Change Yourself…Change The World.

Where Do I Begin…
November 10, 2009, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Hello friends,

I have been biting my fingernails the past few days wondering how I can possibly explain this past week to you all. So much has happened in such a short amount of time, and not only am I still processing all of it, but I am also trying to figure out how to even organize the things that I did, which have turned into this jumbled mass of crazyness in my mind. I suppose that I’ll use this day to talk about my week in Paraguay, and then tomorrow’s to talk about Brazil and Argentina, where I went last weekend.

Okay. Paraguay.
Last week I went to Colonel Orviedo and Ciudad del Este, two cities in Paraguay. I went with Polina, who is another intern at Fundación Paraguaya. We first went to Colonel Orviedo for three days. We spent much of this time traveling around in a station wagon from the 70’s with the office’s manager, meeting tons of borrowers, and taking interviews and videos of them. It was amazing to have the opportunity to meet so many people and talk with them about micro-finance and their businesses. I felt very proud of my Spanish skills as I had almost no problem understanding each of them whatsoever. Polina and I felt especially attached to one of the woman we met, who’s daughter turned 5 on the day we visited her. We were invited later to a party at her house again, and we showed up to blow up huge yellow balloons, hang out in lawn chairs with their various family and friends, eat delicious meat empanadas and the sweetest, most sugery dulce de leche and strawberry cake, and take tons of fabulous pictures of everyone as the sun set spectacularly in the distance, creating this golden sparkle on the end of a beautiful afternoon. It was definitely a beautiful memory and we plan on sending them all of the pictures of their party.

Ciudad del Este was also a trip- it’s a really fun and wild city, and I had a lot of fun there. As soon as we arrived to our hotel, we were greeted by a chilled out Paraguayan, in English! She turned out to be a photographer and had traveled all over the world, and we ended up randomly hopping into her truck while she drove us around the city and dropped us off at the richest area of Ciudad del Este, where we were astounded to find a SUSHI restaurant in the middle of Paraguay. After gorging on ridiculous amounts of raw salmon, california rolls, chow mein, and giggling the more and more as we drained our alcohol-infested ‘island drinks,’ we stumbled to a cab and back to our hotel.

We spent the next day at the Fundación Paraguaya office, and decided to go to the center of town to take a video about Ciudad del Este. Ciudad del Este is home to many Chinese and Arabs, and we happened to stumble onto ‘China town,’ where there were rows and rows of little stalls set up with electronics, flashing Christmas lights, blankets, clothes, and everything you could possibly imagine. We wandered up and down the streets in awe while sweating profusely in the 100 degree weather, and I bought a beautifully colorful bag made by the Ache (the indigenous people in Paraguay). Afterwards, we came back to the office and were hanging out a bit, ready to take off and get some dinner, when all of a sudden it started POURING outside. While before Ciudad del Este felt like a dry desert, suddenly outside was almost literally a hurricane, with the entire street turned into lake within five minutes. Being from Florida, I imagined that such strong rain would hopefully end within 15 or 20 minutes. Wrong. The receptionist told us it would probably be two hours before it ended, and our hotel was a short walk away and across the street.

We decided to go for it. We ran outside while it was almost hailing outside, and we ended up getting soaked and laughing hysterically at the situation we had put ourselves in. We ran around outside in the rain and took insane pictures of us, while onlookers stared at us as if we had lost our minds. It was freeing. It was beautiful. It was such a time to feel alive.

All in all, this last week in Paraguay has been the best yet. I learned more than I could have ever hoped for my research project, and I had a lot of fun and spontaneous adventures, which is what I love best about traveling. I am really going to miss my friend and fellow intern Polina and her mother when I leave to go on to Argentina in a week. But I think that we both left a small piece of ourselves in Ciudad del Este that day, dancing out in the rain. I will never trade these experiences for anything in the world. I love my life.

More stories to come,

1 Comment so far
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WOW!! What a life!!!!

Love u,
Auntie Deb!

Comment by Auntie Debbie

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