Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Parents Made it to Paraguay

Hey all. The Tippy Family is finally together again, but this time south of the boarder. We are having a great time. I made a facebook album with lots of pictures. Check out the Link.

The adventures have only just begun. But we have been lucky to have the San Juan Festivals in Paraguay, so they have tried lots of traditional food and see lots of kids play with fire.

When I have more time. I'll tell more stories!!!

See ya!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is South Africa in South America?

The questions that I have been asked since I've been in Paraguay have been very interesting. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Today's question knocked me out of my socks. "Is South Africa in South America?" After answering the question, "No", it was hard for me to hold back and not give an entire geography lesson. I thought I would leave that to their geography teacher. After telling my host mother about this incident she was taken back also, because "everyone should learn geography in 7th grade" she said. Then she continued to tell me about her cousin who lives in the United States, when I asked what state she said Canada. Again I was shocked. She is a very proud woman therefore I did not feel it was the place to be giving her a geography lesson. This prompted me to go to the school and talk to the Nun's in the afternoon. The Nun's are in charge of the private catholic school in town. I told them that I was very interested in doing a world map project. Peace Corps has all of the information on how to do the project, only money is needed, and this is something that the school does have. The problem is finding a place where we can put the map, where ALL of the kids can see it and study every day!

In my house I have a world map, a map of paraguay, and a map of the united states. I literally find myself staring at my wall. I can't get enough! Also whenever someone comes and visits me they look at my maps and ask me questions like "how many continents are there" or "which state are you from." In situations like those I am very happy to talk about what I about geography.

With the world cup coming up, only days away!!! I've been watching the commercials and hearing the same world cup songs for about 4 months now. Therefore I am looking forward for the games to begin! When the people here found out what countries Paraguay would be playing, a few young girls came over and asked me where slovakia and italy are on the map. They had looked in their encyclopedia but couldn't find Slovakia. Another great time for a geography lesson. I explained that before Slovakia it was Czechoslovakia and now it is two different countries.

One day in my class of Informadores Turistico our activity was to draw a map of Paraguay, with its rivers, departments, and capitals. The students in the class really had no idea where to start. They couldn't even start by drawing the shape of their country. The professor was very mad, and instead of assisting the students, started to yell and draw the outline. Then one of the students found a magazine in that had a drawing of Paraguay and everyone continued to copy the drawing.

I am not sure where I am trying to go with this, but it has been a constant theme in living in Paraguay. And my host mom was wrong when she said that everyone knows their geography because they do not learn it in 7th grade. In the schools the students arn't the most important. A lot of teachers are only there for the pay check, teachers are some of the highest paid and one of the most secure jobs in Paraguay. You really have to screw up to get fired, yeah it is ok to date students. Therefore a lot of the teachers don't care about the education of their students and if they are understanding what they are teaching. Also it is ok to cheat on tests here, everyone does it, college students pay for test answers to get accepted into the program they want.

Again not sure where I am going with this, but the kids are missing a lot of relevent information that I hope I can help with just being their friend.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My first quinceañera

Since my mom didn't give me a big birthday when I turned 15, I've been looking forward to going to a quinceañera the whole time I've been in Paraguay. Well I've been here a year, and girls have turned 15 but the ones I am close with don't have the 5 thousand dollars or so that it takes to throw a good party, therefore I hadn't been to one, until last weekend!!! The birthday girl Lumi is from my training community therefore I got to visit and stay with my host family. I really didn't bring appropriate clothes for this type of party, so I went paraguayan jeans shopping. Oh did I score big time...they are technically jeans, but look more like spandex, would NEVER buy anything like this in the states but... when in Paraguay do what the Paraguayans do.

The party was supposed to start at eight but David's sisters, who started getting ready at 6, weren't ready until 9:30. When we got there Lumi was waiting in her beautiful white dress next to a box, we entered she greeted us all then took the gift we brought and put it in the box, and we were escorted to our table.

While we were sitting at the table waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive they brought one soda and one beer to the table. After most of the guests were seated the birthday girl went around passing out red roses to all of the guys. I was mad that I didn't get a rose, but the rose is what you offer the girl to ask her to dance.

David and his brother Juan, with the red rose.

Then the waltz starts and the birthday girl starts out dancing with her dad, then one by one the guys ask her to dance, only long enough for the photographer to take a picture then the next boy comes in.

After the waltz the dinner was served. Chicken, with rice salad, and sopa paraguaya. It was delicious. After dinner we sat at the table a while longer waiting for things to get started.

Lucy with her cousin who was in the cutest little tux!

While waiting for things to get started, it starting to sprinkle, then started to rain, A Lot. Everyone went under the mango trees to wait it out, then it didn't stop, the birthday girl was crying so we all started to dance in the rain. After 10 minutes of dancing, soaking wet, the lights went out. We went over to lucy's house under her porch, because there wasn't enough room for everyone at the house where the party was. About 45 min later the lights came one, the out again, still raining. The birthday girl was inside her house with tons of people and wanted to cut the cake but the photographer had left, so called me over to ask if I would take pictures.

The tradition is the girls stand by the cake first for the picture, and they all have a string that is attached to something in the cake, one string has a ring and the girl that pulls it out will get married first. David's sister Sonia pulled out the ring!!

Then all the guys get around the cake for their picture.

Remember that all of this is going on in the smallest house every while the lights were out and everyone was soaking wet. Then the birthday girl ( she's in the pink now) wanted her picture with EVERY person at the party.

After we ate the cake we were forced to go outside, the house is tiny and the mom didn't really like all the dirty and wet people inside her bedroom. We went back over to Lucy's house for a bit and hung out. At about midnight I went home, because I couldn't feel my feet any more.

Unfortunately the next two days were beautiful and sunny the only night of rain was the night of the party.

Now I can say that I've been to a quinceañera!!!