Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I´ve been assigned a site! Nueva Germania in San Pedro in the north of the country! I´m the furthest north volunteer in the Eastern half (non chaco) of the country.
Google maps

Saturday, March 19, 2011


The calm pace of life, my lack of independence, the simplicity of my possesions, and of course the warm sunny weather here lately remind me of summers on Vashon. Autumn is approaching, and the weather has cooled from its sweltering peak last month. This week we´ve had something like low 80´s with a pleasant breeze. I was actually cold in my bed last night. This wind especially brings the fresh air of the puget sound to mind.
I wore my old red Vashon Maury Maritime Heritage shirt with a compass on the sleeve and the Wind and the Willows quote yesterday and I had to explain to a few people what kind of a strange ¨CREW¨ I was on. I´ve been thinking about the sound in the summer, especially as seen from the water. The floating green seaweed, the trees bursting with foliage, friendly houses with picnic tables in the lawn. Boats Boats.
Not many boats around here. And the golden watery summer on the sound I´m dreaming of won´t even exist for another 5 months. I´m enjoying the summer here a great deal of course. I´ve got a hammock now, and a bag of exceptionally cheap cigars. I´m going to go out to Cumbarity, to visit a trainee friend of mine out there this afternoon, which should be very pleasant. That town is smaller and further from the highway than Guarambare. We´ll play guitar and sit and smoke.

`Do you know, I`ve never been in a boat before in all my life.'

`What?' cried the Rat, open-mouthed: `Never been in a--you never--well I--what have you been doing, then?'

`Is it so nice as all that?' asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

`Nice? It's the ONLY thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. `Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: `messing--about--in--boats; messing----'

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I said to Andrew, or wrote perhaps, how much I loved travelling, because you leave everything that isn´t you behind. The expectations, the relationships, the failures and successes, all the things, and it´s just you and your pack.
I have been enjoying this lightness very much being here. I am probably the only one without a computer in my ¨G¨, which means the 48 of us trainees that arrived in Guarambare (hence the G) at the same time. I also didn´t bring any music, which I regret, but at the same time I am thankful for. I can listen to music with the same virgin enthusiasm I had when I was 14. (Also, they call black cds ¨discos virgenes¨, which I find ammusing).

It is a thrill to be able to redefine ones´self. To find out which parts of what you´ve been carrying are still relevant and important, and which have become vestigial and can be shed as dead weight.

And to be reminded that how much you like what is left!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Fourth

It is sunny and hot once again here in Guarambare. It rained most of last week which pushed back the start of school from the Wednesday before last to Monday. I observed the 2nd grade class that day at a very small, 4 room shool a little north of town. My teacher seemed competent and engaged, the class was small and they were well behaved, which was quite different from the experiences reported by most of the other trainees who observed a class.

We´re learning about classroom manegment skills here, which is something that is totally neglected in teacher training. As we learn new skills there is always the balance of figuring out what it is that we are more knowledgable about, what it is that is lost in translation, and what it is that we really know little about and must learn from the community. Clearly, with a college education, and my Peace Corps training I am privledged to have been exposed to many ideas and methods that my Paraguayan partners have not. At the same time it is obviously futile for me, young and inexperienced as a teacher, to come into a community or school and tell them what to do, both because I lack thier trust and respect and because I don´t know what the needs and strengths of the school or community. Meanwhile, I have to figure out what knowledge is genuinely new and what is already known by a diferent name (many things which seem like common sense and that Americans wouldn´t think twice about are unheard of here. For instance a popular and very helpful training activity with teachers is to teach them the sounds of individual letters, which they do not know because they learned all thier phonetics in chunks: mi, ma, me, mo, mu (mí mamá me amo mucho)).

Still have not tried Avacado with sugar. Mango and guayaba season is just about over, but orange season is about to begin!