It´s nice to know that there are people out there actually reading my blog and waiting for the next entry! It gives me more motivation to write.
Today was our (Peace Corps trainees) third Dia de Practica. Courtney and I went to a lower income part of Guarambare called San Miguel to talk with people and learn more about their living situation. First we went to an asentamiento, which is a land that usually one person buys from the government or from a landowner for usually cheap, and then sells or apparently sometimes gives, several lots on the land to lower-income populations. They therefore become squatters on this land that they are given or that they buy with the central Parguayan government promise that the Ministry of Housing will build a house for free on their property. One family has been waiting a year for their house to be built and another family two years. Unfortunately for those with next to nothing, they have to build houses out of bamboo, sticks and plastic bags. Others are lucky enough to have brick.
The Dias de Practica are so frustrating because we are supposed to present a talk or facilitate some sort of awareness building about a need that the community we assess has. Courtney and I first learned about cobblestoning a dirt road, which we could not facilitate or help with b-c the leader of the project only asked us for money, and the second dia de practica we went to the city hall to learn about their department of culture. We hoped to help plan a festival for the beginning of August, but there is still not enough funding for the project.
It is hard to build sufficient relationships with people so that they feel comfortable with us coming to them to present new information or to somehow facilitate a session. We will keep sludging through and I will try to follow Courtney´s lead on enthusiasm. In exchange, I´ll translate into Spanish questions she has and supply her with John Legend tunes she left in the States.
The reason for the dias del practica is to prepare us for what our first few months in site will be like: we will be wandering around town probably looking for and asking about the needs the community has and where we can be of assistance. Unstructured and frustrating, but if you can do it, it says a lot about your initiative, patience and flexibility. When everyone else throws their hands up in the air helplessly, you keep moving forward with the awareness to address issues objectively and sensitively. Easier said than done.
Much love, and for those that sent letters, it made my WEEK! The photos are hanging prominently in my room and I am super proud of how good-looking my family is.