Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Thoughts Collected

All right. I'm in a better setting to inject a little more coherency into my post. Here it is:

Since arriving in Paraguay (going on our third week in a few days), I've been thrown head first into an array of activities, training sessions, communities, bee hives, bus routes, weather extremes, and languages. Here's some highlights:

  • As I mentioned, I've begun learning Guarani, the indigenous language here in Paraguay. When I hear others speak it, it's sounds daunting, but with some practice, it turns out it's not terrible. There's no verb conjugation, so it's only a matter of setting a context, and going (for example, in English it would be the equivalent of "I walk" "Tomorrow I walk" or "Four score and seven year ago, I walk." It's a cake walk)

  • With my increase in language ability, I have been promoted to higher levels of conversation with different members of the community (not only Carlito). My neighbors, Ever and Catia, who are roughly my age, now regularly engage me in conversation and I've been able to keep up quite well, and even translate a few jokes (Q: Que es la fruta favorita de Beethoven? A: Ba-na-na-na [To the tune of Beethoven's fifth]) They've been received with mixed reviews

  • I have been stung only twice so far. Once to make sure that I wasn't allergic (which I'm not) and another while working the hives for the second time. I forgot my camera today, but I'll bring it next time to give you a better look at what I'm actually doing. Luckily it hasn't been this yet (although I do own a hat like that).

  • The whole world of bees, outside of beekeeping itself, is incredible. There are dances that bees perform to communicate a variety of issues, such as where the nearest food source is to "clean me." The innately known roles and responsibilites that worker bees have in each stage of their 35-40 day, sleepless livese are awe-inspiring. I've learned a lot and it's all been really interesting.

Overall, I've been having a great experience. This week we go out to visit actual volunteers who are nearing the end of their service. I will be travelling the furthest, by myself (it's about 14 hours on two buses, one way) but I should be fine. It should be nice to see what I'll actually be doing.

Like I said, I'll be sure to post pictures next time and continue to send letters. For those of you whose addresses I don't have, please send me one to the address at the beginning of this blog(!) and I'll be sure to reply.

A few tips when snail-mailing: 1) Number them [In case any are lost, we'll know it] 2) Keep packages under 4 pounds (I know you want to send me that bike Fro, but it's just not going to make it through customs) and 3) If it is a package, and it's under for pounds, try to decorate it in some sort of religious fashion (possibly with crosses?) because other volunteers have reported that their belongings have been less likely to be tampered with when they have some sort of religious affiliation (weird, I know).

All right, that's it for me. Thanks for reading.


Blogger the_portable_katelynd said...

That joke is AMAZING!

9:12 PM


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