Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally Some Pics

All 18 of us
Our lindo Huerta we made

there is a brand of cookies called Tippy

The store my parents own

this is my mom tita in the kitchen that is in the store

this is my dad ramon at one of his futbol games!!


Friday the 26th we went as the rural economic development group to Villirica to see a successful Savings and loan coop. We had another volunteer come and talk to us about her coop that has failed. the day she got there the coop figured out that the secretary had stolen all of the money. i would have tried to find a new project from that point but she stuck with it, only has 3 months left and admitts that once she leaves they arn´t going to go any further. anyways...we finally got to see a sucessful peace corp story. i´ve learned that most volunteers don´t end up working with the coops that they were assigned. Beore we went to meet our host families we went to the central park where Carinchos live. the worlds largest rodent. they were kinda cute but creepy at the same time. So the night in Villirica was very interesting. Mary and I stayed with the same family. We went to the daughters ¨dance¨ show. It was at this theater, where we watched interpretive dancing, flamanco dancing, harps, and a trio of singers who also played the guitar. There were women in fur coats, nice jewlery, and channel bags. We felt for the first time wayyyy underdressed wearing our hiking boots and fleeces. After the show we went out to dinner..the first time since i´ve been here also. We got to pick what kind of pizza and we chose mushroom and olive not thinking abut little kids. they picked off all of the toppings. oops. we were out till 11. the latest i´ve stayed up thus far.

The next day we met pretty early and went to Yataity to meet another volunteer who works at a coop with women who make Aopo`i a traditional paraguyan clothing. Its very beautiful!! I purchased a scarf, i couldn´t pick what kind of shirt or dress i wanted...I have some time to figure it out though. On our way home we stopped at an American style dinner and had burgers and fries...which was totally need. We returned home at 3 on Saturday.

Saturday night i went to the capilla with my parents for the San Juan festivities. They had carne asada which was braided together. Super rico. Empandas made with Mandioca, and Beju. All traditional foods. Through out the night there were all sorts of games going on. In the middle of everything was a big pole with cana, and money at they very top. the guys were were dressed as girls with masks on had to get to the top by climbing on eachother. but...the pole was greased with pig fat. so it was hillarious to watch. the men dressed as women also played soccer with a ball of fire, then lit a bunch of other stuff on fire too. all in all it was a great evening with the neighbors.

So my cat has sprayed in my house 2 times now since i´ve lived there. Recently in my room. My mom tells everyone its my fault because i have a cat that looks like theirs and their cat smells my cat. I don´t think so. but whatever. 4th of july is coming up and the embassey is having a big party for all americans in paraguay. our training group is going together, and will be the first time we meet other volunteers. It should be fun! Today i am going to watch ramon play futbol later and maybe go the dance. the girls i hung out with last weekend asked me last night if i´d go with them tonight. should be fun.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Finally a reason to have a fiesta

So as ´aspirantes´we had our first reason to have a fiest. Angelic turned 29. on saturday the 20th we had a birthday party/pot luck at brads familys house. She can´t eat any food with gluton, dairy, or meat. So all of our families were sumped on what to make because EVERYTHING is some sort of carb or meat. My mom and i made a potato, onion, and egg torta thing. And i also made sweet empanadas for the rest of the people at the party. I made a sweet apple filling (thanks dad for teaching me how to cook the sweet apples). All of the other host mothers now think that i am super ´guapa´, hard working, and want the recipi. we drank lots of beer and wine mixed with various flavors of soda and danced the night away. i danced a few times with carlos´s host what a mistake.

the next day was sunday (fathers day in paraguay also) and i went to the futbol games as usual to watch my dad play and ref. I sat on a red beer carton next to mary´s grandmother, mary is a volunteer with me. About 30 min later the crazy drunk host brother whom i danced with the night before showed up...on a horse. Comes over to mary´s grandmother and tried to push her off the beer carton. he attempted to hand me a beer, i said no thanks and looked away, wow i got quite the evil drunk stare. then her grandma basically told him to f off in guarini and he walked away. right after that david showed up and we talked and he asked if i´d go to the dance after the games. i said why not, what the hell. He walked me home so he could talk to my mom and insure her that i would be safe, because it would be dark at this point.

The dance was really fun and interesting. They dance in a line of pairs, not like a big mixed ¨dance floor¨or red dirt. Each group of friends has a couple liters of beer or bottles of wine. So while dancing someone from your group will come to you and hand you the cup and then you pass it to your partner. then back to the delivery person. its soo cool how its such a social /sharing environment. i swear everytime i was thirsty there would be a person handing me an ice cold beer. beer with ice cubes. i met some really aweome paraguayan girls my age who were super fun. after being at the dance for like 30 min the crazy host brother comes into the middle of the ´dance floor´on his horse. totally wasted. one of the girls, a cousin of another volunteer who was at the bday party the night before, looked at me and said i never should have danced with this crazy guy. mind you the dance the night before was totally harmless in my mind. there was no touching of any sort!! So i ignored him, and in the mean time the horse shit in the middle of the dance floor. all the other drunk guys thought he was so funny!

So i have learned recently that girls and boys in paraguay typically arn´t just friends so its hard for people to understand american girls having multiple guy friends. this will be a big adjustment for me. Because now i am sure just dancing with david at the dance after the futbol games that people think we are more than friends, which isn´t true. We have become friends, hes very educated, and has not tried to put a move on me, and if he was intersted he would have, its just the way guys are here...very forward.

June 24th is Dia de San Juan. There are festivals all month at schools, and the municipalidades to raise funds for different projects. Lots of games are played... sack races, draw the tail on the pig, a sort of pinata game but with ceramic vases, and lots of fire ball things. so this saturday the 24th i´ll be going with my family to the capilla, church, to participate in these activities.

Its been a month tomorrow and I am really enjoying myself. I enjoy the training and the interacting with my family. My spanish is getting better daily, but i need to speek it more. We are together all day speeking english and only home in the evenings to converse with paraguayns for the most part. but things are starting to change, not such a structured training envirnonment i don´t think for much longer. friday we are going on a group tech excursion to villarica a really chuchi part of paraguay and going to visit a savings and loan coop. lots coming up. miss every one very much.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a new adventure

Things are pretty good here in Paraguay. The people are friendly, for the most part there is electricy and running water, they sell cold beer, the water is pretty drinkable, their shoes are all clean; i always know mine arn´t when all i notice is people who look at me are looking down at my feet, not sure how their shoes are so clean being as the roads are all red dirt and right now red mud. Also its nice when first meeting someone they tell you exactly how they feel about you, so there is no beating around the bush. I have a few examples... Ahh que linda, thats one i don´t mind hearing. Ahhh ella is muy alta, they will say that to a person sitting next to them, then continue to ask me if i do karate because all tall people should know karate. Also one i´ve gotten is how fat i am. then they giggle. Another is they will tell their friend how much more ipora i am than the person introducing me. very blunt. the african american volunteers get - hey you´re black. duh! nice stating the obvious. love it! All in good faith though.

when visiting the peace corp volunteer over the weekend i was in the campo, or the country. there definatly wern´t many people living out there. she had a split house one area was the kictchen then to get to the bedroom-bath you had to walk outside to the other building. it was pretty sweet all in all except the no running water. we had to get water from the vecions house. i still boiled it, but she drank it with no issues. The bucket baths reminded me of kenya!! So she was really excited to have a visitor so we ate and cooked like kings. twice baked patatos, french toast, home made tomato bisque soup with grilled cheese, egg fritata with a curry potato crust, pasta, and a sweet honey bread. we worked in her hureta. we re built all the raised beds and pulled all the weeds, then planted the vegies and herbs. of course all of the chickens tried to get in the fence and scratch all the new dirt.

we went to a community charla that was held for health education. how to brush teeth, wash hands, etc. after the meeting was over there was a meeting for her comite de madres. the womenes group she helped form. there are many problems but i dont really want to get into them. basicall when she leaves in 6 months they won´t function any more.

we also went on a hike down to the little river, got muddy and relaxed in the shade. the temperature was perfect!!! we drank some extreme mate dule also. they were boiled coffee to add to the yerba but probably added 2 1/2 cups of sugar and more to the yerba. i had a sugar high for awhile. all in all it was cool to see how a volunteer lives and to also see the things that wont work. i am excited to ¨nest¨ and make a home my own, have control in cooking and my schedule again.

when i returned from my trip my family was really excited to hear all about it, being that my host grandma is from the town really close to where i went. we talked, i washed my clothes in the sweet washing machine my mom has, then it was lunch. and guess who ramon and tita invited over for lunch ?? david, my buddy. he acted surprised to see me then all he wanted to talk about was WalMart because he went to on in Argentina.

today was good we learned the effects of drinking alcohol and how to tell if you´re addicted. felt like i was in high school again. well i am off to grab a beer with the gang.


Friday, June 12, 2009


Hello all!! Its been a fun week or so since í´ve writen last. Paraguay played Chile and Brazil and lost both times. My host dad was pissed. We watched both games together. He was yelling at the TV saying ¨these are professionals, they are getting paid all this money and they still suck¨ But it was fun to see the community get excited for the games. He also recently bought a DVD player so now we can watch paraguayn polka music videos. Which are totally AWESOME! And he is really into the John Wayne western movies. Its interesting to watch them in spanish.

So i have learned not to express my feelings for food anymore to my host family. They gave me some cookies and i said they were really good. Well now my mom gives me 2 packs of cookies a day. Pretty sure i should stop eating the cookies. I now give them to my language teachers and the other people in class.

So my host moms mom got sick and so my mom left to go see her 4 hours away. While she was gone my host dad was in charge of running the store. He was also in charge or cooking lunch. I go to class from 745 till 12 then back at 1 to 5. He cooked me meat. Two pieces of the meat, that they sell in their store, that sits on top of the fridge all day... cooked in a frying pan for like 15 min on both sides. it was leather. i was so tired after lunch because my jaw worked so hard chewing all the meat. My host mom ,tita, then came back WITH her mother. who is part of some religious community. she wears a white thing on her head almost like a habbit or whatever nuns wear. and is consantly touching me and telling me how ¨lindo¨i am. hillarous. at breakfast yesterday she played with my hair all morning. quite the character.

Today is a holiday Paz de Cacho. Our homework was to ask our families about the war the chaco war, and my family doesn´t know much so i am not sure what its all about. but its a day off!

We went to asuncion, the capital, for the first time 2 days ago. it was a scavenger hunt. my partner was carrie and we had 3 places we had to find, then meet at the peace corp office at 1. first we went to the paraguay train station. which doesn´t even operate. there were two trains but no rail roads so its basically just a museum. but apparently the trains are some of the oldest ones still standing. we found the other two spots pretty quickly and then just wondered around the city. the archetecture in asuncion is amazing. but half of the building are un occupied. there is one building that looks like the white house but its a church and inside are the tombs of some old leaders. not too sure. we went to lido bar for lunch, í read about it in a book before i left. had the best empanda and salad!

the peace corp office is really cool. there were a few other volunteers there using the library and what not. every one is super nice and there are tons of resources for us there. we have been told varous times not to re invent the wheel. so if we need resources for a project its probably been done and everything we need is at the office.

There are these two brothers David and Eddy. Eddy is 18 and David 26. Eddy asked if i would dance with him after the futbol games on sunday. and how ¨lindo¨my eyes were. I told him maybe if i was still there after the games. Got to the futbol games at 3 and davids game was next. durning the game he scored a goal and then pointed at me and said the goal was for me. I left the game before it was over because it was dark. He came to my families store and asked why i left early, he wanted to dance. ´my mother is totally fueling the flame too....she likes these guys and thinks i should hang out with them all the time. david came to the store this morning with out a shirt on and need to buy some soap. and asked íf i´d drink with him tonight!

Tomorrow i am going to caaguazu for 4 days to stay with another volunteer. i am excited to see what its really like to be a volunteer! so i am sure there will be more stories.

I am at a new internet cafe, the old one isn´t so safe anymore. 2 days ago there was a stabbing out front. so my host mom wont let me go. I miss everyone so much. Oh Nicassia if you are reading this. Lots of people buy red wine and coke. Its popular drink here. so everytime i see people drinking it i think of you! and your basque family!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mate, Terere, Mate Dulce and more Mate

So I love all of the Mate and terere every one drinks here. The mate is hot and terere is basically just cold mate. There are so many ´rules´and customs that go behind drinking it we had half of a day learning about it. Mate is yerba a type of tea I guess. And its put into a cup which is usually part of a set ´equipo´which includes the thermos. there are also lots of different yuyos. sounds like jujos. which are herbs-plants that have ´medicinal´purposes or just make everything taste better. you smash up whatever yuyos you want and add it to the water. you either heat up the water or use the natural cold water. you fill you cup up with the yerba which looks like loose tea leaves. and add the water. you fill up the cup and pass it to one person. they use the ´bambilla´straw to drink all the water and pass the cup back to the person serving. then they fill it up again and pass it to the next person. and so on. if you dont want any you say gracias. so if you´re sick you will usually say gracias so you don´t get everyone sick. also you typically don´t touch the straw for its not custom. i prefer the terere. but since its FREEZING some mate isn´t bad. my host mom drinks mate which gross yuyos so I tend to say gracias when she offers it to me. The yuyos also come in packets you can buy at the store so you don´t have to smash them up and add them to you water you just put them on top of the yerba and add the water. Everyone here drinks some sort of mate or terere. Mate dulce is coconut mate. Oh my god!!! it is soo freaking good. Another volunteer and myself went to another volunteers house and had it for like 3 hours. its a very social drink and very much necessary in making friends.

so its winter. and its very cold. i feel like i am on one long camping trip. i can never escape the cold. my shower is luke warm so thats the one point where my feet are warm. it was very rainy at first, now it is sunny but cold.

i´ve been eating a lot of paraguayan pizza, my family has a convectional oven and apparently pizza is the rich mans food...i think they are just showing off. but i keep telling my mom i want traditional food. so i have been eating more lately. stews, rice, meet, vegis, empanadas, and hard rolls. they sell so many of these in their store and everyone loves them. but they are the most stale rolls ever! i ate them the first day and now just tell my parents no thanks. they ate just stale rolls one night for dinner.

so the training is very intense. from 8 am till 5 pm every day. except sunday. so my internet access is going to be limited because i can not get to internet after class due to the dark. things arn´t too dangerous but not too safe to take the bus alone at night or walk in the campo alone at night. the campo is the country, and also where i live. one red dirt road with houses on both sides. very beautiful.

sunday i go to the futbol games in the community where i live. passeo de orro. there are typically 15 or more games a day. loud reggae tone music is played the whole time. there is a paragua vs. chile game on saturday in the capital we might go to depending on if we can get tickets.

there is much more to talk about but its time to go. love you and miss you all.