Kel, outbound to Paraguay

Spoiler: I actually am in Paraguay. Rotary switched me a couple of months before I left and I couldn't be happier! When I first arrived in Paraguay I was like a little kid in a candy store, my face was glued to the window and a look of amazement on my face. My host dad was driving and I actually thought I was going to die in the car. He swerved into on-coming traffic to pass one car and to this day he still does and I still think I am going to die on my way to school every morning. So between being totally amazing and covering my eyes of my possible death was my car ride home on my first day in Paraguay.

I had lunch with my family and it was amazing, we had pig, rice, and pasta. We have a maid named Armenda and she is very quiet and very quick. My first day of school was very busy. Everyone was kissing me, hugging me, and pointing at me. A teacher extended her hand as my class sat on the floor waiting for my class room to be opened and she kissed me on both cheeks and told me in Spanish that if I needed anything to come to her. At recess all the young kids came up to me and asked me my name and ran away screaming, or they wanted me to play, or hold them.

My school is three stories and there are kids from pre-school to graduating high school. All of my teachers on my first day either looked at me and carried on with their lesson of the day or said hola. The only teacher that talks to me is my English teacher (how ironic) and he lets me help my classmates or he lets me teach the lesson. I have been to about 8 English classes where the younger students ask me questions about America and I love doing it! They always ask me why I picked Paraguay because no one really knows about it and I have to explain why I didn't pick it.

There is a man at our school and sells ice cream, candy, chocolate, etc. At first I was confused at why kids would buy candy from him. Didn't someone say to them in their childhood "stranger danger". Well my classmate Sofi told me that he has been there since she was young and he is harmless. I still didn't buy anything from him for a week just in case.

I am so amazed at how beautiful everything is here. The trees, the stores, the people, and how fast everything goes by like the cars weaving in and out of lanes. I am so astonished about how fast people talk and you just stare at them thinking, was that even Spanish? I have said that many times to my classmates.

I have been to other cities and it is so breathtaking. The mountains, the rivers, and even how people change with every city. For example, when you are at a stop light people clean your windows even if you don't want it, there are people selling newspapers, things they have made, selling chipa (bread) with a huge basket full balanced on their head, or even people standing on a skateboard that is balanced on a chair and juggling at the same time.

Paraguay does have some things that are different. For example, if you are at a gas station there is a police officer with a loaded gun. I have seen people go to the bathroom in the streets, I have seen someone been mugged in the middle of the day, in the middle of the street, and the people walking by did nothing about it they just kept walking. I have been to a park with a river but you can't see the the water because its filled with trash. There are trash cans in the parks and throughout the town but no one really cares, they just throw it out of the window of their car, or just drop it when they're one with it.

Some people sweep up the trash around their house and set it on fire. There has not been a day that I haven't seen trash burning and it does not leave a pleasant smell. Everyone asks me what my favorite part of Paraguay is and I am sure they are waiting for me to say empanadas but I say the people. Everyone is so nice here you aren't greeted with a "hey nice to meet you"; you are greeted with a hug and two kisses no matter if you are a girl or boy. Everyone wants to help me, even with my Spanish and they don't expect anything back. The people here are so passionate, yes they goof around like friends do but they are family. My classmates have been together since they have started school and that is something I will always envy.

To see my page and some photos click HERE

Chau,
Kelly