Friday, December 31, 2010

I am suerte

My site is fantastic. I am about to finnish up my third week there. Its not easy, but I knew it wouldn't be, right?
Im living with a different host family every two weeks. So last Monday I moved from my first host family (who had two TVs and internet) to a new family (that has one electrical out let for the whole house, a latrine, a bucket to bath with, and a bed I share with the 10 year old granddaughter). It just goes to show that even with in one community there can be widely diverse living situations. I really life my second host family. Yesterday I ended up teaching a impromptu English class complete with a little blackboard and everything. Latter that evening, me and my 10 year old host sister lay in bed each studying. She studied English, while I studied Guarani. It was adorable.
My main goal in these first few months in community integration. How can I convince people to do intercropping and abonos verdes, if they dont know who I am and if they can trust me? So, I wake up early each morning before it gets unbearably hot, and I go visit a new family. I just sort of show up outside there house and clap loudly (its kind of like knocking). Usually the senora is at home and we all sit down to drink delicious, delicious terere and talk about the weather and how hopefully I will learn some Guarani. People are incredibly patient and usually I usually know enough Spanish and they know enough Spanish that we manage to get the gist of the conversation.
After a good long terere setion, I go back to my host family and eat lunch (consisting of an unknown part of the cow) and attempt to nap in the horrendous heat of midday.
After my nap I either go and visit another family, or stay and hope and study Guarani or agro. technical information. Some days are definitely a lot more productive than others.
I have found that although my language skills in Spanish and especially in Guarani are lacking, I am ahead of the game in awkwardly house calling complete strangers. So much of my job with AFSCME was house calling people and getting them to tell me about their work life, that I find its fairly easy to do the same thing here. I just trip over the language while Im doing it. I have been able to give a few helpful (I hope) tips to my peers as well. But it take people a while to learn that you cant just bluntly ask people "what do you want me to do for you?" or "why dont you use abonos verdes on your fields?" You have to have a discussion and eventually these things come out much more naturally. Eventually people start taking about how the soil is tired and drained of nutrients, and how one of their neighbor plans beans in between his corn- Thus the chance for a discussion about abonos verdes. But even though we were taught in training about the need for a discussion in stead of direct questions for change right off the bat, it is hard for many people take the time that is necessary.
Im not saying that I house call perfectly, but I finally understand why the Peace Corps accepted be despite the complete lack of language and agricultural training.

I picked up some letters in the office today! Thank you so much!
Happy New Years everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

my site!

ahh! I found out my site today. I am going to visit it for a week tomorrow. My offical home for the next two years is: Calle Arroyense, Punta Suerte de San Estanislao, San Pedro, Paraguay.
Ill tell you more in a week after I have actually visited the place. As of now, all I really know is that they grow alot of sesame and pineapple and that San Pedro is one of the poorest and most politically active departments in Paraguay.
In a few weeks, once I actually know what this all means, Ill update again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

belated update

Oct. 8th 2010
I am beginning to realize that I came to PC at the right time in my life. You have to have a really strong sense of yourself before you come, or it will swallow you up. Happily, I do have a very strong sense of myself, but I don’t think I did back in senior year when I was first considering the PC. I am really glad I ended up waiting two year. Im going to do a much better job now, than I would have then.

Oct 27th 2010
I have a bigger impact on the kids in my host family than I anticipated. My cousin saw me using flashcards (that I have been making our of poster board due to the lack of index cards in this country), and the very next day she had made some flash card for herself out of blue poster board party disks (she is studying English). Knowing that I have people watching me and imitating my habits, definitely puts me on my best behavior. I want to be a good studious role model, not one that ignores studying to write blog posts….).
I’m going to be sending out semi regular massive email updates, since some people don’t really read blogs. If your interested, and you haven’t already received one let me know and Ill add you to my rather informal list.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

classes and training

Wow have my days been busy! Each hour of the day (or at least the time between 8 and 5) is heavily scheduled during training. When we have training at the main center, we have to take two different buses from our little outer communities. All in all, it takes about 40 mins to get from my casa, to the training center. Not a bad commute, although very crowded on the buses.
My host mother tought me a new, and delicious way to eat oranges. First you cut a bit of the top off, than you peal it with a knife, but leave it encased in the white skin. Then you slowly squise it and slurp up the juice as it rises to the top where you cut off a bit. Once you have gotten all the juice out, you can open it up and eat the pulp (if there is any left).
Very good.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And it starts

We are in Brazil now suffering through a 13 hour layover on our way to Paraguay. I got to meet the whole group in Miami at staging, and so far everyone seems fantastic. A great many of the 47 volunteers recently graduated college in May, but several of them have a few years of post college or gradute life under their belts. Its nice to finally be able to talk about my hopes and consernes with other people who have been obsesing over the PC in the last few months too. We each have little differnt bits of information about our job assignemtns and about Paraguay itself. Its difficult to remember names at the moment, but Im sure that over the next three months we will all get to know each other very very well.
Im sure my blog posts will get more exciting as we move along in training.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Leaving soon.

Well, this is the start of my blog about serving in the Peace Corps in Paraguay.
I haven't actually left yet. I leave September 28th. In preparation of my departure, I haven been vacillating between packing up my room, and relaxing and enjoying the week and a half I have left in Indiana. I am leaving my friends, my family, and the person I love. Its hard to get everything ready, when I am trying to treasure the time I have left.
My To Do list was helping, but it might be time to write a new one. I have crossed out and rewritten so much, that its hard to read now.
Time to focus.