Monday, August 15, 2011

KUAT Are You Talking About?

Peace Corps Paraguay has a newsletter that they send out every time a new group swears in and an old one swears out (so, three times a year). It's called the Kuatia Ñe´e, which is Guaraní for The Paper that Talks. We call it the Kuat, and this is my despedida (going-away) section questionairre:

Name: Angelíc Fink
Sector: Rural Economic Development (that was neither rural
nor very economic, but there was a lot of development going
Site/ What your site is known for: Coronel Oviedo— they tried
to keep it on the down‐low but the word’s out about our
amazing terminal
Nickname in site and/or what you are known for in site:
Angélica, la Alta Americana que siempre anda en bici,
Favorite bus line: Any bus I want, I’m sure you’ve heard of our awesome terminal, every bus who’s any bus goes through it
Best piropo given or received: "Ah, vos sos Cuerpo de Paz, eh?
Cúando podés venir a mi casa para un poco intercambio cultural? ("Oh, you´re Peace Corps, huh? When can you come over to my house for a little intercultural exchange?")
Favorite Paraguayan phrase: Haikue!
I never thought I would: There’s not much I never thought I’d do, and I’m proud to say I’ve now done it
What I will miss most: My super calidad Paraguayan peeps
What I am leaving behind: Hopefully, Paul Bunyan sized legends (She was 3 meters tall, and boy could she give a charla!)
Most embarrassing moment in service: Having a 96‐year‐old lady on the street feel up and down my calf, red‐faced bawling,
and saying "Iporá, iporá!" while I stand awkwardly and my friend takes pictures
Best poop story: Well, it’s not a story so much as a rough month where I found out I’d done it way after the fact several
times. Where I come from we call that sharting, but I´ve never asked how to say that in Guarani
Describe your language situation: They tell me I speak Spanish perfectly, but I’d never know it if I don’t
Favorite yerba brand: Kurupí when I need a little extra kick,Teragui naranja when I’m just kickin’ it
Any cool skills learned in Paraguay? Make my own mead, grow my own food, talk around a subject for ten minutes without actually saying what I want
Favorite Brad quote: "Wow! That t‐shirt fits you perfectly!" (as he innocently runs his hands across my tits)
What does Elmer mean? I have no idea! I’m not even sure we’re having the same conversation ... And why is he so angry?
Favorite PC moment: When my favorite English student learned to apply "What a whore you are" correctly in conversation. I tear up just thinking about it, I{m so proud.
Greatest accomplishment: Having a jóven tell me the camp I’d busted my butt over for months was the best 3 days of all his
19 years
What was your 4th goal? Be coordinator, and oh, look!
If PC based their motto on your service, what would it be?
Either, "Peace Corps ‐ there is nothing better for destroying your ego and building your self‐esteem" OR "Peace Corps ‐ no querés desarrollar un poco?" )Don´t you want to develop a little?
Advice for future Gs: Stick it out ‘til the end – you’ll be amazed what you’re capable of
Future plans? Start a sustainable school in South America
What will you use the readjustment allowance for? Traveling! I’m rich, I tell you! And I’m never going back!
First thing I will do and/or eat when I am back in the US: Indian food and hours around the kitchen table, passing the bot‐
tle and catching up, and then leave again in a month
G‐30 says about AngelÍc:  Angelíc said two things at staging that I now know say a whole lot about her. 1. She paid off
crazy amount of loans just to join PC, which says she is extremely hardworking, devoted, disciplined, and determined. 2.When asked how we all were feeling when about to leave for the airport and everyone gave regular responses she says, “I’m
f-ing stoked”, which says she rocks!...a goddess…quite possibly the
coolest girl I’ve ever met…: Allergic to wheat, but I heard she
cured it with some silent treatment…. Good luck as coordinator, you´re a great friend.., Awesome lady! The new CEDers are lucky to have you as their coordinator… high energy, I wanna bottle it and take a hit (every other day, so as to not OD)…tall,enthusiastic, deep, friendly

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July, 2011

July, my last month in site, my last month as a regular Peace Corps volunteer, was full of ups and downs.

So first there was the 4th of July party at the Embassy... Look how fun these people are. And I get to be their Coordinator!

By mid-month we´re still going strong and we have the Re-connect camp for the youth that went to the first camp in January (see January blog if you don´t know what I´m talking about). My kids Lucero and Fabio presented the Comedor project (See June blog) in the Project Fair. There were lots of games, of course, and they made plans to start a national youth volunteer and leadership organization.

Then shit gets real and all the sudden it´s the last time that I´m doing everything I´m doing. My last Tuesday, my community center Kavichu´i threw me a going-away party. And the thing about Paraguayans is that they cry at emotional times, and how am I supposed to resist that? So I don´t.

Since I´m on a roll, I go straight from there to my last English class where we bake a cake (in English), give certificates, and I have to say goodbye to my very best Paraguayan friends, the Barandas.

And the last day of July, when I´m at my family´s house for Sunday lunch for the last time, my Abuela (grandma) starts talking about how much she loves me, and starts crying, and my mamá had heard her from the kitchen and peeks her head out, crying also, and my sister Ninfa sees this and starts crying, too, and then me and my cousin Liliana go down, and we´re all crying together, and laughing about it.

And the next day I move to Asunción. Stay tuned for August.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June, 2011

So, for those of you who aren´t keeping track, my 2 year anniversary here in Paraguay was at the end of May and my normal service is done in August. I´m staying an extra year as a Volunteer Coordinator, which means I´ll be moving to Asunción, the capital, and work in the office. Here´s how I spent the month of June:

It´s amazing what you can get away with putting in the window of an upscale mall when people don´t speak English. Invierno means winter, and in Paraguay, that means no heat and in my case, no hot water. I spent a good chunk of time in the following: 2 pairs of socks, boots, longjohns, jeans, 4-5 shirts, coat, hat, mittens, scarf (and that was just to sleep). But luckily the cold comes and goes, so good stuff happened between those cold snaps.

I turned 31 on the 19th, so I got myself a little tattoo. It´s a delta for Change and an Infinity, so the idea is Always growing, changing, developing, changing lives forever, this too shall pass, impermanence, etc.

And there was a lot of hanging out in general, taking advantage of my last bit of time with Oviedo friends.

And then there were the Couchsurfers coming through that are always fun.

And we all said goodbye to Jenna, who left a little early before heading to Korea.

But in all this fun, I actually did do some work. The group that I will be Coordinating for was in training, so I helped with that...

And my youth and I were finishing up our project to help a Comedor in need (which is like a soup kitchen for street kids). We got them donations of furniture and food.

So that was June. Stay tuned for July!


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.