I’d like to take the opportunity to update anyone at home on the culmination of 2 years of Peace Corps service in Paraguay. Thursday, December 4th, after a week spent packing, wrapping up projects, visiting neighbors; I moved out of my rural community, Monte Alto, San Jose de los Arroyos. While it was difficult to say goodbye to my host family and friends, I won’t be too far, as my year extension as the PC Volunteer Coordinator is located out of the office in Asuncion.
My G37 mate, Johnny, was kind enough to come out to my site and help finish the last fogon. 11 fogones (cook-stove/ovens) made out of brick and clay were built for the women in my women’s committee in addition to planting 500 native trees of Paraguay throughout the community, in the church, school playground, homes, etc.
During this school year, The 7th and 8th graders learned about Natural Resources. Topics included reforestation, organic/inorganic materials, Eco-Regions of Paraguay, and Trash Management. One of our projects was to build an “Eco-ladrillo” bench at the elementary school. Each student stuffed trash into 2 liter plastic bottles until they were packed firm enough to make the bench. Our bench was made 7 bottles wide by 4 levels high. Cement and bricks were used to support it all together!
For Thanksgiving, the women in my women’s committee threw me a despedida-going away party, which included lots of food, laughs and a bit of wine! I explained to them my family’s tradition in the states on Thanksgiving is to get together with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and share a meal. The ladies each brought kids/grandkids to the party.
Many kind words were shared by the PC Country Director and both Environmental and Agriculture Sector Directors. The Country Director mentioned a common theme stood out while speaking to each Volunteer about their service. The question was asked individually: What are you most proud of during your 2 years of service?
And the answer among my peers were of the relationships developed with Paraguayans. What am I most proud of during 2 years? The family and community that I have been blessed to gain. Of course, learning and being able to speak two languages is a close second ….