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Mescla Dancing and CONMEBOLing: Why Peace Corps Paraguay Training is Amazing
June 9, 2011, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

As a blogger, I try to put a lot of time and effort into my posts to make them smooth, clean-cut, and easy to read. But as a Peace Corps Trainee I have now realized that there is just NO TIME in the day to write a meticulous blog post- and since so much happens in one mere day, I figured I would just free-write my little heart out about what we have been doing as PCPY (Peace Corps Paraguay) Trainees.

In a nutshell, Peace Corps training is AMAZING in so many ways. I am absolutely on a training high right now. I suppose Peace Corps would call this ‘the honeymoon period’- everything feels so wonderful and new. I absolutely love my entire group of trainees. They are such wonderful and kind-hearted people. I get to spend 24/7 with them, and I am loving getting more acquainted with them as the days go on. I love our training staff. They put so much time and care into our schedule to ensure that we have a dynamic and fun learning environment for our training.

Every day has been different and exciting. For example, we spent the afternoon yesterday in Itá, the other ‘satellite community,’ where we had our first real tech-training block (‘tech training’ means training for our specific sector- since we are the ‘Community Economic Development’ (CED) sector, we learned more about the four pillars of our sector- Civic Education and Leadership, Family Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Information Technology). Four volunteers from our ‘sister G’ (the CED volunteers who trained LAST year and are now volunteers) came to Itá and each gave us different sessions on fundraising, leadership, finance, and strangely enough, cashiering (apparently this is a big thing in Paraguay- they even have training schools to be a cashier). We did a TON of really fun ‘icebreakers’ for each session that had us all laughing hysterically.

An ‘icebreaker’ in Peace Corps Paraguay is huge in training. Basically it is a ton of little fun exercises that gets people up and moving. For example, one of the icebreakers we did yesterday was a ‘mescla,’ which means dancing around each other shouting ‘mescla mescla MESCLA!’ until our trainer shouts ‘STOP!’ and then we have to grab the nearest person and ask them a specific question. Another icebreaker we did was get into a single-file line of five and place each others hands on the next person’s shoulders. Then all of the people in the line had to shut their eyes, except for the person in the front who had to lead them around the courtyard. Afterwards we would talk about what we ‘learned’ in our icebreaker (such as the exercise taught us trust, vulnerability, believing in our leader, etc.). We are encouraged to use a lot of these ‘icebreakers’ in our communities, but for now they are just really fun ways to spend time with my current trainees and laugh.

Peace Corps Trainees Estee, Molly, Shavon, and Ginsey demonstrating one of our ‘Civic Leadership Activities’ (creating the tallest and most attractive looking newspaper edifice in 10 minutes). Each of us were given secret ‘set personalities’ to embody (such as as the egotistical leader, the collectivist thinker, the relationship manager, etc.), which resulted in us utterly failing to create a tall edifice of ANY kind since it wouldn’t stand straight- but still was hilarious.

Then TODAY was a completely different day! We were all split up into groups of 2, and we all had to find our way to two destinations in the capital, Asunción (all of us had different destinations). One destination was more of a touristy area, and the other was an organization/resource in Paraguay that we could work with as volunteers. The plan was for all of us to find these places on our own in the capital, and then re-convene at the Peace Corps Head Office and share what we had learned. I was paired up with Peace Corps trainee Chris, and we left Guarambaré bright and early at 6:45 AM. His homestay family had given us difficult directions, so we got lost a little bit, but eventually found our way to CONMEBOL, a huge museum on the outskirts of Asunción that is dedicated to soccer in all of South America! It was founded in 1916, and it is a really peaceful museum, full of trophies and World Cups on display that South American countries had won over the years. There was also a giant soccer ball that inside was a huge cinema where you could watch videos of the ‘greatest moments in soccer history’ in South America. A must-see if you’re a soccer fan. We then went into the capital to find Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarollo (CIRD), which is an organization that works with employing youth in Paraguay and also evaluating municipalities. In the afternoon we all met up and presented cool areas to see in the capital and great organizations to work with! It was a really interesting and fun experience.

Next week we go on a 3-day ‘site visit’ to a current Peace Corps Volunteer and see what their life is like. Training continues to be an extremely exciting and tight-knight experience. Even though it is super intense, I am loving every second of it.

My 8:30 PM bedtime calls- gotta get up at 5:30 AM tomorrow to start another day!

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