Here are some of the other volunteers. Here we are at a San Juanazo. This was at the beginnig so we were al about to fall asleep. I´ll have more pictures later.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Recientemente fuimos a un San Juanzao. Un San Juanazo es una celebracion catolica del muerto (o nacimiento, parece que nadie sabe) del San Juan. Aqui hacen una fiesta grande, pero el problema (para mi) es que parace que los caracteristicas de la fiesta no tiene nada que ver con catolocismo. Bueno, para aprender mas de la cultura de paraguay, unos voluntarios e yo decidimos irnos a la festival. Otra voluntaria e yo somos de asendencia Afro--Americana. Si te acuerdas de la historia de morenos en EEUU las fotos que aparecen abajo, debe de explicar nuestor temor, y la incomodad tremenda que sentiamos estando en est lugar.
June 28, 2008.
Today we went to town of Nueva Italia. We went to visit the Municipality there and meet the town mayor. The best way to explain the set up of a Municipality here in Paraguay can be explained as: The Mayor holds basically all the power. The only check on the mayor’s power is the Junta that has to approve all of his work. However, the Junta cannot create any type of project. Their only role is to approve the Mayor’s proposals or reject his proposals. The Junta is usually split between the two national political parties. They junta also usually reflects the political party of the town in which it resides. If the town is split between the two parties, the junta will be split to reflect the representation of the town.
Well today, we went to the Municipality in Nueva Italia. We had the opportunity to listen observe the Junta in session and listen to them discuss the issues of their town. After that, we were allowed to review all of the requests (pedidos) for funds of projects. The way it works, if you want to money for a project you have to gather support by creating a neighborhood commission (comsion vecinal) and formally present all of the details of your project and then you can request the money. There are hundreds of neighborhood commissions and there is never enough money to go around. So today 6 of us reviewed all of the pedidos and we decided which ones would be approved. It was interesting to see what the people were requesting. The sad thing was that rarely anyone request money for capital expenses. All of the money was for immediate benefit or consumption. For example, no one requested money for a tractor in order to be able to farm a piece of land for the next 10 years. Instead, people were request money to pay for a man to come and spray their crops. These kind of projects we didn’t approve. Why? Because next year, they are gonna be looking for this money again. They type of projects we wanted were ones, that might have brought a guy in to teach that area different ways to protect their crops from pests, or teach them how to spray their own crops. Either of these aforementioned ideas would help the group to be better prepared and more independent from help from the outside. It was an interesting day. We learned a lot and I think, our work will be very similar to this when we go out to our sites. Another job we might do at our sites, would be to go out to these specific communities who are requesting money and help teach them on how to prepare and better pedido (request) in order to help them get the funding approved, by helping them to understand that sustainability and independence will help the municipality be more likely to approve their request. The way things are set up now, the people continue to deal with the same problems year after year (like pests eating up all their crops) and the only way they solve it is waiting for the municipality to come and give them some money to spray their crops. On too many occasions there crop harvest is little or nothing because they wait for someone to come and do it for them.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Korean barbecue is great! When I went to visit my host volunteer in Aregua, we came into Asuncion to have Korean barbecue. It’s even better when shared among friends. So what could make it better? When you get to cook it yourself at your table. Many people have probably visited a restaurant of this type in the states. It’s not a new thing, but for me it is. I get the feeling that the restaurant is really good, because many Koreans frequent the restaurant. My feeling was confirmed when I tasted the food. CALICIOUS!!!! (Delicious x 100= Calicious)
Upon arriving in Paraguay I realized that my phone did not work here. I also knew that the Peace Corps is going to provide us with phones once we go out to our sites in August. On top of that, I remembered why I got cell phone. I originally got it because Karla went to OU when I went to OSU. When Karla came back to OSU they had changed the phone service whereby was required to choose and pay for a long distance phone plan, no longer could one just have local service in Stillwater. For this reason, I kept my cell phone. If the peace corps is going to give us phones, then I don’t need mine. If I want a cell phone when I come back to the US I will be able to get a free phone when signing the phone contract This was my thinking. Continuing with more background info, here in Paraguay one may get robbed for their cell phone. This is very common because cell phone use, text messages and things of that nature are relatively new and everyone wants to try and get one. For this reason cell phone are really popular and frequently stolen. One night when talking to my family they were explaining to me all the things that we need to be leery of when in the capital city of Asuncion. We have a maid that works here at the house with my host family. She practically lives here and goes home on Saturday afternoons and comes back again on Monday. While telling me this, my host dad mentioned to me that Gladys (the maid) had been robbed a few months back and had her cell phone stolen.
This is where the story begins. One day I gave me cell phone to Gladys. I told her that I didn’t think it would work, but if she could get the phone “unblocked” and hooked up here she could have it. Three days later she goes to Asuncion and comes back chatting away to her friends and boyfriend on the phone. My host mom darn near threw a fit. While I was at school, the host mom bombarded her with questions about where and how she got the phone. My host mom didn’t believe Gladys when she told her that I had given her the phone. When I got home my host mom waited until Gladys was gone to the store and she asked me a number of times if I had given her the phone. I told her “yes” and then my host mom assumed that Gladys had asked me for it. Then my host mom didn’t believe that Gladys had not asked me for the phone. So, I had to pull both my host mom and the maid together and clarify before both of them. “Señora, Gladys did not ask me for the phone. I gave it to her. Gladys, I didn’t tell the Señora that you asked me for the phone.” After that things were fine. But needless to say it caused a big mess, all because they are not accustomed to someone giving away something that they perceive as expensive. I can remember Brett Mardis giving me his old cell phone. But I guess here it’s just unheard of. On top of that, I think my host mom would have been embarrassed for her family, had the maid asked me for the phone. Anyway that is the Cell Phone Saga.
Does 37-50 degrees seem cold to you? Well here it is freezing, freezing to the bone. Why? Well here since all of the homes are made of stone or cement, and none of the houses have insulation you are basically sitting in 37-50 degrees all the time. I have to wear a coat all the time, even while inside the house. What´s even worse is that July is the worst. It will be getting colder. The good thing is that it does not get as cold as it does at home. Anyway, my big hat the Karla gave me for Christmas has really come in handy. See below.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
To get a good look at some of he buses here in Paraguay, take a look at the video here. I don´t know what they look like in other places, but I believe the buses (called colectivos here) are probably some of the most unique. Check them out)
Para ver los autobuses que cubren el pais de Paraguay vea el video. No se como comparan con los del otro paises del latino america pero supongo que los de aqui son muy distintos. Vea el video
Picture of an old train that ran through Aregua, years ago. Now it only runs a few times a month. Foto de un tren que iba desde Asuncion a Aregua hace años. Ahora viene unos veces al mes.
View of the lake at the bottom of the hill in Aregua (contaminated though). Vista del lago al fondo de la loma principal de Aregua. (pero una bella vista no más, el lago esta contaminado)
A cool church at the top of the hill. This church faces the lake with a nice few for the patio seen in this picture. Esta iglesia linda esta encima de la loma que mira hacia el lago abajo. Un vista de maravilla.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Bueno, no puedo indentificarme con los dificultades que un profesor se tiene que enfrentar en la clase, ni en una situacion universitaria ni una escuela con escasos recursos en la ciudad. Sin embargo les puedo contar un cuento muy lindo.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Para ustedes que han comido comida de la calle en Mexico, saben de las hamburguesas ricas que hay. Ayer en la noched comi uno que comparò con los de mexico. Esta tenia la carne, queso, jamon, ketchup, mostaza, lechuga, jitomate, mayo, sal, y tambien huevo duro. Riquisima fue! Vea las fotos.