Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7, 2009

1) Washing clothes:

• The weather has been on the cold, wet side and my schedule has been pretty compact so today was pretty much the first day that I had an opportunity to wash my clothes. The family has a washing machine, but it doesn’t work, so I had to do it by hand. I’m going to have a much greater appreciation for clean clothes here. Washing the clothes by hand sucks… a lot. T-shirts, socks, underwear, thinner shirts aren’t too bad. Pants, especially jeans, are huge pain because you have to scrub and scrub and scrub. The process is as follows 1) fill up tub with soap and water(winter = all the water is cold)2) wash light clothes first then get progressively darker (common sense except I’ve never had to think about it before) 3) scrub scrub scrub-each type of clothing has its own way that you have to scrub it ex: put socks on your hand, rub a bar of soap all over the socked hand, scrub hand/sock vigorously on the ribbed/stone encrusted surface of the sink 4) fill 2nd sink with water to rinse 5) Empty and fill sink again and rinse 6) Empty and fill sink for the 3rd time for rinsing 7) wring water out of clothes 8) hang dry in the yard 9) Iron everything (ironing kills microbes, helps make sure all of the clothes are really dry to avoid mildewing). New rule: If its not obviously dirty and it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t get washed.

2) On the bus

• First drunk person hitting on me in Paraguay:
o After washing clothes Patti and I went to the hospital to visit her cousin and her baby, who has been ill. On the way home we took a seat, Patti next to the window, me next to the aisle. A very very drunk man got on the bus a few stops later and sat caddy-corner to us. After striking various drink poses in his seat and trying to talk to us, he put two fingers to his lips and then tried to put them on my shoe which was sticking out into the aisle a little, mimicking a kiss. I saw him reach for me out of the corner of my eye and moved my foot in time. We moved to the back of the bus. He moved to the seat in front of us. We moved back to the front of the bus. He didn’t follow this time.
• Paraguay Honesty-Weight
o On the bus a severely obese young man sat in the front and started talking to the driver, asking if he could vary the buses path a little to get him closer to his destination or something to that effect. The bus driver told him…you’re fat, you need to walk. I think you might get sued for that in the US
• Fire
o We were getting close to our bus stop when a strange odor started spread around the bus. I don’t have a good sense of smell, and quite frankly some of the buses don’t run very well and smell funny all of the time, so I didn’t hardly notice. A motorcycle driver flagged down the bus driver, got him to pull over. The driver, his assistant, and some people on the street ran to the back of the bus, by the wheels. At first I thought that we hit something or someone (pedestrians don’t have the right of way, no one knows how to drive a motorcycle properly, and people hang out the doors of the bus). We were close to the front of the bus, so it was easy for us to get out, after waking a man who hadn’t noticed the commotion and was still sleeping. When I got out I could see the flames underneath the back of the car between the rear tires. The bus driver put it out with a fire extinguisher, gave everyone their money back for the ticket, and we caught another bus to finish our journey.

3) Random Observations/notes:
• Paraguayans prefer bar soap to liquid soap
• We get our milk from the neighbors cow
• There aren’t any bus stops. You put out your hand to stop a passing bus. They will start moving again before you’ve completely entered or exited the bus, so it’s a good idea to hold on tight
• No a/c or heating in any of the buildings
• During periods of drought or during the long summer, water isn’t available through the faucet. Our training facility has a bunch of plastic barrels that they store rain water in to flush the toilets when the water doesn’t work anymore.
• Its hard to find a trash can, even in an office building. People just throw the trash anywhere. My host sister, upon noticing our shock when she just dropped her cup on the floor of the market said ‘Its okay, This is Paraguay
• I never thought that speaking in Spanish would be a relief (as opposed to Guarani).
• My English is already deteriorating. Today June 8, 2009. I was trying to tell my fellow trainees a story about being polish and some of the polish words for ‘grandma’ and ‘grandpa’, but I kept on reversing the English words(using grandma instead of grandpa). I ended up having to tell the story using ‘abuela’ and ‘abuelo.’
• My cell phone works!
• I haven’t worn pants for so many days in a row since I started wearing skirts almost every day.
• I go to bed around 9:30pm every night and get up around 6:10am.


sk said...

You are brave and quite possibly insane. What an adventure! Thank you soo much for the update. It sounds exciting, and awesome.

Aunt Karen said...

I think I'd have to start carrying a bag of some sort with me to pick up trash! It must be hard to walk past it on the ground. Glad you made it safely.