I was away from the Internet this week visiting my new home! I’ll be living in a small town called Itacurubi del Rosario. It’s a sleepy farming town and I like it a lot so far. I left Friday to visit and came back Wednesday. My contact there is a lady called Mirta. She is the English teacher here and the pedagogical coordinator at the school I’m assigned at.
I’m trying to make sure I stay diplomatic here – even deciding where to live is a little touchy. It’s like trying to keep your personal and professional lives separate but that’s impossible because the town is so small and I really have no personal life for two years – only a professional one.
I’m staying with the original host family I ended up with for now. Four other people wanted me to live with them so it was a little awkward but I like this family. The room I’ll have is small but it’s a loving family with two good parents (Carlos & Ramona) and the kids are nice. The one year old not Luis Mario calls me “caracol” (which means snail in Spanish) or “tia” because he can’t pronounce Nicole. The father is the “tecnico” or second in command for the administrative branch of the ministry of education in the area and the mom is a secretary at the school I’m assigned to. The girl is around 12 (she is in seventh grade) and is really sweet – she helped me make a map of the town the other day and color code it!
Their house is beyond comfortable. I have my own room, and they have a fridge, washer and dryer, TV and CABLE (I didn’t even have a TV in the states. Weird.). Not to mention electricity and water. They eat a lot healthier than most of the families in Paraguay that I’ve met. There are always fresh fruit, juice without any added sugar and I have yet to eat anything deep fried.
I met the greatest couple right outside of town. Their names are Eugenio and Ana and they own an organic farm in the town. They grow all kinds if vegetables and raise chickens and fish on their property too. They both are really active in the community trying to get other farmers to produce organically. Nothing on their farm goes to waste! They compost and even use the worm composting technique that I used to work with in college station! Their oldest son is at university studying agronomy now.
I spoke with Eugenio and he has worked with schools before teaching students about composting, recycling and trying to steer schools away from burning their trash which is what happens most here now. He didn’t have any success because he said the teachers were not cooperative and my principal was nit either but I hope he’ll give it another go with me there or at another school.
I also met the supervisor of grade school and middle school and she wants me to work with area teachers in workshops to share participatory techniques. She seems hardworking and I’m excited to work with me but nervous since I’m new to this and young compared to a lot of the teachers here.
Oh and you guys will never believe this – I started eating bananas again! I’ve eaten more in the last week than I have in 14 years probably and u dint mind them anymore and actually enjoy them. They grow everywhere here and are so cheap so it’s hard to resist.
And a birthday update: I’m 23 now! Yesterday was pretty awesome. I got to eat 3 different types of cake and we made pizza from scratch at my host family’s house to celebrate. Mmmm bbq chicken and caramelized onion pizza. Ashton here knows how to make crust from scratch (3.5 cups of flour with a dash of oil and pinch of salt and water until it feels right) and it was DELICIOUS! This really pumps me up for living on my own and be able to cook for myself again! So many people from training came and it made me happy. My host mom made a dulce de leche & peach cake and my friends Rose and Ashton made another chocolate/dulce de leche cake too! SO. MUCH. CAKE.
In sad news for the week, one of the girls from our group left yesterday to go back to the states… I think it was a shock for everyone and I know we’re going to miss her a ton. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve all bonded here I think and it’s hard to see someone go…
Things I learned this week:
– How to build a fruit dryer / beef jerky dryer.
– How to make glasses from old wine bottles using only wire and ice water and tape.
– How to crochet.
– That I have amazing friends here and at home.
– Federal government is on pause. Hein?
Things I want to learn:
– How to make preserves (fruit + veggies)
WE SWEAR IN NEXT FRIDAY AT THE US EMBASSY! Paraguay, here I come.