Monday, August 23, 2010

Door Drama

April to August. 4 months. That’s how long it has taken to get me a door for my bedroom. My house has many doorways, 8 in total, and 6 doors. One of those doorless doorways is the main door to my bedroom, for awhile I had a sheet hanging for privacy reasons that served it's purpose. But then my kitten started getting bigger and was soon able to jump on my bed to sleep with me. At first it was cute and I didn't mind the cuddle, but she was taken from her mother to young and because of this she has a little problem. Whenever she feels content and purrs, she also starts to nurse..on me. So I would be awoken at very early every morning with a kitten sucking on my shirt or neck, then she would get up and want to play resulting in her jumping on my face. Not a nice way to wake up. I put up with it though because there really wasn't much I could do without a door. Then she got fleas and I could feel them crawling on me. It was time to ask for a door. I started with the owners of the house to see what they would say. I told them I needed it for the cold and I wanted my room to stay warm. I couldn't tell them the real reason was for a cat, they would just tell me to kick her out of the house or hit her or something. She is too Americanized to be kicked to the curb at this point. Then one day...I saw worms coming out her butt!!!!!! NO WAY!!! LAST STRAW!!! NO MORE CATS IN THE BEDROOM!!!

The reason for all of this
We took the door that divided my room from the spare room and leaned it up against my doorway like this...
The "door" to my room
So now we have to walk through the storage room to get to my bedroom, there is no direct way out to the kitchen or livingroom. Bear in mind that my bedroom has three doorways, one going into the storage room, one going into the livingroom (now blocked by door barricade)and the third going into the kitchen which I put my dresser in front of and barricaded the bottom from cats. Now I've been waiting for this door for about two months, I keep asking my neighbor and he says oh yes he has one for me but we need to get someone to look at the doorway to make a frame, he'll come tomorrow. This person never shows up, I leave it alone for another week then ask again. Oh yes I have a door frame and a door I'll bring it tomorrow. Never shows. I leave it alone for a bit. it's now been three months. I go over and hang out with the fam and casually ask about it. He's forgotten alll about. Come by tomorrow at 12! He's not there he's having a siesta. come by at 5. He's not there he's at a meeting. I'm starting to doubt he even has a door. It's 4 months now and we're really puttin the pressure on. It may be customary in Paraguay not to follow through but if you say you have something we're gonna hold you to it! Two weeks ago we saw him and I asked if we could get the door now and he said's made of wood. maybe tomorrow. There is no door is there.... Then last week he brings us over to his shed and shows us the door, and the frame!!! They're reeeaaaallll!!! But we couldn't take them yet he had to clean the shed. Sigh. At least we know it's there. The next day we had a surprise when we came home and saw the doorframe put over our fence and into the patio..we're halfway there!!!! Then, 2 days ago, I saw him out raking his yard and we went over and he tried to tell us he'd bring it over tomorrow but I was like no it's ok we'll get it today that way you can rest tomorrow. And guess what, we finally got a door!!
Other side of current "door" to my room
The antenna, a bamboo pole and florescent light
The florescent tube with cable connecting to TV

The garden project, revisited

My garden class was moving along swimmingly until we hit a pretty big road block. After we made the tablones (raised beds) in the ground at the site for our garden, we had to wait to put up a fence before we could plant any seeds or transfer any of the growing plants out of the seedboxes. It is very necessary to have a fence because of free roaming chickens. A chicken drive by could ruin all the hard work you've put into a garden within minutes!

I was told the teachers would put up a fence and have the kids plant seeds and transplant the other growing plants while I was away visiting the Iguazu falls in Argentina, when I came back they told me they were sorry they didn't do it and they couldn't do it without me! (Idk maybe they need me as a cheerleader or just someone who keeps showing up and pushing them). So they asked if I would come help them during the winter break which is 2 weeks in July, the same 2 weeks I would be in the States. Upon returning from Los Estados Unidos I learned that the government tacked on another week of break due to cold (they wouldn't last a Jersey winter then!). So by the time I got back to the school there was still no fence up and the plantitas (transplant plants) were muerta (dead).

"We must begin again!" they told me. "But this time we shall plant the plants right here in the school in containers, just the plants that will grow in the winter".
This is what I suggested we do in the first place but I suppose they had to get to that conclusion their own way. So we began once again. This time some students brought some wooden crates from fruit stands and some brought abono (fertilized or composted soil) which we put right into the boxes after lining them with plastic garbage bags with drain holes. The teachers told me where they wanted them to be which is in between these two buildings in a kind of alleyway next the sink. This area probably gets about two hours of sunlight a day, I told them this but...many times... but hey, at least it's close to the sink. I told them if they don't start to sprout better move the location.

Last friday I stopped by to talk to the principal of the school with Lauren, a volunteer who lives close by. While there one of my students came into the office and told me that kids had walked all over our garden, Lauren and I went to look. It didn't appear to be stepped on but there was garbage in one, and all of them were without sprouts. Sigh. Bad location and no one taking the initiative to water them even though I told them and the teacher make sure they get water every day!

I asked lauren how much do I hold their hands with these projects? I know they wanted a school garden and I tried twice to help them with that but I can't be the only person trying, they need to take some initiative as well! How many times do I have to repeat simple things like how much sun a day they should get and how they need water every day... to teachers??!!

Well I tried. And my garden is coming along nicely! The next project I'm working on is a big one. We call it the festival de aves (bird festival) and it's to raise awareness of the importance of birds. It's been done in my site since 2007 and I'm happy to carry on the tradition. More to come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Frutas y Verduras

I would like to take the time to point out the differences in produce here and produce back in the States. I do my shopping at the market and supermarket a couple blocks away. Now, I'm not exactly sure where the fruits and veggies are coming from in the supermarket (could be close by, could be Argentina) but usually the fruits and veggies in the stands at the market come from local farms and gardens and there is such a difference in size from what I'm used to back home. I'm sure here there are no growth hormone genes and whatever else is put into our American produce, does this mean these are the fruits and veggies true sizes???
And at some point my garden will be ready! (If the cats don't jump on it first)...

My Wee Garden

Cantalope (Melón)

Pineapple (Piña)

Green Pepper (Locote)

Cucumber (Pepiño)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Cold and Dia De Amistad

We are now in the dead of winter down here, sounds funny saying that since it's August and I know back home it's hot hot hot! But down here it can range anywhere from 80F down to 55F and at night it can be in the 40s. I live in a cement block of a house with sun only hitting one side of it and no heat,and I can tell you that 60F is cold in my icebox house!! At this moment I have on slippers, sweatpants, a hoodie and gloves with fingerholes. It's amazing to think that during the summer just the thought of these clothes made me want to jump in a cold shower! Now I wish I had more!
We've actually just come off the winter break down here, it's supposed to be 2 weeks in July but because it was so cold they extended it to be 3 weeks. Last year they extended it to be 3 weeks as well because of swine flu scares. I couldn't imagine the schools in New Jersey trying to extend the break due to cold, it's hard enough to get a snow day! This extended break worked out well for me though since I just got back from a wonderful 13 day trip back home. I needed that extra week to get back into the swing of things.

So July 31st is Dia De Amistad,friendship day, is a big deal down here. When we told them we don't have one in the states they couldn't believe it. It's pretty much a day to acknowledge your friends by sending them texts or giving them little stuffed bears or signs that say something about amistad. I was told that you should especially be nice to your friends who know all your secrets. Seems like a plesant little holiday, unless of course you don't receive a text, call or any presents. Could get a bit depressing then.

Ok I promis to be better and update my blog more, especially now that I have the interwebs in my house. No excuses!

ChauChau 4 now