Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm So EXCITED about Development Work!!!

So just a little blurb about what I´ve been up to lately. I´m currently working with my womens group on a 'project'. Most people know that this word means 'free stuff from grants' so everyone is really excited. I´ve decided that my community needs some heavy duty health solutions. Of course, so does every other community, but my community has some experience in working with a specific grant company, so we're gonna give it a whirl.

My 'project' is Healthy Kitchens. Most women cook on a dirty old fogón, dirt floor, pig/chicken pens next to the hook where the meat hangs for a week. So my idea is to get a grant that will give us concrete floors, screened in window, cabinets and an indoor sink. My community has running water, but most just have 1 spicket outside somewhere. Along with this grant, i will be giving informational talks, and we will be building trash pits, compost piles, and a drain pit (in landscaping, it would be a sunken drain - covered hole filled with rock to slowly seep the used water back into the landscape). This will take care of mosquitos, rats, and snakes that frequent the average Paraguayan trash pile out back.
Right now we are in the designing stage and it´s going pretty slow. I´m trying to let the women drive the project and just interveen when necessary. My next design meeting will be on budgeting. We tried a little of this last week, and only a few people actually participated while the rest just sat and stared. It´s hard getting people to come out of their shells.

I´m also starting a radio show in my county of La Pastora. I will be going into the COOP on Wednesday with my closest neighboring volunteers to set something up with the intendente. I´m really excited. Maybe we can figure out how to tape a show and I can post wav files or video of us talking in Guarani. I´m pretty sure all the Paraguayans will laugh their butts off.
A side note is that I´ve finally gotten a spanish tutor, so maybe I'll finally be able to talk to people who live in the rest of South America.

I´m starting a cooking class with one of my other womens committes. Our first attempt at homemade bread didn´t quite go as well as I had hoped, but we're easing into it. The soap making has been going well too. I think I may just start my own company when I get back to the states.....

Big news on the personal front is that I'm training for my first official 5k run. My friend Kristin is my trainer and I´m really excited. I realize I've been a little stressed out in site (with my project and being eaten to death by all things bug). But as Elle from Legally Blonde says, 'Exercise causes endorfins, endorfins make people happy. Happy people just don´t kill their husbands.' Not that i am in danger of killing anyones husband, but maybe a random mitai'i throwing rocks at my house. So i figure I´d better start exercising more. My race is March 22, so wish me luck.

Nothing else to report. I still love hearing from all of you. I miss you and the countdown is started. I get out in December and it´s already March! Time is FLYING!!!!