Far from home, wilting in the subtropical heat, it is easy to forget today is Thanksgiving. Living here has only shown me I have many things for which to be thankful. For all the blessings I enjoy, I am most grateful for you guys- my friends and family. Love and support from home has steadied me through rocky days and made the good ones even better.
I know I have neglected my correspondence. I can only beg forgiveness and understanding. Thus for Thanksgiving, I am updating the vacant blog with excerpts from unsent letters from the last few months. You see, its not that I don’t write, circumstances just seems to keep me from getting letters in the mail.
Enjoy the turkey and gravy. Eat a piece of apple pie for me!!
“…. Being a rural health promoter is a lot like being a candidate for office- it is more important that the people like you and feel “connected” then what you actually say.”
“So what is going on with me lately? Work is good. I am almost done with the community census- that was a really big project- 33 home visits. The women’s group has 1 meeting a month and 2 fundraising activities. The soy milk machine project is floundering. I’m not really working in the school, but I did hustle so that they got anti- parasite pills and a Paraguayan doctor is coming to give a lecture on parasite.
That is where I stand work wise in Farina I see opportunities, but at the same time all of these projects require a lot of legwork to put together. Plus, day to day living could be a full time job here if you let it.
I have Paraguayans I love and trust, but so much of my life is inaccessible to them. Today fro example: As is my habit I was listening to the BBC world service and heard about the bridge collapse at the Shiite mosques. I am the only one who knows or cares about these events here. My average neighbor has a second grade education. Explaining international politics is lost on them. The rest of my life they just don’t get to see and it leaves me feeling alone.
I did shake the worst of this bad vibe on Sunday. In a dust storm, I went to the soccer game with 3 girlfriends, ages 17-21. Two have boyfriends so their mom asked me to chaperon. We made it into a big joke. They kept calling me mom in guarani and I called them my daughters. >>Che la sy ha ha’ekuera che membykuna<< I was fun to be goofy with people my own age. The rest of the time I conduct myself like a married woman to keep the men away.”
“We are the champions! The fellas of FarinaCue with their ugly, hot-rodding soccer won the inter community tournament. The prize- a young bull. Barbeque baby! Monday, yesterday, was reminiscent of winter here. 55 F tops, overcast and burdened by rain that just wouldn’t come. Nothing stops BBQ, not rain, lack of charcoal or cold. From 2 pm on the players assembled at the Reyes family house and got the fire going.
This BBQ was much smaller than the last time. Half a ball, slaughtered and divided into foot size chunks roasted on a make shift grill. 40lb of madioca boiled in an impossibly large pot in the kitchen. The men sat, in a circle, tending the fire and passing around to two glasses of wine and coke.
Normally these events aren’t my cup of tea, but sometimes they work. Yesterday, there was space for me in the little community.”
September 2005 in Language class
“Wait, wait. I get it. Guarani is like legos, you just keep adding on to the word until you have a sentence.”
“From your vantage point my lack of correspondence could be seen as a sign of discontent. In fact the opposite is true. I feel better than ever in FarinaCue. Work is picking up, the weather is warning up and I a generally feeling good.
I went on vacation to Buenos Aires at the beginning of the moneth. The break was like fresh air that cures a dull headache. You almost didn’t know you were in pain until it ceased. Excellent coffee, fabulous Italian food, stimulating conversation, it was good to be in city again. I worried the post vacation blues waited in FarinaCue. Ha! They didn’t come!! Being a homebody rocks because wherever my books are, I am happy.”
“Monday came after an unseasonable cold Sunday and rainy. The rain was short. I hoped in vain to get to town. Up at 5 am, I threw on clothes and walked up the big hill to wait for the bus. I waited an hour and gave up. The bus wasn’t coming. Back at my house, I fetched water to make breakfast, greeted the neighbors and swept the yard.
At 8am I prepared to wash my sheets. I swept the cement floor, put away everything that couldn’t get wet and haul 30 gallons of water from the well. Now I could start. An hour later the sheets are clean and hanging on the line.
Next not missing a beat, I moved on to cleaning the latrine. A task more easily accomplished than cleaning a bathroom, I take great satisfaction in burning the toilet paper and keeping the losa clean.
Post latrine duty, the floor of my house got a wet wash with the leftover laundry water. Not quite mopping I scrubbed it with my broom. It’s 10:30 or so and one to the garden. My trip to Buenos Aires made a mockery of my garden. Last week I put in a solid 4-5 hours just beating back the weeds that in general threatened my house. The neighbor killing a 4 ft long poisonous snake between our houses gave me news vigor to keep up the house. In that round of home maintenance I restaked my tomatoes, got the leaves out and that was all- and quite a bit. This time I weeded the beds w/ plants Now that garden is garden again.
Now at 11:30, I rested. I west to Alicia’s house to drink terrere and ate lunch with her family. She is my best friend here and is moving to Argentina at the end November.
After lunch I slept till 2:30. My nap saved me from crabbiness for the rest of day.”
“Today I walked back into FarinaCue after a wasted trip to Caazapa. In the late afternoon, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride out of town 10km to the crossroads that leads to Farina. Then I walked another 10km to get home before dark. Exhausted I went to Alicia’s house to drink mate and eat dinner. I love her family. Her boys tease me like they do there aunts and the 2 yr comes to visit me 3-4 times a day. Tonight David, the 13 year old was wittier than usual. Commenting on the fact that this is the second time in a week I have walked back from San Juan N. he teased me. ‘You’re favorite bus is line 11 the pypytauirena. (Line 11 like a person walking the footbus.)”