It is HOT in Paraguay! Especially here on the Island...It is really pretty but its also difficult for me to get around. Like there are clearly no stores (dispensas) here on the island. In most communities in Paraguay there are stores that are like connected to the families home for little things that a person would want, coke, beer, flour, bread, etc. For me I have to get in a canoa and cross the river and find such store. Seeing as I currently do not own a canoa its more difficult because it involves asking either of my two oldest siblings to row me to shore. Needless to say this does not happen very often because if I were my sibling...I would think its REALLY annoying having to row the American to shore everytime she wanted to go somewhere.
On a more positive note I did find out about a house that is available for me to stay in for the next 2 years which is nice. Its kinda big but only a one room up to par to live in so I hear. The house does need some work like the fact that I have no bathroom or latrine which I consider an issue but I believe my other contact is going to take care of it. He kept making sure that I wanted to be in the house by March and that he needed to call the owner of the house too. Although aparently the owner never comes to the island because he is away so the house is definetly available.
Went to my first Comite meeting of Agriculturas on Saturday...that was interesting..I felt like I was sitting in a very heated PTO meeting at an elementary school...there were about 7 people (including me) which isn't very good for a comite that have i think around 20-25 people...Attendance is a normal problem in Paraguay which is sometimes why things do not get done or fall apart....I was told on Saturday that Apiculture on the Island is a back-up Goal.... BOOHISS! but I told my secondary contact that I have 2 years on the island to change that around and he said yes exactly...so eventually there will be BEES!
ON another positive note, my secondary contact's wife is a school teacher...for Guarani...SCORE. She said she would teach me Guarani! YES!! That will help me so much because trying to teach myself pronuncation is like...well SAD...so I hope this will happen. She is suppose to call me this week to set it up...I am giving her till Wednesday afternoon then I am making a phone call...lol
My advisor/bosses are coming to my site Feb 2nd for my site presentation and to bring all my other stuff (luggage, Batea etc) I think that will be good. I need to round up some people to come to that...
Tomorrow I am going into the office to talk to my technical adivsor about anaerobic biodigesters for my contact/host mom. This is like her dream project. To utlize all the poop from the pigs and cows to convert to gas. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that I can help her do this...this would make her life and her families life much better..less smoke going through the whole house and less poop to deal with...healthier animals...All of the above...This is going to be my primary focus for now and trying to meet other people on the island which is much easier said than done. There are alot of people in this community who I think just don't care about anyone else but themselves...My host parents have told me that many people on the island have lost what this life is really all about being tranquilo and doing work and just trying to enjoy life. So I have a feeling that my "community" is more like my contacts and thier relatives...at least for now...which I am fine with to be honest because I like being around them...
So I pretty much spend everyday with my host family, I help clean and do laundry, drink a lot of terere and teach some english to my sister, study and do research. My family on the island has my mom (contact) and dad, My sister (18), My brother (16), My other sister (10) and my other brother who i believe is technically my cousin but he is my sibling (7). So helping them do laundry does help! When I had my first interview for placement I said that it did not matter to me in what way I help the community or the family as long as I was helping which is another reason of why I think I became a first time volunteer here on the island because until people know and trust you...they are not going to be willing to change their lives in different ways from the norm where they KNOW how things work and the rountine which I totally understand. so For now Im kinda just living in Paraguay and doing some other stuff on the side..
Christmas was kinda boring. It didnt feel like Christmas most of the time...My family was really nice and I enjoyed being with them but it was hard to not want to be with MY family in the States or at least with Jose and his family. We had great asado and waited until midnight and drank some champange and watched some fireworks from san antonio and then went to sleep. New Years was the same because it rained but I was able to spend time with Jose and meet the sister from Argentina so that was nice but I still missed my family of course. Both of my families here in Paraguay try to keep tabs on me to make sure that I am not sad or missing home because they knew it would be hard which is nice.
Speaking of Jose, My wonderful boyfriend..yes I said wonderful. We talk all day through texts and sometimes call (more expensive..) and I see him every so often. I am trying to be good and stay in my site but I miss him alot and is super close (30mins away...maybe to the town and a hour walking o 25mins taxi) which is like nothing...He doesn't speak english (for now). Although he learned from me already with out me teaching it, "really?" "now?" and "oh sh*t"...ugh terrible...apparently I say this when I am running late...who knew...haha Oh well.
He is a great guy and my best friend here (besides the girls in beekeeeping). I can always count on him for anything. He makes my life here better every day :)
AND We are going to see Shakira for her first performance in Paraguay in March! SO EXCITED!!
I guess that is it for now...I need to go help to laundry because well.. there is ALOT! I miss you all! MUCHO AMOR!
Nos Vemos, Chau,