The things they don't prepare you for.

"The toughest job you'll ever love", One of the many well known slogans of the Peace Corps, used to attract the people who might be crazy enough to embark on this compelling journey of self discovery, volunteering, sharing cultures and most understated, living life.  So much living has been going in my life, I've now established a routine in my house, with my family visits, my job in the High School, and have reached a point where my lack of free time is almost at par with how my life was in the States.

In the beginning of this month, I had reconnect which is a week long training in Peace Corps to re connect with your fellow volunteers to discuss life in site, the first three months (arguably the toughest months, though I would argue training was worse), re-fresher course on Guarani, some tech skills training and a much needed break from site and genuine time with my Peace Corps family.  This week flew by fast, not only we were back on the 6 am to 6 pm schedule of training, but we had so much to catch up on, that one week was hardly enough to talk to everyone, and have a deep conversations with our old host families- as all of our language skills have improved exponentially.  During this time, we also had to say goodbye to one of our most loved Volunteers within our G, Ben, he had decided to ET (early termination) so that he could pursue his dreams of law school. It was a sad despido but we are all happy and supportive of his decision, as happiness is the most important thing in life. If you're not happy with something in your life, you should change it, and not be afraid to live the life you want to live. The people who really love you, will be there through it all, and at the worse they don't you'll find those who love you through your new found happiness.

 Coming back to site, I had a fresh outlook on my job, and the needed motivation to learn Guarani more, and create more relationships with families in my community and with my students. And nearly two weeks later, I'm still maintaining that motivation needed to make some moves in my site. 

In my free time, I am trying to train my dog, Pedro, which is actually really difficult. At first we were at the end of each others wits, always on a different page of what should be going on, but since returning to site, we have become quite the great pair. And he has learned how to alert me when someone is approaching my house, or me, which in Paraguay, is the type of dog that everyone wants. Most recently he has had an eye problem, as some people have thrown rocks at him, but with some antibiotic eye drops, he is healing quite fast. Our current task, is  me establishing the Alpha dog role, as he just wants to take the lead on everything.

 I also went to a VAC meeting for the Alto Parana region, where I met up with Grace, Tamara, Tyler, Rob and Pauline for basically a meeting that consisted of eating great food, and drinking mulled wine. Grace's site is a Japanese colony so we were lucky enough to eat some pretty tasty Sushi, for a landlocked country, udon noodle soup, along with the always tasty Paraguayan asado.

Things since that meeting were moving along slowly, just living life day to day, working on my job in the colegio, while finding time to continue my routine of daily meditation, yoga, and some form of excercise. Three days ago, things took a huge turn for the worse, and I was face to face with the horrific truth that I am living in a country that is a Machismo dominated culture. Machismo meaning a specific manly courageous outlook that men have about themselves that generally is associated with male aggression, violence, and takes away a woman's opportunity to live a life for herself that does not involve caring for her husband and children. This type of culture is also a root to the major infidelity that exist among Paraguayans, which I will try to discuss in a later blog.

Thursday morning, I was in my house getting ready for a day that I thought I would be spending with my host family in their house, and working in the garden. Having just showered, I was walking around

sin ropa

when I heard a faint knock on my door in-between the high upbeat tune of Pharell Williams's "Happy".  While frantically looking for something to thrown on, I thought it was strange that someone had knocked on my door, as the Paraguayan norm is to clap your hands, only a Norte would dare touch a door to make their presence known. Upon opening my door, I found the 60 year old señora that lives behind me, dripping in blood from the top of her head, down her white shirt, splotting on to her feet, sobbing, looking at me with fear of not knowing what to do. Upon seeing her, my body froze up not having a clue what had happen, forgetting the Guarani  I knew how to speak, and brokenly speaking Spanish, as shock had taken over my system. I immediately ran to my closest neighbor telling her to come fast, the Señora is bleeding everywhere. She called for her

ayudante

( house maid), to come with her, and we ran next door to find the Señora pouring buckets of water on her head, crying and screaming at her 80 year old husband who was casually sitting on the patio, yelling at her in Guarani. After 5 minutes or so of careful observation, talking to my neighbor in Spanish, and hearing the word

plaga (

worthless)

hundreds of times , it came to me; this wasn't a tough fall or bump on the head, it was a case of a domestic abuse from a very old jealous aggressive 80 year old man, on his 60 year old helpless wife, who was hit as a result of her trying to defend herself verbally and emotionally. Never in my life had I dealt with this kind of a situation, it was a shock to the system and I barely could stand looking at the man, after witnessing his tranquilo demeanor. Fortunately,  I have my site mate only 4 k away, so I immediately headed out to her house to give my self a fair chance at processing what had happened.  When I had gotten back home late that night, I had talked to my neighbor who had told me that this is a reoccurring incident with the senor, and that his daughter will ask the senora to come back, the next time her dad (the senor) is sick, but for now the senora had left, and the senor once again is on his own.

It's now been over a week since this has happened, and things have gone back to the tranquilo lifestyle. I have a lot of plans for myself, and am working on finding the time to jump start my life with the things that I love. In the mean time, I am trying to train Pedro, work in my garden and keep working on my relationships with the colegio kids. Until next time, love kels.

This can't be organic.....

Tree Grafting in Re Connect training

Posing by the kokue

Ben's Despido. 

Deme and I with froyo!  Cost like 20 mil- not worth it

Night out in Asuncion

Dia de Profesores- my colleagues. 

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Pedro with his new toys

What I found in my worm bin.

Worm compost

Dia de Profesores!

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Sushi in Paraguay- it was delecious! Followed by Passion fruit soda!

Playing with my fellow PCV's

Mi sobrino, Javier- food fight!