Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Day in the Life

So - what do I do everyday besides learn how to better the life of Paraguayan farmers, you ask?

I get up at about 5:45 am and do some stretches. This is about the only time I get to listen to my CDs, so stretching is very important to take time to reflect, listens to some music to make me feel more at home, and process my previous day.

I head off to the bathroom, which is an outhouse, at about 6:15 to take a shower and possibly wash my undies. I usually have to fight with some mosquitos while in there, so I take a little longer than necessary - while wearing my shower shoes.

After my shower, I go back into my room to get dressed and go into breakfast around 7:20. For breakfast I have ¨cafe¨ which is really a cup of warm milk with a few instant coffee teaspoons and sugar. My host mom feeds me some hard bread with jam - and I´m out the door. I walk next door to my fellow volunteer´s house, and we walk to school to learn Guarani from 7:45 - 11:30.

At 11:30 I come back to my house to have terrere. Terrere is a tea from Yerba Mate. Yerba Mate drank cold is Terrere. Yerba Mate drank hot (and I mean boiling) is called Mate. My family drinks mate at 5 am every morning, in a small wooden cup with a stainless steel strainer straw. I can´t drink it because A. it´s too early B. it´s too hot C. they make fun of my sensitive palate. So I drink terrere because it really is refreshing and it´s drunk out of a taller wooden cup or a cup made out of an ox horn. Paraguayans all over carry thermoses with either hot or cold water, and a little cup holder attached to it. It gets addictive.

I eat lunch around 12:15 which is considered the biggest meal of the day. It usually consists of starch, starch, and fried starch. Yesterday I had some pasta with a small amount of tomato paste as a sauce, a few pieces of meat, a piece of mandioca (which is a yucca root just like a potato), and a side of bread. They are really big on bread at all the meals, because it´s cheap. Of course, you can´t drink water or soda with a meal. If your meal is hot - you can´t drink a cold drink along with it. So i have to wait until after I finish before I get to wash everything down.

After lunch I go back to school from 1 pm to 5pm to learn technical training from my Peace Corps trainer. So far we´ve planted a few gardens, played with some bee hives, and visited a volunteer (which is where I believe to have gotten my pique!).

After school at 5, I walk home and either terrere with my family again, go on a walk with other volunteers, wash my clothes by hand, or study my guarani. We have dinner at 8-8:30 which is usually smaller, but still consists of bread, starch, and fried bread.

After dinner which ends at about 9, I ususally go to my room and get ready for bed. Most Paraguayans go to bed around 9-9:30 since they get up anywhere from 3:30-5. So that business about eating dinner 2 hours before you go to bed doesn´t apply here. Usually I get ready for bed by using the bathroom (cause I can´t go out after 11 pm, cause they lock the door and I´d have to wake someone up) and reading a good book in order to deflate a little.

That has been my work day. I go to school Monday - Friday and half a day on Saturday. Sundays I usually go to the nearest small town of Ita and use the internet cafe. Wednesdays I get to take the bust to another small town of Guarambre and have class all day here with the other 40 volunteers. They are broken up into 4 groups:

Crop Extension (me)
Environmental Education

There are 3 waves of volunteers, and we are the last group of the year. There are a lot of health and municipal volunteers here as well. About 160 of us at a time.

So that is my typical day. Of course I´m learning loads of stuff, working on my Spanish and Guarani, and finding tarantulas on my chest like Peter Brady when he went to Hawaii.

Okay, so maybe not on my chest. But there are tarantulas here, and moths the size of birds, and horn nosed beetles that will hopefully not get into my mosquito net. But then again, it´s not summer yet and it´s already 90 degrees! Summer hits in December right when I turn the big 3-Oh and find myself a full blown volunteer out in the campo (country) in the middle of nowhere, by MYSELF with only my Guarani to defend me! Yikes!
WI-HOO!!! I can DO this! I AM Survivorman!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by locomocos

A word about Piques...

Piques are a pain in my....foot.

They are a little bug that burrows into your foot and lay eggs. It feels like you're walking on a tiny pebble, and it's annoying as hell - and everyone gets them. I tried so hard to only wear tennys and never wear flip flops. I was so scared to touch the ground with my naked foot - for fear of piques.

Last weekend I went to visit a Peace Corps volunteer who lives 2 hours north of Caaguazu in the campo (country) and touched her floor barefoot only twice. Both times to get up to turn her light off before I went to bed. 2ce. And BAM. I got 2 piques. One on each foot. The medical officer will be in the office today, so I'll get her to take them out for me. I will watch how she does it, so I will be able to do it myself from now it. It's just like removing a splinter - so i've heard. Most of my fellow trainees have had one by this time.

Although you remember that story about the girl who was babysitting and thought she had a zit - but it was actually a spider bite that laid eggs and while she was taking a shower the babies burst out of her face? I think that actually happens with pique. But not on your face. One of my fellow trainees let her pique go - and it ended up "bursting". Gross me out.

So after this precious moment on the compu - i'm waiting in line for the doctor. Ugh.

Plus while at the volunteer's site, I was constantly teased about my name. In Spanish, the word "casi" means "almost". So after the tireless jokes (yes - the native people never tired of joking about my name, weight, and my age) I have decided to go by Elizabeth when I become a volunteer. I think it will be alot easier than trying to explain than in English, "casi" isn't a word.

Suerte a mi.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Email

Due to a plethora (pleh -thor - ah, like Gabriel, my #1 friend on Trekkies) of emails to my dr.teeth account, i can´t get into my account to clean up the messages sent within 1 week. SO PLEASE - no crap emails anymore. I had to create an entire new account and now I don´t have anyones email addresses.

So PLEASE send me your home addresses (for postcards) and email addresses (by sending it in a quick email) so i can create my new address book. I´ll try to clean up the other account, but at this point - I can´t even login.

email me at

Once again - no large or junk emails. I beg you. I can only check my email and update my blog about once a week, and I´m paying an arm and a leg at this internet cafe. Be kind. Re-no more.

I am having a good time, but today was the first day i started feeling some homesickness. i was crazy excited to check my emails - but to no avail. Thanks for posting hellos for me on this blog. i almost started crying! Unfortunately I don´t have much time left to post anything good - but I Have bought postcards for anyone who sends me their address!!! Yeah!!!

I washed all my clothes yesterday. it took about 3 hours and my knuckles are rubbed raw. That´s right, raw. Meaning I put my clothes in a bucket of water, and started rubbing them together with some soap to get all the dirt out. After my family situated their chairs around me (I have become their new favorite comedy program) they gave me a scrubby brush (after 2 hours of scrubbing) which aliviated some of the loving blood i was putting into the soapy water. hooray! Of course, at about 8:30 pm, right before we were leaving for a sugar cane fiesta in town, it started raining and my clothes were soaked! not to mention the roads became flooded. No fiesta for me. :(

Saturday after training, we all got together with most of the kids in town, and played soccer, frizbee and pique volley - which is a game like volley ball, except you can´t use your hands! The kids down here are CRAZY good at it! Only feet, heads, a volley ball net, and a soccer ball! Loco!

I´m going to Ascuncion this next week for a meeting at the main PC office. I hope to buy a camera and a flash card to upload photos onto a computer without having to load a program. I think I can do it with a usb type adapter, right?

Well, once again, please email me at my new address at to talk to me. I miss everyone so much and need your home and email addresses again!