Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Goin to Peru

So I´m in the airport at Lima waiting for my mom. I´ve been here about 5 hours and I ate 2 dunkin donuts, cheesy bread from papa john´s, doritos and a frappachino from Starbucks. I don´t need to visit the states any time soon. This place is magical. I should just hop back on a plane to Paraguay for another 9 months.

On a lighter note - I've uploaded some new photos on Flickr and have a little ditty to relate.

So this is just a hypothetical story, ok?

In training, there were many things we were taught about Paraguayan customs and culture. A big session we had was on Paraguayan social customs. For example, here it is acceptable and even supposed to be flattering if men hiss at women. It means they think they´re hot stuff. Another example is if a woman dances with a man too long at a fiesta, it means they are dating. If you leave your window open at night, it is an invitation for ANY man to come in and hop into your bed. And if you send a 'saludos' (by telling a friend or sending a text message that says saludos) to someone, and you recipricate it - it means you´ve accepted an advance from the solicitor. For example: Tell Jose I sent him 'saludos'. Jose sends 'saludos' back. I am now dating Jose.

Another big example is being alone with the opposite sex. Just don´t do it unless they are too young or too old.

This brings up many problems in my line of work. I am supposed to work with farmers. But all the farmers are men. I am a woman. One suggestion is that I take a little kid from the community with me. Another is to become friends with the farmer´s wife - and then it would be understood you were only there for sustainable development.

But what if one of your farmer´s didn´t have a wife, was older, and in no way a threat to you? Home free right?


So hypothetically, a female volunteer was in the field gathering tree seeds with an older Paraguayan farmer. By older, say in his 50s. No wife, no other chaperones. This has happened before, except this time the question comes up:

Innocent Farmer: What are you gonna do with all these tree seeds?

Hilariously Funny hypothetical female volunteer: I´m gonna grow these trees, become a carpenter and make furniture!

Innocent Farmer: Are you going to make cradles for babies?

Hilariously Funny Hypothetical female volunteer: Other peoples babies, but none for me.

Sassy Innocent Farmer: You´re not going to make babies instead?

*Important side note* Paraguayans constantly make dirty jokes. It´s part of the unspoken sexual tension throughout this country. I´m finally understanding the language a little better, and wonder what I have agreed to for the last 6 months. I´m also finally able to hold my own and be sassy right back. Sink or swim, people.

Hilariously funny hypothetical female volunteer: Are you kidding? I don´t want to MAKE babies. I just like practicing! Hahahahahahaha!!!!.

Not so innocent Farmer takes this as in Paraguayan culture dictates: This girl is making advances on me. I´m going to try and kiss her.

Not so funny hypothetica female volunteer: Whoaaaa!!! What the???? I gotta go.

On the way back to the house, awkward silence. What just happened? This guy is as old as my dad! I better come up with some chit chat quick.

Stressed out awkward hypothetical female volunteer: So are you going to the fiesta this weekend?

Confused Farmer: Yes. And you? We should dance at the fiesta.

Hypothetical Female Volunteer trying to run away fast: Yep! We'll dance the polka! See you later!

Now as the hypothetical female volunteer walks away, she realizes that by Paraguayan standards, the farmer did everything he was supposed to do. SHE came onto him. She also realized that by asking him if he was going to the fiesta, she just ASKED HIM OUT!!! Will her foot EVER come out of her MOUTH!!!!! HE is totally innocent and confused by the LOCA Americana!!! She did EVERYTHING she was ever taught NOT to do in training! Could she have MADE any more mistakes??? Other than just taking her top off - I don´t think it could've gotten any worse!

So her solution to this problem, to save her work relationship with her farmer and save a little face - she decides to hide in her house until she leaves for Peru.

The End.

Totally Hypothetical of course.