Saturday, October 17, 2009

Visit to a real live volunteer!

This weekend we went to visit a volunteer at their site just to see what life is like as a volunteer. Environmental volunteers who have either been here for a year or two years were to have us at their site and stay with a host family and show us their life. After our day in Asuncion on Thursday we found out who we were going to visit and if we had to leave Friday because they were far away or Saturday if they were closer. So I was off to visit Kevin two hours away at his site where he’s been living for a year. Not a bad ride since other people had 7 and 8 hour bus rides, plus another volunteer was taking the same bus and getting off before me. the bus was crowded so we had to stand for most of the ride in the isle and there were all these vendors selling snacks going up and down the isle that had to awkwardly squeeze past every 10 mins. They would jump on and off at random stops, must be the thing to do here. Kinda like the knife salesman that came on our bus when we were going into Asuncion thurs.

So I got there around 11am and Kevin was waiting for me at the terminal. After introductions over lunch we went to his house which on the outside looked like an old big shack but it’s a sweet deal what he’s got. The yard is big with a lot of fruit trees and it’s all fenced in. The house belongs to some guy in Italy and the landlord is letting Kevin live there rent free to look after it. It needed some work like a new sink and he bought a fridge and a mattress but everything else he is borrowing from neighbors like his bed and tables. There are four big rooms but no doors other then the bathroom door, and the bathroom is nice. Running water, hot water, electricity, the works.

We had a lot to do though, first we went over to this church that some of his friends volunteer at. Ever Saturday they provide a snack to the poorer kids in a community near this one. The snake was just rolls that we put some jam in but the kids came, about 37, and first they all sat down and got ready to sing. They love to sing songs here with kids and the kids love doing it. They sang along to this tape they played with kid church songs on it, then the girl running it taught them a mini lesson about being nice, then they went to the park next door to pick up trash. So that’s good, teachin them some garbage management, but then of course they burn the trash so……that’s not so good. Then they ran back in and washed their hands and had their snack with hot chocolate. They kept staring at me like they do and I think they were calling me Miley Sirus … or at least the one girl was talking about her.

After we had to go to another church and give a speech on global warming. A youth group was doing a campout that night so we walked out pretty far out of this town looking for the church. We were alittle late but we knew they were watching the movie first, or so we thought. When we finally got there turns out they hadn’t even started it because they were waiting for us, and asked us if we needed to rest before they started it. we told them we’d be able to sit and watch the movie without resting first because we’re guapo like that (here the word guapo doesn’t mean pretty like it does in other Spanish speaking countries, it means hard working. It’s very important to be guapo here they like that). So the movie they picked out to watch for our global warming charla (speech) was… the day after tomorrow. In Spanish. It was pretty long. But after we played an icebreaker game and then Kevin did a chat on global warming and how they can help reduce it in Paraguay. (most of their power is from a hydroelectric power so they’re good on that one, although they cut down their trees like there’s no tomorrow).

After that we had a birthday party to go to. A teacher he works with at school was turning 24. So we walked back down the long dirt road and got back into town and to her house. Tables were set up in the dirt yard and there were lights all over the trees. It looked very nice, the food was already on the plate at all the seats so we just sat down and started eating. Ok so on the plate was hunks of meat, and potato salad and rice salad and..a salad and of course sopa paraguay. Ugh. There was a lot on it and the only good thing was the potato salad. I didn’t want to appear rude and have it look like I wasn’t eating anything but I couldn’t’ eat all that! So it sat on my plate for awhile and what luck, a dog came by. He had a good meal that night… during the dinner there was a Paraguayan group singing traditional Paraguayan songs! 2 guitars and a accordion, it was really nice to hear. After we ate came the cake. It looked really nice a lot of icing, and it was a circle shape. They cut cake different here, she cut a small ring around the outside of the circle and then cut little pieces of that ring so it was like little slivers of cake. And thank god it was! Because I was all excited and took a bite and it was…not yummy. Ugh another thing I had just get it down and over with quick and hope she didn’t’ give me more. So that was the party. And what would be a birthday party without a lot of sitting around and staring, which is what we did. Then we left.

Sunday was a chill our day. We watched movies and there was a huge rainstorm that killed the power for a few hours but it was nice and we walked in it and got soaked. Made a stir fry for dinner though which was an awesome change.

Monday Kevin does a radio show for an hour at 8 with some other volunteers. We went over to the station, or room with a computer in it, and we were the only ones there. So Kev had to do the show on his own. I wasn’t about to get on air and wing a radio show about the environment with my Spanish! So I just hello. That’s all they get from me. but it went well, played some music, talked about gardening, who knows who listens to it but I’m sure there’s gotta be one or two people! After we went to one of the schools he works at on Monday where he made a garden with the kids. It’s a special needs school which is kinda unique there’s not many that I’ve seen or heard about around. There’s a fica volunteer here, it’s kinda like the Peace Corps but a Japanese version. Speaking of Japan, this community has a lot of Japanese Paraguayans living in it. A bunch settled here to grow rice or something awhile ago and they’re pretty integrated now. But they do still learn to speak Japanese and about their culture. I met one volunteer and it was cool because her Spanish was like mine, we’re both still learning.

After we went to lunch, had some terere during the siesta, then went to Kevin’s main school that he works at every day. He made a huge garden there with his different classes! So sometimes he just goes and sits in the library, other times teachers may ask him to teach a class on some environ theme, he also just got a grant to buy more books for the library because they really don’t have many. He’s doing a good job over there. After that we met up with another volunteer who was hosting a trainee as well and we all went and had a Japanese dinner at the Japanese hotel in town. IT WAS SO GOOD! Such a nice chaaaange. They brought out a nice spead of sushi and noodles and tofu with shitake mushrooms and dumplings and other things. Nice change of pace. After we all played uno.

Left Tuesday morning at 11 and got home around 2 (after spending time at the internet cafĂ©). At home I hung out with the fam for a bit then decided to have a nap. Ok. So this is random and weird. I go into my room and close the door, unpack my bag and lay on my bed and have a 30 min nap. I’m drifting in and out of sleep and at one point I hear a little noise under my bed like a cat is under there. I figured it was just Pingy and went to look if she was under there. No. it was not Pingy. It was a small child!?!?!?!? He appeared to be sleeping on my cold tile floor, I left my room and told my h mom there was a small child under my bed, she was like what? And I repeated and she went to look, she came back and was like “ooh that’s just Gustavo, he’s so crazy. He’s your friend” I don’t know little Gustavo nor did little Gustavo ask to sleep under my bed. I think what happened was his mom was gonna take him to the dentist and he was hiding and my door was open so he went in there and hid and fell asleep. So lesson learned, always check for small children under your bed.

Speaking of which I’m gonna do that now. It’s 8:14 pm! Bed time waits for no man! Night!

here´s some pics of the massacre of my toe to get out my third pique. some uno times in the room that looks like it could be out of one of the texas chainsaw movies. and a really good dinner we cooked!


  1. Compliments for your blog and pictures included,I encourage you to photoblog,

    Greetings from Italy,


  2. I just love reading your blogs. I hope your toe is better.Love, Grandma Irene