Archive | November, 2011

From campo to chuchi

6 Nov

This week was definitely one of contrasts. I started the week in San Jose Ita Moroti, one of the little pueblos that is 12 km from my town, visiting some other volunteers. My friends Tegan and Matt live out in an adorable house in the countryside. They hosted a Halloween bash, which meant I got to spend two days out in the campo (countryside). It was wonderful. It was also quite different from my life as a volunteer.

Matt and Tegan's house and yard

Tegan and Matt are education and health volunteers, respectively. Props to these two sectors. I’m in Community Economic Development and we, generally speaking, have it a lot easier than these guys. Matt and Tegan are uber-DIY and super creative so they really made their house welcoming and pleasant. But heck, they put in a lot of work to do that. They even built a shower and composting toilet (in addition to a truly epic shelving structure in their kitchen and a fairy-looking bed). There aren’t really a lot of things to do out in the campo, except relax and enjoy your surroundings. There are no stores, the bus only comes 2 times a day (and doesn’t run on Sunday or if it’s raining), the water and power frequently go out (especially if it rains), and the neighbors are spread far and wide.

Fields in campo

I spent the weekend relaxing, reading my kindle, looking for birds and listening to frogs. I discovered that the stars are just amazing out in the countryside with no lights to interfere with viewing and that Paraguay has lightning bugs (how magical are they?). I was a very happy girl.

Random side note: Frog calls here are really cool. Listen to the pitch black video here to hear a few of them (is that a crying baby or a cat?).

I also enjoyed some great company, including entertainment by some volunteers gifted with awesome singing voices, and Cristian, a Chilean musician who plays a mean guitar, clarinet and flute (and does a spot-on rendition of Tom Wait’s Chocolate Jesus).

Cristian playing clarinet

A group of us climbed a nearby hill Sunday for a relaxing picnic on the “ita morotis” (white rocks). The view from our picnic spot was really stunning (though at the same time depressing when you realize this all used to be covered in trees…).

View from the Cerro

It was a really fun excursion and I got a ton of practice climbing through barbed wire fences (I’m sure this skill will prove useful in the future).

Me on Cerro

After this awesome weekend away from civilization, I returned to Santa Rosa to prep for my move into my own apartment. I spent most of October looking for places to live and there weren’t a lot of options in town. The few I had were really dreary, not-so-safe, or didn’t work out. Just when I was getting discouraged I heard that an apartment might be open above this fruit shop I frequent. I went to look at the place and loved it, but felt so un-Peace Corps. The apartment is what we’d call chuchi (fancy) here. It’s super nice, relatively new, and has privacy and security (high on my requirement list). It was also a tad more than I’d like to pay. I weighed my options, called a bunch of people for advice and eventually just went with my gut and signed a lease.

I moved in completely on November 1st. I luckily had some help from my friend Gerardo moving my furniture in the previous week, so moving the rest was a relatively simple affair. I spent the day breaking in my new kitchen supplies and using some of the goodies my dad sent me to cook up some of my favorite dishes (pancakes with real maple syrup and vegetarian chili). It was a great first day, and has been a great first week. I took some time to decorate the place with some photos, art by my sister and a set of art postcards my friend Debra sent me.

Main room

Main room 2

kitchen

bedroom

back porch

photo wall

Sure, I feel pretty darn fancy for a Peace Corps volunteer, but I also feel like this is home. I think this is going to be a great space for me for the next 22 months! Now I just need to do some fun recycled craft projects to further Amy-fy the place.

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