Tuesday, January 8, 2008

News and Words!






(Welcome, 2008)



Messages have trickled down through the jungle that people want me to update my blog! Well, here is your update and an explanation for my long absence.


(Even in Asuncion, the capital, is is common to see horse-drawn carts on the roads)

Early December we swore in as full fledged U.S. Peace Corps volunteers serving in Paraguay. It was an important day for me because for a long time, before leaving the states and during training, I wasn't fully convinced that I was here. Well, I believe it now! I have been spending my days living with my incredible community contact and her family in my site, a couple hours north of Encarnacion. She is the vice principal of the elementary school next door, and her husband is the principal of a school down the road. As an environmental education volunteer this is perfect for me and I should have no shortage of work once school starts back up. Live is tranquilo and I am slowely but surely learning to speak the language. If anybody is reading this and considering PC or just learning a new language - take it from me, if I can do it anybody can.


(A playground near Asuncion)

Christmas in Paraguay didn't feel like Christmas due to temperatures in the mid 90's and, well, a very different culture. Christmas here is much much less of a commercial buying bonanza like it is in the state. The night before Christmas, the family I am staying with made clarico which is like fruit salad with soda and wine. Pretty tasty. It is their tradition to wait to eat dinner until midnight which was hard on me, I am used to going to bed by 10 at the latest! Let me tell you... learning a new language really messes with your brain. Sleep is essential. Christmas day there was a big party in the field across the road. Kids from my town and from the towns nearby came and they had a big Christmas celebration. Fruit cake (incredibly popular) was passed out to all the kids as well as soda. There were clowns telling jokes I didn't understand and people all around watching me covertly or overtly. Being the first volunteer in my town, many people still don't know why I am there. Some people think i'm a spy although there's not much for me to spy on.



(Not an uncommon site where Volunteers work. This was outside my training village near Guarambare)


New Years was very subdued for me. My host family left town to visit relatives and I was left to house sit. I took some much needed time to relax and spent the final minutes of 2007 sitting outside watching the stars as fireworks boomed in the distance.
At the moment I am in the capital, Asuncion, getting some work done in the PC Office. Hopefully I will be able to wrestle a bicycle back across the country and I will have transportation to get to an internet cafe so I can talk to all of you more often! As always please feel free to send messages to let me know how things are going in your part of the world.


Peace,
Austin







(G25 Environmental Education group at the Ambassidor's mansion after swearing in)

1 comment:

kjoy said...

I've finally found the infamous blog... and enjoyed catching up with your experiences there. Sounds incredible. Keep the picture coming! ~Krista