Nicole’s bimonthly status-report:
Well, it’s a Saturday night and I’ve spent the past 24 hours in bed! I’m a social butterfly in Paraguay.
I actually have an excuse today though. I spent yesterday being nauseous/throwing up/feverish, the results of what seems to be a 24 hour stomach bug. Today I’m feeling better, but just still tired and gross from being sick yesterday. And my stomach is still unwilling to digest anything but crackers and some tea, so I’m going to stick to that for a few more days. Stomach-bug diet! I’m thinking I can start a new dieting trend when I get back to the states, combine it with the intestinal parasite diet, publish a book about those two and make millions. This is my 5-year-plan.
Stuff I’m doing:
Since I’ve had so much time on my hands, I figured it’s time to update my blog again.
Things here are starting to pick up. I’ve actually had to make a weekly schedule to keep track of what I’m doing every day and use my agenda for more than doodling. I’m starting a book club up in about a week and a half for kids in 1st-3rd grade throughout the district. I have some leveled reading materials from Peace Corps but no other materials yet (there is no public library here). I’m thinking about asking the municipality and some national newspapers for book and/or money donations to buy books with. The libraries at schools only have textbooks and other picture-less books that no 1-3 grade aged child will want to read on their free time.
I’m also starting English classes at the head school in town for 7th-9th graders this week. A little nervous about that since I have never really worked with middle schoolers before.
Then, on the 14th, the Pedagogical Supervisora (Intendent?) wants to do a workshop for Kindergarten-1st grade teachers in the area. On top of that, I’m working with 3 schools in the area. And another teacher at the parochial school has asked to work with me with making didactic materials for special needs students.
I’m feeling over-committed and over my head at this point.
More on death:
I went to two funerals in the past week. I had never been to a funeral before Paraguay, so when asked about how they are in the states, I couldn’t really give a well-informed answer! Here, the services were held the day after the death and families, friends and anyone else who could show up did. There was a short service and then at the end of it, six people helped carry the casket the 10-12 blocks down the road to the cemetery and everyone followed, singing or doing response-readings (I think that is what they are called, it’s been awhile since Catholic school). At the cemetery they nailed the casket shut and there was a lot of open-mourning wailing by close family members, a lot more open than what I picture it to be in the States. It was heartbreaking to be honest.
What is most different though, I think, is that funerals are not just for family members and close friends. It was not weird for me to be there although I had never met the people who were being buried. Funerals are a community event and grieving seems to be more open and communal than in the States.