she isn't. She is back in the States enjoying spending time with her mom and brothers on a nice comfortable couch with a nice hot shower...ehhhhhh....I could go on! Definitely, part of me wants to go with her...but I'm determined to be in this race for the long run! Say a prayer for Brooke and the other girl, Bethany, when you talk to God tonight.
This past weekend and the first couple of days of this week, I went to visit another volunteer in my sector to see what life was like for a real-live PCV. She lives in a compania..very small village...very campo (out in the middle of no where) about 6 hours on the bus from Typychaty (where I live). You know, riding on the buses here in PY is one of the most interesting things you can do to firmly appreciate "your private space" in the States. If any of you really know me...you know that I have a bubble all the time around me...and when you cross into my bubble...I get clostophobic. If we stopped and picked up one more person, I kept telling myself, I was going to scream. I hopefully will get to load up a pic of a bus here in PY on this blog update. Just imagine a Brady Brunch bus....some of the windows don't even open, and the fumes just come up into the bus because the engine is like right below the gear shift. I think I had at least three buts at any given time on my shoulder and one in my face the whole trip to Guira - the department where I visited. Guira is so pretty..it is definitely the scenic part of the country..in fact, the only place in PY where there are ceros (large hills...not mountains) that give a rolling effect..very similar to the ones I saw in Germany. It was so funny on the bus...on the way to Asuncion to stop at the terminal so I could switch buses, the bus broke down. You just know the sounds a bus should make and the ones it shouldn't be making. Well, I instinctively knew that the sounds we were making when we got into the city limits were not supposed to be coming out. What does the driver do? He pulls over and leaves the bus running to try and fix the problem. He opens the door right under the gear shift - which exposed the whole engine and everything (Toyota make/model) ... keep in mind the bus is still running...he pulls on the chain which makes it rev up and what happens? The fumes and ash and all that stuff just spits out....and where am I sitting...right in the front. Needless to say, I wasn't all that white when I finally arrive in Santa Cecilia Ciudad in Guira. I'm glad we got this other bus experience, because now I know that whenever I need to travel to another department (state) in PY..I have to change buses in Asuncion at the terminal...kind of like an outdoor airport terminal...where you can catch buses going to all parts of the country.
I had to stay with another family during my PCV visit, because I visted a voluntariA...in PY...if a male stays over at a female's house..that only means one thing and...we didn't want to establish that, so I just stayed with a suitable house nearby. It was actually a mansion. They had hot water...I didn't discover it until the last night I was there. My host mom...Na Elva...is such a good cook. She just opened her house up to me and let me help her make chipa...oh my gosh...that is so good! And chipa wazu...another great PY dish I tried. Still...too much oil...and I've gained 5 pounds since I've been here...probably 6-7 when I get this uploaded. I am got to "observe" the culture in the campo..which is very different than that of the larger pueblos and citys I have visited in my three short weeks here in PY. The men have like outside casinos set up and just play cards all day and gamble with beans or maiz kernels while the women cook and clean all day...talk about...!!!!!The men also play a unique form of volleyball called pique (pronounced pee kay ) volleyball where you cannot use your hands..only your chest, head, and feet. It's kinda like soccer, but the ball is airborne all the time! The volunteer I visited lives in the typical PC postcard house...made of wood, latrine, running water occasionally, etc. I could definitely see myself living like her. I keep telling myself that "yes, Trevor..training is hard, but it ends..and then you get to look for your own place." I learned more about how to go about getting my own place and, particularly, getting it up to par in order to meet strict PC requirements regarding housing.
I also got to spend an afternoon, after my siesta (did you know that everyone and every THING shuts down for the siesta, which is usually from 11:30 until 1 or so everyday...literally), at the school in Santa Cecilia. This volunteer works with three area schools. We have so much to be thankful for in the States when it comes to our schools. I will never again complain about our schools (well, I will always try to think twice and modify the language I use). Teachers...listen up...be thankful that we have unit plans, planning periods, a bell, desks for our children, a teacher's desk, whiteboards...just anything you can think of...a tile floor is a big one! The kids here don't get a school lunch...they only attend school 4 hours a day...they can choose when they want to go - morning, afternoon, or night. Most children, anyhow, work during the early day to help their family. There are so many children that work in the streets selling just anything you could imagine. Just going to Asuncion alone (which is only an hour)..at least 20 people came on the bus to sell something - from cold drinks to watches and underwear - all of which was probably smuggled into the country illegally through Ciudad del Este on the Brazil border. It's crazy. And the teachers...well, that's another blog entry. I don't want to be so judgemental upfront, because I need to observe more... but my work as an ed volunteer here...my work is cut out for me! I know I definitely want to do a world map project and teach English in the evenings at the local colegio (high school).
Life in the campo is very tranquillo. On Sunday, we went from house to house to drink tererre ( I still have not gotten this ritual down yet..I always mess up when I finish drinking and hand it to the wrong person or forget to drink all of it- pray for me that I can get used to this taste of grass and water mixed together! That's what it seems like to me...some brands are so strong!). We ate lunch at one of my volunteer's friends house. They killed a pig for me and a chicken. I was impressed. A quick funny story while there at this house. Every where I go, I am asked do I want a beer or do I drink...I say no and not even 10 minutes later, they ask you again...you drink? You want a beer? It's really annoying. Anyhow, I just told these people that I didn't drink. And here comes a man from the kitchen with what looks like juice boxes...you know....I see pictures of grapes and cherries and I'm like...wow ... jugo!!! I am so happy. So I pour me a big ole glass...they ask me do I want ice with it...I'm like ice? What do I need that for...I take this huge gulp down (everyone is looking at me) and then I realize that it isn't grape juice...it's wine!!! Very strong too...I had to spit it up...Thank goodness they laughed with me. I will never forgive myself for that! Paraguayans are such loving and forgivable people though!
What else did I learn? Paraguayans are the most honest people you will ever meet in your life. They will tell you the complete obvious in a heartbeat. When I got up from my first night in Santa Cecilia, my mom tells me "Good morning, red face." The next day, it was "Good morning, bumpy." (referring to the break out I had going on with my face.) You know - this is very much frowned upon on in our culture. You just don't get that honest with people...I know you see it...I don't need you to remind me. They are just such honest people.
Got my next set up shots this passed week. That's going okay. Still got the diarrhea problem, but it isn't as bad as it was when I first got here. I'm getting used to the well water. I have drank so much of that rehydration junk, it isn't even funny! I even got some anti-diarrhea pills...they're huge and taste like Pepto. Still don't have my med kit yet. I wonder when I'm going to receive that?
So friends and family... I still have this unspoken prayer request. Iīm not ready to share it on here yet, but it is definitely in need of serious prayer soaking with the Father...it is and will be affecting my work on a large scale here during my anticipated service. I learn more on Monday about this problem. I am very nervous about it and scared, but those are the norms right now during training, but this is something totally different. I need you to please pray for me...there are decisions involved. Also, I received word that my grandfather, Charles Ivey, isnīt doing very well. He lives in Tennessee and is suffering from continuous problems with his lung. just something else to worry about I suppose.
A quick housecleaning tip before I close....please know that if you post comments on this blog site..they are in the public domain...anyone can see them. So, use caution. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and while my time is limited on the PC in the cafe, I will read them but may not get the chance to respond in depth.
Until next time, your ambassador to the world....Trevor
PS....My mom-mom tells me that I got a Jury Duty summons last week! Woo---hooo! I have always wanted to serve on a jury..funny how I leave the country and then I am selected! Hope my dad went and took care of that for me...don't want an arrest warrant out for me!