Building a new routine, making new friends and basically building a new life from scratch, in a different culture and language is not an easy task. In fact, it feels more normal to fall into the Paraguayan trap of being kaigue, or without energy to do much at all. Fortunately this last week, I shook off the cultural roller coaster and had a break though week as a guapa, hardworking, Peace Corps volunteer.
Inspiration appeared in the form of Paraguay's own Land-Fill Harmonic, a brilliant orchestra composed of instruments made entirely of garbage. Carried by a refreshing river breeze the rusty, metallic twangs of junk reassembled itself into music of various forms. John Lennon, Metallica, Paraguayan folk and even a Pakistani tune were among the set list. I stayed to thank the Maestro and a few of the musicians afterwards, who even after traveling to all corners of the globe, remained true to the humble origins of their recycled violins, guitars, violas, trombones, string bases, flutes, saxophones and accordions.
The concert kicked off the ALEA, a week long South American architecture student convention, and with it a 5 day workshop with Encarnación Sustentable (my pet NGO, check them out! https://www.facebook.com/EncarnacionSustentable). Our participants designed various prototypes for recycle bins made of recycled materials.
Oh yeah, then I started a 20 hour a week course on teaching methodology for the employment office that I work at. In order to give my future students super official SNPP certificates, I have to take this class with about 25 other instructors-in-training. Although the four hour classes are a little tedious, this is a great opportunity to share time with Paraguayans and really analyze the learning style here. So far, it's painfully obvious that they love to share personal anecdotes about pretty much anything, no matter the relevance to the subject matter, haha!
And if that wasn't enough, I also held my sixth and final employability class, with a group of young people that I really enjoyed meeting with for the past six Saturdays. They did great, and though our time was limited, they scooped up their certificados, (literally printed certificates saying they were in the course - a pretty big deal around these parts), and passed their final exams, a game of bingo, with flying colors.
So, did I rest on the seventh day? Heck no, this week was too unstoppable. I rode my sweet new bike to the bike shop around 6:30 am to meet up with the "team" for a morning ride. Little did I know, 5 hours and 50 kilometers of beautiful Paraguayan countryside later, I would be sitting, rather uncomfortably because I didn't brink bike shorts to PY, at an asado (traditional Sunday BBQ), with a new group of biking buddies. The lingering pain of muscles I forgot I had continue to remind me that for the first time my Paraguayan mission was accomplished, and that this was a week to remember.