I had my site placement interview this morning. We were asked to give 3 things we needed to be a happy/effective volunteer and here are mine:
- A strong sense of community wherever I’m placed. I don’t want to be in a place where no one knows each other like in a huge city. I feel safer and I think it will be easier to integrate if I’m in a place where everyone knows each other and your neighbors like you and know who you are.
- VEGETABLES. I don’t think I can live for 2 years with only onions and vitamin supplements and pasta and beans and rice and meat and lots and lots of fried foods. I need my vegetables to feel healthy and happy. This may mean having to plant my own garden wherever I’m placed but we’ll see. The good news is that the soil here is really great so that should even out my inexperience.
- Transportation in and out of site. I want to be able to get out if I need to take a “sanity” day away from site.
My APCD said she has 3 sites in mind for me that she thinks will make me happy. Hmmm. Thank goodness I only have to wait until Tuesday to find out where.
Funny things that have happened recently:
– I brushed my teeth with hydrocortisone cream the other week when I was in a room with bad lighting. My thought process: this toothpaste tastes disgusting! à I wonder if the heat made it taste like this? à wait, it kind of tastes like chemicals… à UGHHHH I’M BRUSHING MY TEETH WITH HYDROCORTISONE CREAM!!!! à Is this poisonous? à I’m way too tired to worry about that tonight. à UUUUGHHHH.
– A conversation between me and an older lady (Jonathan’s great-aunt):
- ME: So I’m teaching a lesson tomorrow about the book Where the Wild Things Are (in Spanish Donde Viven los Monstruos – literally where the monsters live)
- HER: Oh! Monsters. Those live in the countryside here.
- ME: Oh really?
- HER: Yeah. They are really scary and they eat bugs and Christians.
At this point I was just trying to keep a straight face and Jonathan had to take a moment to compose himself.
– Conversation with my host family at my site visit / field trip in Limpio:
- GIRL: So why are you here? (valid question)
- ME: I’m here with the Peace Corps as a volunteer to work in a Paraguayan community.
- GIRL: So what is the difference between the Peace Corps and Mormons?
- ME: *describes the PC and how it’s completely apolitical and not affiliated with religion
- GIRL: Oh, so the Japanese government sent you here?
- ME: …
OK and this is a really scary conversation I had the other day with my neighbor. She was talking to us about a test she had heard about that husbands could make their wives take to see if they had been unfaithful. I asked her if it was like DNA testing after rape incidents and tried to tell her that wives wouldn’t have to take one if they didn’t want to. Anyways, conversation somehow got to the topic of rape and this poor lady (who is around 40 years old) has thought her entire life that RAPE is only RAPE if it happens to a virgin!
Stuff like this just floors me sometimes. Girls and women here need to know about their rights, about their bodies. I’m hoping to start a girls’ club at some point during service.
Goals for this weekend:
- Climb a tree
- Ride a horse
- Run with Rosa
- Help out a neighbor with field work and/or house constructing
- Make and eat some guacamole
- Drink some tereré with my host family
- Do some dancing
Also I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all of you who have sent me emails, facebook messages, called me, sent me packages, and had skype dates with me. YOU ARE THE BEST and each one of those things really do make me a happier person here who is able to focus on my work and not missing home most of the time. Thank you!