Sunday, October 4, 2009

The latest

Hi friends,

Sorry about the extended absence from this blog, but the last few months have been busy and bizarre. First of all, it was not as easy as I had hoped coming back after vacation. I was on such a “high” when I left and was so motivated and excited about my projects and it was hard to find the “thread” to continue that upon my return.

The month of August, particularly was a significant month for me for various reasons. I celebrated my birthday on the 3rd, participated in my group’s one-year IST (in-service training) and celebrated milestones with my two sister groups. Sister groups are those that work in the same sector-area but are either a year ahead or a year behind you in service. My older sister group finished their 2 year service and swore-out just as my younger sister group finished their PST (pre-service training) and swore-in as volunteers. The actual day of the swear-in and swear-out we all celebrated together at a nice Spanish restaurant. Three groups all in different places of their Peace Corps service – needless to say, it was a special evening.

In September, I participated in a parade in my town of Loma Grande as they commemorated the life of an important Paraguayan man who died in a plane crash in the 1940s. I also traveled to the South and helped a friend facilitate a civic education workshop for teachers. The friend in question – Rebecca, lives in the town of Carapegua and I had such a good time that my day and a half trip turned into a 4-day trip! Upon my return, I said goodbye to a dear friend who completed her service a bit early. It was not an entirely happy event though it did make me appreciate the lifelong friendships I’ve made in the short time I’ve been here. The month was rounded out by three events: an interesting workshop focused on preventing the bird flu from taking root here in Paraguay, a very useful meeting with the Peace Corps Paraguay Director, Don Clark and the three other Master’s International volunteers that are currently serving and a fundraiser international sports day. The sports day had been done once before but we did it this time as a way to raise funds for a few projects. We invited the Japanese volunteers (JICA), the Korean volunteers (KOICA) and the Taiwanese volunteers (ICDF) all serving here in Paraguay to kickball and volleyball games against Peace Corps volunteers. It was a lot of work to put together (and I had a lot of help) but was well worth the efforts. Everyone had fun and we made some money for two PC projects.

Now October is here and nearly half the month will be gone in travel and activities again. I’ll be heading further down south to the town of General Delgado to visit my friend Tessa and help her with some civic education work. From there I will head over to Pilar where my friend Joan lives. While getting to know her town, I hope to investigate the opportunities to work with AFS (an international exchange organization). I’m hoping to use the experience of working with them to write the main part of my thesis. Upon my return, I’ll have two important meetings, one in the capital of my department (Caacupe) to continue the bird flu prevention work and the other in Asuncion to work with young women who have been awarded a scholarship in a partnership between Peace Corps and the Paraguayan government. This month will be rounded out by an awesome 80s themed birthday/Halloween party in my friend Jesus’s town of Villa Florida. Not sure what I’ll wear, but I’m thinking either an 80s era Dolly Parton, Joan Jett or possibly a Risky Business-esque Tom Cruise (that one’s the easiest if I can figure out what to do with my hair)! My friend Joan and I are hoping to make this party a fundraiser as well.

So…on to November? Not yet! Sure, September was busy and October promises to be as well. But in the midst of all this busyness, I’m also working on my thesis portfolio. So while the time does seem to be flying by, I need it to slow down a bit too…at least to give me a chance to finish my thesis work. So, am I afraid the time will go by too fast? No way people, no way. As Dorothy Thompson once said, “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” And friends…I’m living! Until next time friends…..

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