I ask this only because more often than not my conservations include a fun game of charades of me acting out words and the people around me guessing multiple times, often in words I yet to know. At times it can be frustrating when language just isn’t there, but at the same time it’s amazing how far I have come without knowing much—and though I don’t feel any improvement my family says my Guarani has been getting better. So as many of you have been asking, and as I have been failing to respond, I am finally taking the time to explain what the heck I am doing, though to be honest most days I don’t even know.
My morning starts off between 6:00 or 6:30, I crawl out of mosquito net off the 4” foam mattress bed that clearly has been molded to the shape of a person’s body for at least fifteen years, and despite my desire to sleep longer I throw on a more modest shirt to cover up my nightgown the only thing that is comfortable in the heat, so that I can accompany my almost 80 year old abuela in matte-ing. An early morning act that takes place in every household in Paraguay, at times the two of us or with her ninetos grandchildren, we pass the guampa back and forth, pounding down unusually hot hits of yerba tea through a metal straw, which for me has left permanent chapped/burn spot on my lips. Lasting nearly 45 minutes, I then either push myself to go out for a morning jog if its not too hot or grab the broom made of dried sticks to sweep the red dirt patio that is covered in an array of leaves, fallen hibiscus flowers and trash from the day before. Around 8 am or so, the abuela, one of her ninaito’s who cars for and myself sit down for breakfast which consist of a cup of kosido with bread rolls or crouton like little bread rolls. Kosido is a traditional Paraguayan breakfast beverage prepared by placing a hot coal over yerba tea with sugar, allowing it to char and caramelize then placing it in boiling water or milk to steep.If it is Monday through Saturday, I then prepare my thermo with cold water, load up my guampa with yerba to take terere in the mid morning, thrown on my sombrero and set off with my 16 year old friend, Rody, to visit every house in Maracana. It has been just over a month of me being here and I’m now just finishing up my first visit to every house in Maracana, give or take. Each visit last about ten minutes and consist of me introducing myself, Peace Corps, how long I will be living here, what I plan to work in and some basic interest. More often then not, Rody has to translate my Guarani or answers many questions, none in which I understand. As we wrap up the first visit with nearly every house my ability to speak Guarani has come much smoothly and when people don’t understand, I have been opting more to speak in Spanish rather than say nothing, which is something I was doing.
We only spend about two to three hours visiting families, as it can be ungodly hot by the early hour of eleven am. By roughly 12 o clock sharp, I sent down with abuela, and whichever grandchildren decide to eat lunch with us, eat a hot meat soup called caldo or a bean soup, paired with bread or a piece of mandi’o madioca is staple food here, it is a starch tuber, that is like a stiff potato, loaded with carbs and for me, incredibly delicious. Afterwards, I end the lunch with a fresh mango off the tree this is the only raw fruit/vegetable item in my diet and head off to set up my hammock in the mango tree just nearby. My siesta last until two, sometimes three depending on how hot it is, afterwards I get up head next door to the people I would consider my family here for terere. We spend about one to two hours sitting around terer-ing. Everyone is still speaking in Guarani and at times I get the jist of the story, or others time I don’t. But with this family I’m comfortable with that because they do take the time to explain things, and they truly make me feel like part of the family. Around five o’clock or so, a few things have been happening either a) the men in our calle come over and play volley ball b) I do a small workout with the girls next door or c) work in the garden, cleaning it and making a compost.
By nighttime which is just around 7:30 or so, we eat dinner which of course is some type of meat with bread or mandi’o, then off to bed for me. I still haven’t gotten myself accustomed to staying up late without the assistance of Nescafe, so I’m early to bed and not always early to rise.
I now have internet in my site, so the blog post will now become more regularly, thank goodness :)