Thursday, November 22, 2007

San Antonio, La Pastora, Caaguazu

I found out my site assignment yesterday. I´m in a small town called La Pastora. It probably won´t show up on any map, but the two closest towns off the main highway are Caaguazu and Coronel Oviedo

I´m pretty excited and here are a few photos of the region.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I´m spending thanksgiving at the CHP which is our language and tech school. I´m spending it with my other fellow trainees, so I won´t be ALL alone this holiday. We are having rotissere chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, green beans, and I HEAR someone found cranberries. Not QUITE what I´m used to (no casserole, pumkin, or croatian potato salad) but I think I´ll make due! haha!

Don´t forget, the BIG 3-0h is coming up in a few days! I will have successfully made it through 3 months in Paraguay and turned 30. That´s right. 30. Everyone else here is turning 23-24. Yep. 30. So this year for 30, my body has given me giardia, more grey hairs and a werid bump on my neck. I´m also going to bed at 9 pm and not drinking anymore. Man, I´m an old woman.

Well - off to get fatter than usual! Happy Holiday!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ode To Longfield Practice

To Costa Lima and back I managed to go
For a Glimpse of the future I wanted to know

With high hopes in my head and a rumble in my gut
We drove over 5 hours stopping only for peanut (butter)

I arrived at my new lodging with purpose and steady course
When a man worthy of Joan Wilder galloped up on his horse

I started to sweat, my stomach flipped, and I got weak in the knees
The opposite direction I ran, for I now had the chivivis*

All morning I labored with my host mom and daughter
I did the best I could do, for I felt like bantha fodder

We toured a well managed farm and ate pure sugar cane
Along with a 100 year old house from whence Paraguayans came

My family slaughtered a pig, I ate his head - what a scene!
Not to mention the time I fell into their latrine!

Finally we gave a charla, and it became a big joke
Afterwards with food and drink, a fire we did poke

For one week I worked and spoke in complete Guarani
And in less than 1 month a true volunteer I will be.

*chivivi is the word for explosive diarreah in Guarani

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do you got a shirt that you really love?

One that you feel so groovy in?

Well, I was all excited to get custom clothes made for me, when after checking back again and again at the modista (seamstress), she finally told me in a round about way that they weren't done and I should come back later. Yikes. Guess I'll have to try a different approach....

So next week is my Longfield Practice, which is a week in the campo (country) speaking and working at an existing volunteer's site. I'm pretty excited cause right after I get back, I find out my site assignment.

After my return I have a whirlwind of stuff going on in training. I've got multiple presentations to give (in Guarani) and all kinds of preparation and last minute training to cram in. I'm swamped. No more beautiful waterfalls for me. Boo.

Other than that, I am on my way to try out a 'real' pizza place i've heard about. Supposedly it has french fries too. I don't think you know how much you really miss any of these things when you can't get them. They have pizza here, but it's usually a premade crust, stewed tomato and onions, and slices of ham and cheese. Not to mention no such thing as french fries.
It's the little things, people. The little things. Wish me luck. I hope i don't end up ordering the pizza with the pig cheek on it. I'm not kidding on this one. I've seen it, smelt it, and ate it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What a Day...

So this weekend I went on a tech excursion. My whole group gathered up in a van and drove out 2 hours east of Ita to a one year volunteer's site near Lo Comena (translated as The Hive). We arrived Friday afternoon and did some work in one of his obliging farmer's field. It was an impresive site up on a mountain surrounded by a valley and tons of forrest.

The host volunteer is super guapo. Guapo in mexican spanish means good looking. But here it is meant as hard working. The volunteer built his own 1 room house, made his own squat latrine and works about 1 hectacre of land. He rulz. For the night, I stayed with one of his neighbors. They put me up in a shanty created of a bunch of 1 x 4 s and a grass roof. I kept thinking some crazy monster of the campo was going to come get me, but fortunately there were just tons of moths. Since there was no light in my room, I got to lie on a mattress (luckily i brought my sleeping bag) and listen to some scary cemetary movie from the other house in spanish. Unfortunately I understood it, and was scared shitless. I kept hearing the weirdest of noises and I didn't bring my flashlight! All I had was a little light on my keychain that I ran the battery out as I stayed up all night trying to pinpoint where the chupacabra was hiding.

The next day we did some more work in the fields buiding A-Frame contour devices and marking swales in a sugarcane field. Next we ate some lunch, pushed our van out of the mud, and went on our way to here -

Salto Cristal Falls

It took us 30 min just to get there, because we had to CLIMB DOWN A ROCK WALL 100 FT. I'm not kidding. After the decent, we trekked up a fast moving river just to get to the falls. It was nuts. I was not a happy Cassie. UNTIL I beheld this sight. We jumped in and jumped off those rocks right next to the waterfall. It was amazing. I never really felt like I was in a totally different country until I started swimming in this lagoon at the base of a waterfall. It was nuts.

The ascent was not nuts. In fact, I did not like climbing up to get out after I had spent most of my energy getting down and swimming around a lagoon. Today, I am crazy sore, but glad I was able to go.

Next week, I will be finding out where my 2 year site will be. I'm really nervous. And a little scared.

Thanks to everyone who has been writing me. I will write a blog about intitial thoughts and realities like Caffx mentioned next week. I've been writing about in my journal so I'll bring it and take notes this week.

Until next time....