Here I am, still in Paraguay, and the heat continues rising. It is defiantly hotter than last year, but luckily the house I live in now isn’t an oven like my last house. I am able to sleep past 7 am without waking up sweating.
So I am starting to get back to work after the LONG holiday season. During Christmas and New Years the people really don’t do anything. Their families from out of town usually come to visit, therefore when it comes to working and projects, nothing will get done. Oh and lucky for us San Salvadoreños our fiesta patronal happens to be January 6th but they always have the big party the first Saturday of January. Making the holiday season extra long. This year it happened to fall the 1st of January. Therefore we had a New Year’s party and the next day a huge patron saint party. Then the entire first week of January was filled with festivals, concerts, bull fights, carnival rides and much more. Therefore the second week of January the town was back to normal, silent. And I was really ready to get to work.
The first thing I had on my plate was a Youth Leadership Camp, Ñande Ha'e Tenoderá, we are the future. I took two girls from San Salvador and we went to Tati Yupi the biological reserve that the company Itaipu is in charge of. Itaipu is the huge hydroelectric dam that is on the border of Paraguay and Brazil. The dam supplies almost all of the electricity for all of Paraguay. When they built the dam, obviously the water rose on the other side flooding part of the jungle. The now “lake” and land around has been made into a biological reserve with space to have camps. We were lucky enough to have the privilege to stay at the camp for 4 beautiful days. Filled with activities and talks such as; what is a leader, communication, human rights, civic education, how to plan projects, working in groups, self esteem and much more. We played tons of games, danced, sang and had a blast. The people from Itaipu also donated a tour of the dam at night to see the lights. Some of the kids said that these were the best 4 days of their lives.
In San Salvador there is no Youth Group, and the girls I took have come back home with a lot of energy and really want to form one. The end goal of the camp is to have the kids go back to their communities and do some sort of project. They have six months to plan the project and finish the project, hopefully. Then six months from the first came there will be a reconnect camp to share their experiences of working with their communities. One idea we have is to form a youth group and do a project involving trash. Maybe giving talks to the youth of the community and then doing a project with garbage cans. There is one public garbage can in San Salvador. We have an oil factory here; therefore there are lots of big tin drums which we can hopefully get donated to make garbage cans. So we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.
Some good news…The SPA grant that I wrote along with the Association of the Culture and Community Center, the train station, was approved and the check is waiting for us to get in Asuncion. Included in the project will be the reinstallation of the entire lighting system inside and out. Also we will be equipping the inside of the station to be able to use the computer and other electrical devices. We will buy 50 plastic chairs to be able to hold more courses and events at the station without having to rent chairs, which gets expensive. We will also restore the antique latrines, putting in new floors, painting, doors, and lights. Currently the station doesn’t have bathrooms making it difficult to invite visitors and have courses. Lastly we will buy a printer and will the computer hopefully will be able to start computer classes. We are going to try and finish everything for March 31st which is the founding day of San Salvador and they also do a locomotive festival or a cultural week in the train station in this time. So this project along with the youth group will keep me busy for at least a few months! Then hopefully will finally be able to start the business course for youth that I’ve been wanting to teach for ages!
Meanwhile I am going to Uruguay on a little vacation in February, I need to see the ocean and eat fresh seafood, it’s been way too long in a land locked country. Also…David and I have decided to get married!!