Thursday, December 16, 2010

...Picture Pages

So if your remember that big pilgrimage from last year, to see the Virgin of Caacupe, I did it again this year...twice. It was...intense.
First, 80k from my site, Coronel Oviedo, on bikes with Melissa, Kristin, and the Barandas. Twice as long as we expected, and when we got there everything was closed. But, it´s the journey, not the destination, blah blah blah. So it was good.

Then, 2 days later, with my Couchsurfer, Alé and 2 other volunteers, Shavonda and Lindsay, walking from 20k away. Everything went well until it was time to leave, and many of the problems with Paraguayan society were suddenly evident. Disorganization, lack of information, misinformation, the inability of anyone to admit when they don´t know something which then leads to lying, treating people like livestock on the buses, etc. It was a clusterf@ck. But, finally made it home at 6:30am and slept all the next day.

Then, it was time again for a new group to swear in, so of course we had a concert.

We had the End of the Year Close Out Celebration for Kavichu´i, my community center, with all of the appropriate adorable kids dancing, singing, a Christmas play, etc.

2 days later, I, with the help of Kristin and Domi, other volunteers close to here, held a Mini-Health Camp, teaching 130 kids how to wash their hands and brush their teeth. It went fairly well, considering the glitter fights, dozens of kids at a time stuck on me like leeches, and then the riot-level havoc that ensued when we tried to give out toothbrushes. Like every other project here, it doesn´t go exactly how you plan it, but goes well, all the same (but we did find blue glitter on Melissa a week later and she wasn´t even there).

And my contact Alicia is getting married, so at my NGO, they made her a toilet paper dress, gave her embarrassing joke gifts, then dumped raw eggs and wet yerba all over her. Good times.

Then another couchsurfer, Jordan, also cool (I have great luck with couchsurfers)

And we´ll end with the random photo collection:
On a bus, note both the "Drugs are bad" sticker and the "Acid" smileyface sticker
Creepiest Memorial Picture ever (found in another volunteer´s amazing borrowed house)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Picture Pages...

You may have noticed the blogs have been spacing out more, but I´m busy doing the stuff for these pics, lo qué es.

Thanksgiving was fun.

I hate to be so stereotypical, but there was a lot of this, music circles, peace corps hippy shit.

I found a new happy place.
I had a Couchsurfing couple stay with me for a few days (Ale from Argentina and Albano from Uruguay) who were really fun.
We continue our monthly English Lunches, always a good time (for those who speak english as a first language and a mild form of torture for those who don´t, made worth it only by the fact that there´s food)

We finished the World Map Project map at the Coop School (only took almost the whole school year) with the 8th graders, and they gave me a big despedidia with traditional dances and songs played on recorders and sung badly. It was awesome!

We spent Halloween at Liz´s site. I was my neighbor, Mariposa (Butterfly) who is quite a character and who I figured deserved to be immortalized in costume.

Meli, Liz and Me on the old train in San Salvadore


Chuchi - this is probably my new most popular word. It means snobby or fancy, but is used in the Peace Corps as anything nicer than dirt roads and shacks, or for a person, anyone who showers with hot water. Living in the city, I am super chuchi for here.

Fuerte - literally means strong, but because the culture is based on talking around everything, it´s when a person says anything they want in a direct way - it means asshole

Puede ser and otro dia - literally means "could be" or "another day", but because noone will directly blow someone off, both of them mean "never" and are the answer to a question of when something will happen

Deseas, en tus sueños, Que Arriba Perra/o and Es lo qué es - these are the terrible translations of American sayings that are not used here and don´t really translate, but we say them anyway. Literally they mean "you wish", "in your dreams", "What´s up bitch/dog?" and "it is what it is"

Qué guapa - this means "what a hard worker" and is used by Paraguayans every time I do ANYTHING manual, including carrying a dish to the sink or sweeping out my room. I don´t think they have high expectations for Americans and work.

Saludos - sending saludos by way of a mutual friend is how people tell each other they have a crush on them. The most serious kinds are given with a pinch on the arm and they mean business.

Thumbs up - this is done everywhere here and is a simple answer to pretty much any question. I will probably have carpal tunel in my thumbs when I leave here because I do this so much.

No se como comer esta - this is how one refuses food in Paraguay. Literally, it´s "I don´t know how to eat this" which creates an internal struggle for me each time it´s said because I want to be a smartass and explain that, just like any other food, you put in in your mouth and chew, but I don´t think that´s acceptable here.

No Más and Un poco - this is said after almost every phrase for no real reason other than to make everything sound like it´s not a big deal, even when it really is. Literally, it´s "No More" and "A Little", so the translations are something like "Sit down no more", "Come here a little", and "Do you want dinner no more?"

Cocido - this is a hot drink mixed by carmellizing sugar with a little yerba, adding just enough water to wet it, and then adding more sugar. It´s served by the thermos-full just before bed.

Mosto - this is to sugar what crack is to cocaine. It´s a "tradional" drink capable of putting even the sweetest tooth into a diabetic coma, and is served continuously at fun gatherings like funerals.

Ch-ch-ch-ch - this is the sound Paraguayans make to get each others´attention - like "Psst" . It´s especially used for catcalling, and they have nothing to follow it with - they just want you to look.