Friday, September 9, 2011

Paraguay update

Time for another email! I made it through the long cold winter here in Paraguay, and now Spring is on its way. I had a wonderful three week visit from Cora, and than a fantastic month long visit from Kate. It was nice to have company for the long cold evenings when the sunset around 5pm. After nearly two months of visitors, it took me a while to get used to being here by myself again.

At least now I can fill up my evenings with Adventures In Cooking. Cora left me some tasty teriyaki sauce, and Kate invented curried madioca (also known as yuca or cassava)! Kate also taught me how to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Slowly but surely, I am learning to feel myself. Having a garden helps this educational process. In order to buy food in town, I have to walk or bike 4 kilometers up hill to the ruta (highway) and wait a half hour or more for the bus.Once Im in town, I usually have to rush a bit to get all my errands done by 2ish, so I can catch the last bus back to my community. Next, loaded down with all my groceries, I walk or bike (down hill this time) the 4 k back to my house. Because shopping is such an ordeal, I eat out of my garden whenever I can. I also get gifted homelaid eggs (highly valued compared to the store bought kind) and peanuts fresh from the field. I still haven't figured out how to cook meat, and haven't bothered to buy any. I got gifted a live chicken by a neighbor. Im hoping it will eventually start to lay eggs. I have come okra and eggplant plants that Im going to have to learn how to cook. Sadly, I still have not figured out how to grow chocolate chips.

Enough about food. My English classes are really taking off. During the last class, I was teaching the kids colors and we played Twister on a homemade Twister board. I have also ben building a lot of fagones (brick, fuel efficient cook stoves) in my site and in sites of other volunteers. Work seems to ebb and flow, although some of this is due to the weather. But things are beginning to speed back up again. Ill be doing some venenos caseros (homemade bug repellent) classes, and doing turnout in my community for a class my boss from Peace Corps is going to come and teach. Also, Ill be building more fagones and hopefully starting on a series of classes about reforestation. Every family that gets a fagone, also gets half a dozen trees. The idea is that people will see that planning a head for things like firewood can help avoid even more deforestation and soil degradation.

Im sure there is more to say, but this is enough for now. I have internet in my house now, so its finally possible for me to communicate by email easily.

Until next time,


P.S. Here are some photos for your perusal.

Carrots from my garden, of which I am very proud.

Cora and I and Iguassu Falls

Kate and I at another volunteer's site, reading in a hammock built for two.

My beautiful Twister board and matt.
English class Twister game.

My neighbor Sol, and my dog Berenjena.