10 January, 2008

Mbaeichapa Family & Friends!

I´m finally getting a chance to answer some of your questions and sum up some of my experiences here! So the big news today... a chicken fell in the well! Welcome to my world!
I´m staying with my third family here in Pindoty and things are "tranquilo" as usual. It´s a little hard because I can´t understand a word the grandmother is speaking to me, I just nod and reply "si, si," which is kind of a problem because she is my main company. But in reality I think it´s ok because she just needs some one to listen. Other than that my biggest concern is not to get pegged in the head by a falling mango! Times are rough!

Overall I think the transition is going pretty smoothly- although I find myself missing home and you all quite a lot. I have my photo albums to share with the people here and give me some sense of closeness, but that´s not quite enough. I have made some great friends here though, especially including other P.C. volunteers. My nearest P.C. neighbor is Cassie Doolittle, who I´m sure you will hear me talk about a lot since she´s my closest connection to the outside world! She´s a great friend and always there when I need a good laugh. The rest of the volunteers are amazing as well! I foresee having some really great travel experiences with many of them and creating some definitely unforgettable memories!

As for Py friends, that comes a little slower just because I can´t really express myself, nor understand yet who they really are and what they think. But it´s coming along. My Py contact Rosa is exceptionally awesome and I think we´ve gotten a lot closer in the few weeks I´ve been here (wow, time flies!) and I´m learning a lot about raising babies! She has a 6mo. old, Gaby, who is lovely and already has a strong personality all herself! The family I am with now (who are so accommodating with my terrible pronunciation and Py clumsiness) also have a little 3mo. old boy, Alexander, who I jokingly suggest is going to be Gaby´s boyfriend some day, who knows!

Now for the food! For the most part I couldn´t be happier. It´s a lot of veggies, sandia (watermelon), mangoes, and of course... mandioca! The only thing is there is also a lot of oil and frying, which I hope maybe I can employ some different baking methods, etc. to help improve nutrition a bit. I also hope to introduce new recipes (which if anyone has good recipes you think would work well here- ie. cooking over a fire- please send them my way!). There is also a lot of meat, when people can afford it, and it´s a bit difficult to explain that I´d prefer the vegetables. Although the other day I did try blood sausage, and I still prefer the veg, but at least I tried it right!?

Other than that there are a lot of opportunities for projects here and the people here seem very receptive to new ideas. The volunteer before me did an excellent job of explaining the purpose and goals of P.C. and I think this is great groundwork for things to come. Starting with my house I´d like to build a bamboo fence so I can start my demonstration plots with abonos verdes (green manures). I´d also like to build a sanitary latrine (necessary!) and help Rosa- neighbor, contact and friend- with her fogone (brick oven) and pozo (well). And that´s just the house! Beyond that I plan to continue Hannah´s cooking class, possibly start a youth group for the local girls, d.j. a radio program on agricultural systems with Cassie, and of course, work the fields. They´re harvesting cotton in February so I think that will be my first real chance to get out there and do some hoeing (not that kind! don´t worry Mom and Dad!).

So, in a nutshell, that´s my life here in Py. There is so much more I´d love to share but I fear I lack both time and memory to share everything. I thank you sincerely for your interest in what I have to say and continued support. By reading this you are helping me complete part of my job- sharing the Py culture with all of you! Thank you again!