Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Running on a dirt road, dodging cows, prickly cactus

This afternoon I went running along the Trans-Chaco and ran with Humberto's little brothers and one of their neighbors along a dirt road out to a river where there are some really cool birds. Along the way we saw a huge herd of cows, a dog carcass and a really cool cactus with red fruit. Hugo passed through the wire fence to get some of the fruit for us to eat. He had to be careful though because there are soft little spines that are almost transparent, although you sure can feel them when they prick you! I took one from him and it definitely left spines in my fingers that I felt even as I was washing my hair in the shower.
After our run we drank terere underneath the Santa Rita vine in their front yard. It was already dark at that point. I let Hugo listen to my iPod; first he listened to "The Way I Are" by Timbaland, then "Mi Dulce Niña" by Kumbia Kings and the last, his choice, was "La Fuga" by Daddy Yankee. Even though he's only nine years old he knows all of the words! It's pretty impressive.
I get scared sometimes that I have adjusted too much to being here! It is frightening to think that I am really comfortable here, but at the same time really nice.
I have been feeling guilty for not doing more work lately, but it's hard to stop and go between working on my house and trying to create work for myself. Just watering my plants, washing my clothes, going to the hardware store to buy random things like a paint brush or lime to paint my walls, a sponge and dishwashing detergent for my dishes, takes up a boat load of time. Before I know it's lunch time and I just hope that someone will invite me to eat lunch. Luckily my friend's family is really good to me; even though he's not around they invite me to eat lunch. Today we had wild chicken that's only out in the Chaco with rice, cabbage salad, bread and grapefruit juice from grapefruits on the tree in their yard.
I tested my old stove today to see if it worked; turns out that only one of the burners lights. I still don't have a fridge so I have to go next door and get ice and put my yogurt and random items in there. So I'm not completely independent yet. Also, my neighbors can walk into my yard at any time because there's a gate in the fence separating our yards. It doesn't bother me much because they help me clean my yard a bit and they will hopefully help me plant things in the future. However, what with the little time that I have now, I doubt that I will be able to!
The weather is getting cooler--80s during the day and 70s at night. Not too shabby. The downside is that there has been a drought lately, which has been affecting a lot of crops. Luckily there is still plenty of food and there are no water warnings. Word on the street is that it will rain tomorrow. I've heard that before.
What is the deal with the porcine flu? I feel uninformed and it's frustrating! I just got a message from Peace Corps saying that there are no cases reported yet in Paraguay but that we should remain informed and let them know of any news.

These photos go from most recent to least recent. One of these days I will learn that I have to upload the photos in reverse order so they come out right chronologically. The two girls in front are from the newest group of volunteers, the three guys in the back are Paraguayans that we invited to a Peace Corps triple threat birthday party.
More of the same. Alberto, Humberto, I don't remember and Rebecca
Youth Congress in my town this past Saturday, April 25th in the Paraguayan military base. These were the cheerleaders to get us fired up. I did a little bit of dancin' with my friend Carlos. They made me nostalgic for TBDBITL.
Viceminister of Youth (of the Paraguayan government) who organized and led the event to form a group of volunteers in my department (aka state)
"Welcome! to the Departmental Congress- Change Makers(?)" Not sure how to translate impulsores but it's a cognate so you should understand.
Waiting in line at the registration table. It was all free.

In Service Training in Asuncion for the Municipal Services Development sector. April 1-3
March 30- Marzo Paraguayo to commemorate the injured and killed in a protest in Asuncion regardingthe assassination of vice president Argaña and corruption in the government in 1999. 10 year anniversary. I could be wrong on some of that information--my memory is a bit rusty. The youth in my site did a commemoration of the 1999 events. This is me with another Karen!

The road that my house is on. Shade from the mango trees.
Municipal Water Council Meeting, April 27, 2009.Everyone was following along as the head of the muni's environmental department read the statute, which states, among other things, that at least at the beginning the mayor must be the president of the council. The mayor is a nice guy but is busy with too many tasks, therefore the work of the Water Council to obtain official recognizance from the national government remains delayed. They have not started really working yet.

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