Lately we’ve had a number of opportunities to get out and about of our training communities. The first was a day trip to the capital city of Asunción. Our G (our training group) was paired up and assigned places in the city to find and learn about. In the afternoon we all met up at the Peace Corps headquarters in Asunción to share our stories from the day. We were also able to meet with current Peace Corps Volunteers who have served as our mentors since before we left the US – answering more questions than you’d believe and reassuring each of us that everything would be okay. What a cool feeling to think that someday we will be the experienced volunteers who have the advice and wisdom for the trainees!
The other experience was a longer trip this week to visit a current volunteer at their site. Our G all went to different places so just Isaiah and I went to visit Julie in a small town in the south of Paraguay called Trinidad. She has lived there for almost a year and we shadowed her to see the real life of a current volunteer. We stayed at her house, cooked delicious food (pizza with mozzarella cheese, spicy pasta with veggies, spicy chili, banana pancakes with peanut butter, and even chocolate chip cookies!), met her friends and co-workers, and even saw her teach a business class to a group of high school students. The food was a highlight for me because we cooked with things not super common to my current diet – mozzarella rather than queso paraguaya! veggies! spicy things! peanut butter! chocolate chips!
Julie’s site is the home to lovely rolling hills and some ruins of Jesuit Missions from the 1700s, both a joy to view. These impressive structures were surely built to last but not without flourishes and embellishments on the pillars, the arches, the doorways. These extras like the arches are there because the site at Trinidad (unlike many of the other Jesuit Missions) used an architect from Italy.
But more than the food and the sightseeing it was a boost of confidence that this is what I want to be doing and I feel excited to soon be a real volunteer out in my future site, wherever it may be.
Isaiah and I aren’t the only ones who have been out and about recently. Paraguay’s president, Fernando Lugo, had charges brought against him on Thursday afternoon that were sparked by a violent confrontation the week prior where several police officers and squatters were killed in a land dispute. Twenty-four hours later Lugo was impeached and the then Vice-President was sworn in as the new president. So far it seems to be a quiet transition though not all countries have recognized the new presidency. It’s an unexpected thing for me and I fully know that I don’t fully understand it all. You can read about it here on NPR.