Remember the worm compost pile I started with my host family? Well, the other day, I went to feed the ‘cevo’i’ (lombrices) some cow poop and happened to find one of our chickens chilling in the worms’ home!
Being two months fresh in site and the compost pile being my first project in the community, I really want this thing to work! Not wanting to immediately blame the worms disappearance on the chickens, I told Odi, ‘umm, Odi, ko’anga, hay menos cevo’i en el composto’.
‘Ah! Entonces, yo pienso es la gallina!’
This is why I absolutely adore Odi, my host mom and site contact: she calls over to Julio, her husband, and explains the problem, suggesting we get to work solving the issue. Mind you, it’s the middle of a hot summer day, 100 degrees outside in Paraguay, ciesta time—I think most peoples’ mentality would be, we’ll fix it later!
Julio and I got to work placing a cover over the compost pile. I’m hoping a few are still alive, we’ll see!
In a few weeks, I’m taking two girls to a 3-day national environmental camp for youth. Peace Corps and the NGO involved are covering all costs except for transportation to and from the camp. In total, each girl needs to raise 28.000 mil Guaraníes; which works out to about 7 dollars for bus fare.
I had a meeting with the girls and we brainstormed how we were going to raise the money. The girls came up with two ideas. 1) Bake a ‘torta’ and sell it to neighbors. 2) Sell ‘sorteos’ at the upcoming community club soccer game! A ‘sorteo’, I later found out, is a raffle.
Great! Ok, so what are we selling tickets to raffle off…...BEER!
The thought of two fourteen year old girls selling raffle tickets for beer stunned me. And after asking them if this was something normal to raffle off, getting the ‘ok’ from their moms, we went along with their ideas. The girls ended up raising just over 60.000 mil Guaraníes—enough for bus fare and a snack along the way!
I can add another food to the interesting ‘tembi’y kuera’ eaten in Paraguay. The other day, a neighbor killed their cow for a ‘rezo’ celebration. A ‘rezo’ in Paraguay is a nine-day prayer held for people who have passed away. I was invited over to the neighbor’s house for lunch to eat part of the butchered cow. Agustina, served me a plate of ‘ipokue’ (name for the food in Guarani). When I asked what part of the ‘vaca’ I was about to eat, she said, ‘la pata de la vaca’ (the cow’s foot).
I ate as much of that foot as I could without giving off the impression I didn’t care for the taste—the thought of eating dirt and poop came to my mind…. seeing some remaining cow hair didn’t help ease my thoughts either!