The handball tourney was quite entertaining. I guess they play it in the Olympics so maybe it’s not new to everyone like it was for me. It was a mix between basketball (looked like a basketball court with an arch and everything) and soccer (with netted goals and goalies in front). But the team ran down and then attempted to throw the medium-sized ball into the goal. It was a very physical game too, not like basketball where that kind of holding would be a foul. Unfortunately our town’s team lost (big time).
Another exciting happening of the weekend was making juice with my host sister, Cristina. Our host brother, Adolfo, picked the grapefruits (pomelos) from one of the many grapefruit trees in our yard and then Isaiah, Cristina and I peeled them and put them through the juicer. We added a little water and nothing more. Fresh, refreshing, delicious! I knew Kate (and LaMont) love their grapefruit juice so we took a picture to send your way! It’ll have to do, for now.
Today at the training center we were split into our language groups. Our half of the group (who live in Ypane) was split into three levels. Isaiah is in the highest level group so will begin learning Guaraní right away. I am in the middle group so we will study more Spanish and then will switch to Guaraní once we reach a certain competency in Spanish. It will be fun to start these lessons especially in small groups of 4-5 students.
However, I know myself well enough to know that I will soon be jealous of Isaiah (and others) already speaking in Guaraní while I’m still struggling through my Spanish phrases. I need patience! I am learning a ton of new words already and I know it will keep getting easier but sometimes it’s so frustrating to have to ask for clarification or repetition in nearly every Spanish conversation I have. But the best thing is for me to keep trying, keep having those conversations, keep making mistakes and yearning to understand because that is how I will improve!
We also met the deputy director of all of Peace Corps, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, who is a returned Peace Corps volunteer herself. It was quite an honor to have her visit us in Paraguay! I feel excited to do this work and see it as a real opportunity to build a little bridge of understanding between the U.S. and Paraguay. I love how Peace Corps is totally at the community level, living with families and getting excellent training on the culture and language. And luckily Paraguay is not a hot tourist destination (yet!) so Paraguayans haven’t been tarnished by those “Spring Breakers” and are very open and willing to get to know Americans and aren’t looking at us as a way to make a
buck Guarani either.