Change Yourself…Change The World.

Peace Corps Cribs: My New Home for the Next 2 Years
September 13, 2011, 8:00 am
Filed under: Paraguay

So I have a house.

I started my house-hunting search two weeks into site. Even though it’s a rule that Peace Corps Paraguay Volunteers live with a homestay family for their first three months of service, I heard that finding a house in Caazapá was a challenging prospect. Since Caazapá is a city well-known for it’s education (to start with, there are five universities), there are many young students that seek housing, which means there are a lot of one-room bathroom-attached kind of arrangements around the city. However, I was told by multiple people that an actual house would be nearly impossible to find. Unwilling to let my dream go of having my own backyard with vegetable garden, I decided to start the search early.

After two days of schlepping around Caazapá, my results had not been bountiful in the ways I had hoped: lots of apartments and little rooms, but no houses. And boy were these little rooms expensive! One 8 by 8 with a miniscule bathroom was a full 350 mil a month (around 87 dollars- cheap by American standards, extremely  expensive by Paraguayan, especially considering how much I make every month). Another sweet-smiling lady opened the door to an actual store- yes, an 8 by 8 foot abandoned store- with bathroom attached and offered me the ‘extremely cheap price’ of 320 mil. In the best of situations, I found a two-bedroom apartment, but it was the going rate of 450 mil- way out of my budget, and without backyard.

Now I know I’m new to Caazapá, but I had the sneaking suspicion that I was being offered the special extranjero (foreigner) price- with my obvious snowflake-like skin, stuttering Castellano and barely legible Guaraní, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that I’m not from Paraguay. But I was determined not to get taken advantage of, and I latched onto the people in Caazapá who knew what the Peace Corps was- and therefore knew that us Volunteers make a salary lower than the minimum wage.

And then, as if it was right under my nose, I found the dream house. After a tip from a friend in the centro (the city center), I rushed over to San Miguel, a neighborhood of Caazapá, where I had heard there was a super nice house that someone was trying to rent. My new dueño (landlord) Arturo, a sweet little old man, was sitting on his porch drinking tereré. When he drove me into San Roque (another neighborhood close to the centro, the bus terminal, and the cooperative I work at), my heart immediately swooned when I saw the house. Two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen area, and best of all, a HUGE backyard complete with mango, grapefruit, banana, and lemon tree. The kicker? 350 mil a month.

After double-checking everything (and I mean everything– the lights, the electricity, having another volunteer come to inspect it, and then various negotiations of the contract), I swooped down onto the house and grabbed it up. Certainly there’s some work on it that needs to be done- de-molding, re-painting, cleaning up the yard- and I still don’t plan on ‘moving in’ until the end of the three months with my homestay family. Nonetheless I have to say, this is probably one of the chuchiest- and cheapest- houses in all of Peace Corps Paraguay.

So without further ado- my house!

The street my house is on. Two blocks of dirt road (yes, I like to think living on dirt road means I’m in the campo- keeps me grounded), and then after that it’s paved leading up to the centro.

The end of the street leads to lots of fields and trees, which is a really nice place to walk around.

The entrance to my little house! My bedroom will be on the left. 

My fence that overlooks the neighborhood. All of the kids like to play on the grass in front of my house, so it makes for very pleasant people-watching and activity-partaking.

The entrance to my house, where the kitchen/’dining room’ will be. 

These windows look out onto a church, which is right next door to my house. More win/win: no neighbors blasting music 24 hours a day (as Paraguayans are wonton to do), and less of a chance of my house being broken into due to proximity!

My bedroom. Nothing that a little tea tree oil (gets rid of mold) and paint job can’t do to cheer this room up!

The second door to my house, leading to the backyard. On the left is the second room, the right is a little pantry corner, and then the door at the end is the bathroom.

This is the second room, which I have deemed ‘the creativity and guest room.’ Hint: come visit.

This little nook in my house that I really like. I’m planning on putting in a sink (notice the tap?) and shelves. 

This is the bathroom. Not the best part of the house (the door only opens halfway), but still extremely chuchi by Peace Corps standards.

My shower. The green paint has gotta go and after that I’m sure the place will look more cheerful.

The back view of my house!

Here’s a sink for washing clothes and for yard work

My backyard! Which is as big as my house.

Here’s my Mango tree!

My grapefruit tree

My lemon tree (lemons in Paraguay look like oranges- in fact you could call their lemons a sort of orange/lemon combination, but it is super delicious)

My banana tree!

Perfect hammock spot. I’ve already started getting rid of the trash, and it looks much better. 

My fellow Volunteers celebrating my new house with $1.50 champagne

There you have it! Welcome to where I will be living for the next two years. I hope you enjoyed the little tour.

11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Your house is amazing! Fruit trees, a backyard, a shower – dang you are living the good life! I can’t wait to see what it looks like when you’ve spruced it up even more.

Good luck!

Amber B.

Comment by asb353

Yay Brittany! Felicidades chica!

Comment by vicki

This is me being jealous.

Comment by Taylor Schrang

And to think I am now paying 300 mil for a room. Life is so unfair.

Comment by Roberto Sanchez

hey brit! its kato potato! i really miss you! mama tells me you’re running and walking every morning for an hour! thats so great! i love and miss you so much!!!!!!
katie \
BTW for your info im brittany’s 11 year old sister! Brittany is the awesomest 23 year old traveler and sis in this world!

Comment by katie

hee the toilet looks so low. its so cute!!!!

Comment by katie

[…] sandwiched between a church and a couple of apartment rooms (you can see some photos of my house in this old post). The price was 350 mil per month, which was a total bargain (well, the reason why it was so low […]

Pingback by Love Conquers All: Meet My Paraguayan Family « Change Yourself…Change The World.

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