Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A few examples of how things here in Paraguay have changed

1. My family has 3 cars
2. When I told them the names of my cats (which are in Guarani) the daughter who is 23 asked if those were words in Guarani.
3. I've seen a computer in every house that I've been too
4. I can understand EVERYTHING because they all speak Spanish
5. We ate cannaloni for dinner, from scratch
6. I now go to exercise class every day at 6:30pm then play volleyball after until 10pm.
7. When the people greet me they will say "hello" and then "bye bye"
8. Had a full conversation in English with a man on the street my first day here.
9. There is a pretty sweet old train station here
10. The animals don't stay in their yard, the cows, sheep, horses, and pigs are free to roam the community.
11. Last night when I got home my host dad had a projector watching dirty music videos on the side of the big white church across the stree from their house. "sin verguenza" as their 11 year old daughter said.
12. There is a coffee pot, yes a machine to make coffee
13. Guitar classes every monday

Its so different, but so fun. I've already met a bunch of people, and girls my age. There are a few rivers very close that my host dad likes to fish at, and so we've already made plans to go to the river. They asked me to be apart of the living nativity sceen but I said that should be left to Paraguayans. I think I'll stay here in site for Christmas, and then be with David for New Years. Time is FLYING by.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Ndaikuaai and Hesaka my new kitties
At the Jesuit Reunions in Encarnacion

Serafin loving David....

I took David to eat Paella. He wasn't to sure about the shrimp with their heads.

Carmelo, Inosensia, Serafin, and Faustino

Starting over

Hello everyone...Just want to start out by saying thank you for all of your love and support I really apperciate it!

So...A lot has changed in my life in the last few weeks. First I get the call about we need to stop construction on the house and wait till further notice..Then I go into Asuncion for a reconnect with my group and the meeting for all the volunteers in the concepcion area. We talk about how we all feel in our sites, if we've noticed any changes in the community, and the future in the area. After the meeting I went to Encarnacion for a thanksgiving with other volunteers. The food was amazing, lots of swimming, dancing, beer pong, and drinking. Got back to Asuncion after 2 days in the sun, and relaxacion I recieved a call letting me know that I would need to change sites by the 20th of december.

I was really bummed out because I have spent the last 4 months making relationships with people, understanding their lives, understanding the coop, and making friends. Friends who text while i am gone asking when i am coming back, people who notice when I am gone. Something that I had been really working for. When going to the termial i randomly asked david to up with me to my site. He had clothes for 2 days, the time we were in Asunicion, and said that he'd go with me.

Telling my contact Serafin was the hardest part. Thank goodness davind was with me. I was balling, trying to explain why i have to leave in my second language. David then explained in guarani what was up. He ended up staying for a week! We visited all of my families, and danielle. Oh danielle. She was preparing to leaving while we were there. Tomorrow is her final day as a volunteer. We went to her despida and danced all night long. SO much fun being with here I really am going to miss her. What a great preson, and role model. While we were with danielle, she gave me the best gift of all. Her cat had kittens a few months back, and wanted me to be the mother of the kittens. How could I say no?!? David and I walked the 4 km back to my host families house with the kitties....Dikuaai ( I don't know, in english) and Hesaka ( clear, in english), they are both little girls. SOOOO cute.

Well Peace Corps has found a new place for me to live, and complete my service. The pueblo is called San Salvador, its just outside of Villarica, a very cuchi city ( rich). A volunteer from my group is here now, and she is going home, so i am completing the job. Not really sure what the job is...but we'll see. Leaving was interesting..not too sure that anyone realized thursday was next week, or tomorrow. So i left this morning only saying goodbye to two families. I cried. A lot. But I have my kitties, and some new energy to start over. Not that I did things badly in my old site, but i learned a lot. I am excited to start...something...After 7 1/2 hours on buses with the kitties i have arrived, and tomorrow i'll be meeting the family that I am going to live with, for at least a month, then look for my own place. This time there are places to rent, and the cooperative won't have to build me a house!

For packages..if you're thinking about sending one should be sent to the Asuncion address that I wrote in one of my first blogs. Now i am only 3 hours from Asuncion instead of 7 hours.

Thanks for all of the love and support. I'll keep you updated on my new adventures. Going to buy internet soon..i promise...Oh yeah. Going to see Daddy yankee in concert this weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

confusion, emotions, rollercoaster

hello. so the three months that i've been in site have been quite the emotional rollercoaster. its crazy how in one day you can go from being the happy most excited preson, to very sad and wanting to go home. i feel as though i am dealing with it pretty well being as i am still here, very excited to work, and making great friends. i actually feel loved in my community.

so i moved out to calle 11 where a lot of the socios live to get to know the people out there better for a week. the family i lived with was amazing!! i mean one night we drank beer and watched pulp fiction, not even at my request. great people, really wanted to stay out there longer but, its pretty far from the ruta and its getting really really hot. therefore if i still wanted to work for the cooperative and keep the relationships i have on the ruta i'd have to ride my bike in. well i did that one day and i literally thought i was going to die! while living with that family i got a text from my current grandma who lives next door to the family i was living (am living with) with on the ruta. the text "hi liz its dolly, grandma wanted me to send you a text message to say she loves you and misses you and we are wondering when you are going to come back and visit." this was the second day i was gone out in calle 11. it felt so good to know that i am making some kind of impact to have it noticed i was gone for a few days. plus grandma rocks.

so things up in concepcion are kind of weird right now. there was a kiddnapping awhile ago, and its gotten pretty serious. there is a "terrorist" group called the EPP and they are apparently the ones who kidnapped the really rich estancia owner. well he was from the concepcion area, and so is the EPP. there have been a lot of police up here, and they are looking all around in the forest for these people. apperntly its made international news. there is a lot they arn't telling us, the people, i am pretty sure. anyways, all of us up here in concepcion were on a stand fast, which means we were allowed to leave our communities for 4 days, becuase they didn't want us traveling around where there were a lot of police in the area, so stay clear of all confrontation. that was fine, that passed and all is good. i am safe. well i think.

now that sandia season is done, and pina season doesn't start for a month its perfect time to start buliding my house!!! we had a few meetings together, cleared the space in the forest where they are going to build it, bought a few bricks, bought gas for the chain saw to cut the wood and had a meeting with the constructor. monday, bought gas. oh yeah this is after 3 months of living with families and feeling that it is time to have some space, to think, cook, and breath. tuesday, start cutting wood. i get a phone call. "stop all further construcion on your house and dont buy any more materials" i asked if i should be scared. no. apparently the situation up here is getting pretty serious, even though i feel 100% safe in my community. we have a meeting next wednesday for all the volunteers in the area. and then i'll know what is going on. if i can build the house or if i have to leave.

i really dont want to leave. i love my community, i have made some great relationships, i finally understand what is going on in the cooperative, and it would be very very difficult to start the process all over again. the one thing that keeps running through my head is the cooperative and how "development" work acutally works. so in a perfect situation, i would stay 2 years, get the people used to peace corps think of some projects, hopefully get them started. have to set up so there is an end goal to work towards. have a follow up who can start the next step, so on and so forth. well if the situation up here isn't great, and the chances of me getting a follow up arn't known, well that that sucks for the cooperative and for me, becuase i know that once i am done, thats it thats all. kinda poopy. anyways so we'll see next week.

cross your fingers and hope that....i don't know...hope for the best!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Longest trip ever....well it felt like it

Hey ya'll. Sorry I have been so bad about writing. I feel like my daily life has become so regular that things arn't so "interesting" any more. Even though I do question daily if the things I am doing would have been considered "normal" about 5 months ago, they are completly normal now.

So Danielle, Johnathan and I decided to take the boat from Concepcion down to Asuncion on the Rio Paraguay. The boat, so I hear typically takes around 18-24 hours. Both Daniell and Johnathan have tried to take the boat in the past, but things never really worked out. For Johnathan the boat left at 3:30 am when usually it is supposed to leave around 5 am. So we all decided to go. Danielle and I left our site, she is the volunteer really really close to me, on Saturday at 5 pm. We got into Concepcion at around 6:30 pm, went to Johnathans house then grocery shopping, we needed supplies for the trip. We had sent his host parents on a mission down to the port to ask around what time the boat would be coming in. His host parents talked to some people and said that the boat wouldn't be getting in until around 11 am so we didn't need to get down to the dock really really. Which sounded weird because the boat usually leaves around 5 am. So we stayed up pretty late and didn't prep completly because we were planning on doing it in the am. Well at 5:30 Johnathan's parents get a call that the boat will be at the dock in one hour. So we rush, get stuff ready, his family goes ahead of us on their moto. While walking we get a call that the boat is there and we need to hurry they are holding the boat. So we run. It is hot. We get there...no boat. It was a different boat that his parents thought was the boat that goes to Asuncion. So we sit and waited until 11 am for the boat to get into the dock. In the meantime danielle and I took a little row boat over to the island of Chaco i ( the i sounds like e, and in guarani i means little) The boat arrived, we got on , and waited another hour for them to fix the rudder, it apparently wasn't working too great. At about 12:30 on sunday we were on our way. At 2:00 pm the boat broke down, Danielle and I swam while waiting, then we drank some Cana, the local whisky. We sat there for about an hour and a half then it was fixed and we were on our way again. Then at about 1:00 am the boat broke down again. And we sat in the same place from 1:00 am until 7:00 am. Luckely there were hamacks to sleep in, and it wasnt too hot during the night. At 7:30 am they told us the boat was broken, they wern't sure if the back up boat would be coming before or after lunch, and that if we stayed on the boat we would be getting in really late at night, monday. We were close enough to a port town that the Paraguayan navy came and picked us up on a little motor boat and dropped us off on shore in a place I think called Rosario. At 9:30 am a bus going to Asuncion showed up. We had no idea where we were or how long the bus ride would take. Well 3 hours later we got to a paved road, the bus was full and it was about 100 degrees. Then once on the paved road it was about 3 more hours to Asuncion.

All in all it was an interesting trip. The workers on the boat were great, and loved that Danielle spoke practically perfect Guarani, and we had a good time with the hamacks and cana. Maybe I'll take the boat another time, but not anytime soon, being to took pracitally two days to get here, and it usually takes 8 hrs.

Now I am in Asuncion, for about 2 days then back up to 25 de Abril. Where the Cooperative has exported more than 50,000 kilos of Sandia. Oh and about the last blog, the sandia are definatly lifted more than the number of times I wrote. All of the sandia that don't get exported are lifted at least 3 or 4 more times before sold. Good thing its delicious, I don't mind lifting it, as long as I get to eat it 8 or more times a day!!!!!!

Oh its getting really HOT!

Im on a boat

Lucy, Mary , and I at the Paraguay vs. Colombia game

David and I

Jack-o-lantern out of sandi

they all thought i was nuts, taking out the fruit and cutting a face

on the boat at sunset

drinking cana with the crazy boat man and Danielle

Johnanthan and the trix

Danielle and I in our amacas

Danielle, the volunteer who lives very close to me, i'll miss her!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SANDIA is coming out of my ears

so these pics are backwards, look at the one on the bottom first. oh and maybe read the blog that is below the pics first.
the piles after the sticker has been put on ready for the truck
cutting off the stem and washing the watermelon

passing the sandia

the cart full of sandia, i think there were 10 carts full

picking the watermelon off the vine

How Many Times is a Watermelon Lifted??

1. The watermelon is picked off the vine after 3 months of love and care then carried to a pile.

2. The watermelon is picked up out of the pile and put into a cart that is pulled by two ox.

3. The watermelon is lifted out of the cart and put into the arms of a person who then puts the watermelon in its place, for now.

4. The watermelon is picked up and put on a table to be washed.

5. The watermelon is washed picked up and handed to a person to get weighed.

6. The watermelon is put on the machine to weigh, picked up again and handed to a person to get a sticker put on with the weight and producer code.

7. The watermelon now is handed to the¨runner¨ to put in the correct weight group.

8. The watermelon sits for a bit, then is lifted to put into the truck. At this point its usually an assembly line, so therefore there are more watermelon passed quickly in the hands of many.

9. The watermelon is placed in the truck and taken to Argentina, the case of my cooperative.

10... Not really sure how many more times its lifted before its on your table, but probably at least 10 more times.

So from now on when you go to the grocery store because you have the craving for a juicy, red, delicious watermelon, think to yourself how many times your 8 kg watermelon was lifted and how much love and care was put into it. (oh and my arms and back are really sore!!)

Also...I knew that producers always got screwed on the money side of things, and that prices get jacked up in every step of the process but it is outragous at how little these amazing people are getting for every watermelon. 5 mil guarani. that is $1. In asuncion, the capital, you buy a watermelon for 20 mil guarani.

Not sure how to make it better, of if there even is a way to make it better but allf i have to say is that i really have A LOT of respect for these farmers, and have A LOT more apperciation for my food. especially watermelon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I love watermelon

Watermelon- Sandia
My new host dad- Juan and his pineapple

David trying to swim, he really doesn't know how

David infront of the Rio Paraguay

Mexican Dinner- Pineapple margarita

Palacio de los Lopez

My new piggletts

Delicious Watermelon

Bath Time- Marcianna and her son

Danielle and I- The beekeeping volunteer who lives close by

Serafin and Sandra singing

My two hillarious sisters Nifa and Karen and thier baby goat

Monday, September 28, 2009

amimal noises

So there are always lots of animals running around and the families are always yelling at them to get out of the house, or the kitchen. A quick solve would be to put the chickens in a coupe and the pigs in their pen, but instead I have the pleasure of enjoying these sounds....

woosh or shhhh for chickens
nipu or neeka or the kissing sound for dogs
kuush or the sound uhh for pigs

mind you these sounds are typically produced by the women very fuerte.

ohh..and if you are trying to get the chicken out of the kitchen and make the sound for the dog..they won´t understand and will stay in the kicthen.

We had our VAC meeting, where i was able to meet all of the volunteers around me. It was fun, we stayed out at a ranch of one of the volunteer´s familiy.

Pretty sure Paraguay is the ONLY place in the world where its about 100 degrees one day and the next its about 40. this has been happening for about a month, its nuts, and i think i am going to get sick.

Not too much is new, I am going to experiement with detergent this week. My new host mom is part of a different women´s group, they are really amazing, so I am going to try and work with them also.

Oh..for my address in the blog posted about 2 back just use 25 de abril. its not necessary to use all three. i´ve already received a letter, so it works. hope all is well in the states.

love you all

Monday, September 21, 2009

mas pics

David drinking terere after his futbol game

new host mom with the terere sis gma and cousins

My site presentation with my boss

My new host sisters...going out to dance.

Serafin and Tio Leon

Mary and I on our visit to Paso de Oro

they look like gost busters...but they are watering the watermelon

terere break

some of my boys in 25 de Abril

more bananas

Serafin and I

harvesting bananas

my patitos

month 2 starts...now

Mba’eicha che iri’u.

I was in the Asuncion/ Paso De Oro area for about 5 days in total. Mary also went back to Paso de Oro at the same time to see her host family also. It was nice to see her and David at the same time. I got to see Tita and Ramon, and pretty sure that Tita has lost it. Well at least for the time being. I had called her in advance to tell her when I was coming on Friday. David sent me a text before I came and asked me if I had told Tita I was coming because she asked him one day at lunch and he told her yeah I was coming on Friday. So I get there and she was happy to see me but immediately started freaking out because someone had stolen her cell phone. So that’s all I heard all day, and was very happy when David got off work, because I didn’t have to listen to her anymore. Then on Saturday morning while David was at work I was hanging out with Tita and she was calling some women basura and a prostitute and saying F-you in English. I asked her “Tita who are you talking to or about, those are very harsh words”, well she was talking about the wife of her son, who she had seen getting off the bus. Anyways Saturday morning I told her that I was going to Asuncion for the night and would be back Sunday afternoon. She saw david and I walking and we said “jajotopata” and she replied with bueno. Sunday when we came back the grandmother of Mary told me Tita had told her I was going back to my site. And Mary’s grandma had to tell her no I was coming back. This happened one other time while I was there. So I have come to the conclusion that she doesn’t listen to me when I talk.

I returned to my site after taking the wrong bus home. I ended up going through the Chaco instead of going in front of my house so I had to take and extra bus and the trip was 8 hrs instead of 6 hours. That night the group of jovenes were having their meeting and were excited that I had come back with the computer programs. They are anxious to learn how to use computers, but then I said well we need computers, and told them we should all go together to the gobernacion to ask about the process on the pedido that Serafin and the coop put in the second day I was here. They were writing a solicitude together asking different businesses to collaborate with them for dia de joventude. Dia de joventude is today, they ended up getting 2 kilos of meat donated, a pack of soda, and 50 mil Guarani. Of course they don’t have school today, any reason not to have school. Tonight the group of jovenes is putting on a party in front of the coop should be fun.

So host mom went out of town for a few days for some sort of workshop, and host dad would be going out of town the next day. So that first night we drank wine, and had good conversation the mood was different, light, and felt good. Serafin was talking about how he wanted to play the guitar, and I said well why not. I had heard a lot about him playing, and seen pictures but had yet to see him play. Well he told me this sad little story…He was out at a party, birthday party of his uncle and didn’t come home until 2 am. The next day while he was out working in the chacra his wife sold his guitar. Therefore he doesn’t have a guitar and can’t afford to buy a new one.

The next day it was just the girls. We were cooking breakfast, something fried, I was the one pulling the fried food out, and putting them on the plate. Well one of the little fried things exploded and grease, hot grease, went flying everywhere and a lot on me. My hand was covered, and immediately the girls were yelling “put it in your hair put it in your hair” so I stuck my hand in my hair. Apparently it prevents burning..?? Then I was walking to the water, because I’ve learned my whole life to put burns under cold running water, well no no no. Lemon is for burning and cold water will do something bad. That day Sandra, my sister, had asked her professor to borrow his guitar. So that night we waited for Serafin to get home, and he was so happy when he saw that we had a guitar for him to play. We stayed up till midnight listening to him sing and play the guitar. The songs were mostly in Guarani and Tio Leon would chime in every once in awhile, and same with Sandra. It was a really good time, and my last night with that family.

The next day, Saturday, I moved into my new host family. They live just right down the street, 4 minutes to walk. The mom is Rosa and the dad is Juan. They have a daughter Wilma, 21 who lives and studies in Horqueta, a daugheter Maria, 20, who lives and studies in Horqueta, Aldo is 18 still is going to collegio here, Matilde ,15 ,who is in the house, Ninfa 11 and Karen 9 who are still in the house. Rosa only speaks in Guarani. It’s great. I’ll ask a question in Spanish and she replies in Guarani. I am going to learn quickly here, hopefully. My first morning here I helped milk the cow, we got 4 liters, then watched them kill a chicken. Also that day was the first day of the futbol games at the cancha. There were 15 teams, and each team elected their “reina” and my new host sister Matilde was chosen to be queen. So we all went to the cancha to watch the parade of teams and to see Matilde holding the team flag.

The mood, feeling, environment, in the new house is a lot different. I feel very comfortable, and more relaxed. The family likes to laugh, and joke around, and there are always friends here playing, or coming over to drink terere. In the one full day that I’ve been here I have met some pretty amazing women, the friends of Rosa, whom I hadn’t met and were my neighbors the whole time while living in the last house. I am happy I changed houses and am ready to start month 2 in site.

love you all

Sunday, September 13, 2009


So I have a new number....and this will be my number for good.... (595) 0984 341 219.

Back in Paso de Oro/Asuncion for the weekend. A little break, needed.


Thursday, September 3, 2009


my hammock...i moved it to a tree with more shade

rolling the chipa

mixing the chipa

putting the chipa in the tatakua

Adella my host sister jumping rope

Carchito jumping rope

jump rope- with rubin and carchito

the rat poop on my mosquito net

sandra peeling my pomello

my horse - mode of transportation

lettuce and swiss chard

the watermelon fields

my family´s huerta