Saturday, June 21, 2008

Random stuff.

Hi everyone. We´re in an internet cafe near the school. I saved a posting to a thumb drive, but in the tradition of none of my technology working here, I couldn´t open it.

But while I have a computer at hand, I wanted to tell you guys about some of the aspects of Paraguayan life in an easily scannable format:

FOOD
I can't imagine I'm not getting fatter. It's all bread, sugar, meat, starch. Few vegetables are served, but the ones available are awesome, fresh and many organic. Maybe it's that I'm so much closer to the food source here, but I've been thinking a lot more about what I put in my body. I've never been closer to being a vegetarian. Meat just suddenly grosses me out. Maybe it´s because I have to gnaw it off the bone, avoiding large white giggly chunks.

There's lots of fruit, which few people seem interested in. So much of it just rots on the ground. I can't wait for avocado and mango season!

BATHING/El BANO
In my house in Aveiro, where I'm training, the shower has been both friend and foe. Here you buy a shower head that has a heater in it. The more water that comes out, the weaker the heater is. For the first few freezing days, I could not figure this thing out. I took some cold ones, with my breath steaming in the air.

Now I know to turn the knob until the bathroom light, a bulb hanging out of a hole in the wall, dims. The pressure is about that of a few toddlers peeing on your head. Then you get under and scrub fast. If the light bulb brightens, you'd better move, because here comes the freezing cold water. Then you turn it off and start again. It's tough when I have to wash my face. I open my eyes and it's like -- Was that how bright the lightbulb was? Did it undim??? So I was my face fast and hard, and have you ever gotten Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Soap up your nose?

The shower is just an area in the floor, no curtain unless you live with the rich folks. So after you've shiveringly put on your clothes, and their clinging to your body because you didn't really have time to dry off with your tiny camping towel, you have to squeegie the floor. You take this long-handled squeegie and pull all the water into the shower, then dry it off with a towel.

My house has a flushing toilet in the bathroom, as well as a beday (SP?). Those seem to be popular here. The toilet paper is kind of stretchy and off-white with swiss cheese holes and no perforations. Also, the septic systems can't handle the paper, so you have to put it in a trash can right next to the toilet.

THINGS
Things here are rough. Nails are yellow, short, rimmed by dirt. Shoes hang on to the soles, the fabric stripping away, until one day they break and the two parts are left in the field somewhere. Teeth are older, barely scraping by, or gone.

COMMUNICATION
Although my internet and phone use is super-limited right now, there is hope! When I become a volunteer, I get to use a cell phone, and it's pretty cheap to call from the states if you have Skype, so look into that. (Also: Everyone here just says "the states," so excuse me if I sound too cool for the pool.) And someone else told me that their parents have a Verizon landline with 3000 minutes for $10 a month, and that it includes great rates to Paraguay. And there's some other site where I can get free text messages.

WHAT PEOPLE DO
Kids fly kites, play futbol or volley ball. Families watch a lot of tv. (Check out the telenovela Marina) And I study, a lot. Fellow classmates of mine can attest that I was one of the laziest students to sneak through the public education system. But here, I`m at the table for hours almost every night, studying Spanish. And meanwhile, everyone around me speaks Guarani, so at times it feels worthless. But depending on my site, we´ll see how much I need of either.

We talk a lot with other volunteers who have trouble remembering english words. A group is about to leave in August, when we swear in. But to date I haven´t met anyone who wasn´t excited about the time they´ve spent here.

2 comments:

Janice said...

Hi Paulettski, I am so enjoying your blog. I check every day, and when there is something new I read it several times to make sure I can be a bit closer to you. I do hope the package I sent on 6/16 gets to you soon. Love, Aunt Janice

hdlsa said...

Heeeey.
Well im just saying thank you for doing this. im doing a project on Paraguay and its very helpful.
;]