Moving Through Training

by Devo

I’ve now spent two separate weeks visiting distinct volunteers in their sites. The week of June 18, Candace and I visited Steph in her community of Yaguarón, Paraguari, Paraguay, and the first week of July I went with my language class to visit Liza in Nueva Italia, Central, Paraguay.

Candace and I had a blast, and Steph was an amazing hostess. A stray dog followed us all the way up the famous hill in Yaguarón, we shared tereré with some men at the Municipalidad, we got a lesson in Paraguayan infidelity from Steph’s class of high schoolers, and I saved TWO cats. The first one was stuck in a tree for a few hours – the sobbing little girl told us that the dog had chased it up there. I climbed the tree all fireman-style and pulled the scratching and clawing cat down to safety. The second rescue was less exciting, as the dumb (dumb in a loving way) cat had gotten itself trapped underneath the dresser, which I simply lifted.

At the top of the hill in Yaguarón, with our friendly companion who followed us all the way up

I had a great time and learned a lot in Nueva Italia with Liza. We made some friends at her business plan class and the youth group. A group of women from an asentamiento (like a government housing settlement) taught us to make chipa, chipa guazu, and sopa paraguaya. We actually just watched them as they threw in the ingredients and stirred the batter with their fists to make the delicious greasy dishes. We did knead the chipa a bit and form it into shapes before putting it into the oven. I had a little fun and made the chipa in the form of a pretzel, a braided loaf of challah, and even a snowman! Unfortunately I did not have my camera on me in Nueva Italia, so I had to save the head of the snowman to remember the experience (of course I ate the rest and it was delicious).

Chipa snowman head from Nueva Italia

I still love my host family, and they are all bromistas and farristas (jokers and partiers). It’s been cold here, and yesterday when I came home from classes, my mom surprised me with a warm winter hat! She also bought the same hat for Franko (age 8), so we can match all the time. Too cute.

Matching hats! Thanks Mamá

Training is chugging along and I’m starting to learn more and more Guaraní. I will find out my site placement next Wednesday. That’s right – I’ll know where I’ll be living for the next two years next week. Mamá’s only worried that I’ll be close enough so that I can come visit on my birthday for three, no four, days of partying with the family.

The bromistas and farristas at Mamá’s birthday party