Change Yourself…Change The World.

This Is What I Do.
September 18, 2011, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

I always attempt to have some sort of theme for a blog post, but life in Paraguay is too fast-paced and random to allow for this. So here we go- what I’ve been up to the past week:

1. Attended my first Paraguayan bachelorette party. In the usual Paraguayan fashion, I was invited 15 minutes before it started, and it ended being one of the most ridiculous events I have attended thus far. Bachelorette parties are actually called ‘Despedida Soltera’ here, which means ‘Single Party’, and everyone that’s single (male and female) attend. I arrived to the party to find music blasting, balloons and streamers hanging… and people blowing up condom balloons, which they later shoved into the bride-to-be’s bra. When ‘the last single girl’ arrived, they first had her chug champagne, followed by vodka, and then they stripped her down to her underwear (don’t worry, she was barely covered by a lacy see-through slip-on) and had various men in Zorro costumes dance Paraguayan polka with her. In the typical Paraguayan fashion, we passed around beer and everyone laughed at my dance skills and barely passable Guaraní.

2. On a slightly less comical note, I finally met one of my community contacts at the Government’s office. Since Caazapá is the capital of the department of Caazapá, there are many offices here for the entire district, including the Police Station, main hospital, and courtroom. I met with Carina, who is the head of the ‘Niñez y Adolescencia’ department. We started planning for me to teach two courses at local high schools, one in starting your own business, and another in leadership. I have to say I’m pretty excited to start them! Thankfully, I will be teaching in Spanish and not Guaraní (yet)!

3. Came to the age-old realization that fixing up a house is always more expensive than you thought. This week I’ve had windows made and installed for the 2nd bedroom and then glass put in. I purchased cloth for curtains and I’m having a seamstress make them (these all sound like simple things, but when you’re conducting them in Spanish and don’t know words like ‘ancho’ (width), it takes a lot longer than you think). Next week I’m having mosquito screens made for my windows and doors so that the insects don’t attack me in the sweltering Paraguayan summer. And finally, after a lot of research and advice from friends, I’ve found that hopefully the best way to get rid of mold in my walls are tea tree oil- just add a smidge to a water bottle and spray away. A volunteer who lives close brought me two from Asunción today, so hopefully this will clear up that issue- and it better, at 18 mil a bottle.

4. Learned the art of Paraguayan cooking. My homestay mother went to Encarnación this week, leaving me and the cook/house maid to our own devices. This week I learned how to make ‘Giza Arroz’ (a type of rice dish with meat), ‘Caldo de Poroto’ (a type of bean dish with soup and pasta), ‘Tortillas,’ (tortillas in Paraguay are basically fried pieces of dough with cheese and lettuce in them, minus the cheese for me since I’m lactose intolerant!), and to save the best for last- carrot juice! I can’t even tell you how much carrot juice I have consumed in the last few days, but I CAN tell you that I’ve seen an improvement in my eyesight 🙂

5. Played with a bunch of Paraguayan kids. I always envisioned my Peace Corps experience playing with a bunch of kids in a field, and that’s what I did today! I went to visit the family who’s house I will be living in starting October (they are fantastic- more on that later!), and this visit turned into a gigantic game-a-thon with the entire neighborhood. We played Duck Duck Goose, Marco Polo (without the water and with a blindfold), and a bunch of other Paraguayan games that I don’t know the names of but were really fun. I want to make this a weekly Sunday afternoon activity!

Those are the highlights (let’s disregard the fact that I’ve also watched two seasons of Will & Grace this week) of what I’ve been doing in Caazapá. People say that being a Peace Corps Volunteer is a lot like being a politician- and boy, have I met a lot of people this week! But while the work can be exhausting, it is also extremely satisfying. And let’s face it- if ‘work’ counts as blowing up condom balloons, then I have to say, being a Peace Corps Volunteer is the most fun job in the world.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi there!

I was a peace Corps volunteer in Rojas Silva 2004 -2006. ( it is 7k up ruta 8 towards Villarica. ). I miss my people there. Francisco Arevalos was my contact there. I wonder how they are, etc…. I also lived for awhile with a family whose daughter did work in the Governor’s office. (Francisco Pereira).
Please put me on your list, I would love to hear about your experience. I also still facebook with many volunteers who lived and worked in Caazapa. Many times questions and similar problems could be eliminated if former volunteers and currents volunteer could share.
Good luck to you. Rohahucaazapape.

Comment by Heather Hollowell

Hey Heather! Great to hear from you. My friend Miriam is currently a volunteer in Rojas Silvas- she leaves in April, and will have a follow-up. I’m sure she lives in the same house you did, she said it’s been a volunteer house for years.

Let me know if you’re ever around the area. Cheers!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

It is great to know that! Please, please give her my email as I would like to perhaps send something to my old contacts there. Thanks for your help!
It’s funny how you dream of the people and long to drink terere under and big tree with them again.

Comment by Heather Hollowell

Fastidious answer back in return of this difficulty with real arguments and telling all on thee topic of that.

Comment by Dwight

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