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!!!


S E E Quine said...

` You are Survivorman! I don't know who that is, but you can be... ah... him.
` Good to know there aren't any more foot-bugs yet. Tierrerrereererer whatever it's called sounds really good.
` I just put up a website yesterday, BTW, which has my entire exotic cruise story/photos - I'm sorry, but in my opinion, it's not really a vacation without mosquito netting, outhouses, and having to learn foreign languages.
` Also, I took my kitties outside yesterday to play in the grass and bushes. It was sunny, warm, and probably the only day like that I'll see until May or so. Would you like some of our cold rain?

Mom said...

Great post. I have been so curious to hear about your days. Keep up the cultural lessons on your blog. Miss you and love you.

Anonymous said...

I miss you like crazy. Denver is no fun at all with out my Cassie in it. : ( But it's amazing to see you doing all this. Your experiencing the world in ways that most never will even dream of in this country. Anyway, you already know that.

love josh

Paul said...

You're better than Survivorman, you're survivorWOman!

I'm working hard on finding a job so I can save money and go see how you live.

I can't believe you've already been there a month!

Dad said...

You're the woman!

vivavavoom said...

So cool to hear about your day. Mate, huh? That stuff is very potent and a sexual tonic.
It is amazing how much we take for granted here. Denver misses you. Keep up the updates! Do you have an email acct and address that works?

Con mucho carino,
Michelle and Ted

caffeinator_x said...

Very cool post - you seem really settled in.

SO weird... I have a co-worker who made / was drinking her tea through one of those yerba mate straws just the other day...

Maybe it's too soon, but I'd love to see a post about what your expectations were, vs. the reality of actually being there, doing it, etc...

Ed said...

You go girl. And by the way what are you "almost". I have known you for years and you don't do anything "almost".

Keep up the good work of saving the world. And by the way, any info on getting me kept. I have the martini glasses chilling and waiting to come down!


Anonymous said...

Heyyas! Just wanted to say hi! Coming to mom's and trying to do everything is a bit tense, things are going good, had a wisdom tooth taken out today, still in a little pain. I'm writing a diary of what's been going on with me for you when you come home. Love and miss you.


S E E Quine said...

` Happy Halloween! Tell us if there's anything Halloween-like in Paraguay! (BTW, I'm being killed by it horribly!)