Monday, July 20, 2009

Host Family In JA Saldivar Training Community

My host family,
Working in security. Goes to work at 4:50am and usually gets back to the house around 8pm. He prefers to speak Guarani, so theoretically he would be a good resource to help me learn the language. However I can barely understand him when he speaks Spanish because he mumbles and I don’t think he always uses correct grammar, so he probably isn’t the best person to ask for help. He has a great sense of humor and likes to tease the lady next door by running over to the fence and holding up the radio so that it plays loudly into her yard when a certain song that irritates her comes on. Evidently he has also been known to ride his bike into her house. Worked in Spain for 3 years as a landscaper to help bring in money for the family. Used to be the president for the local neighborhood commission. Evidently he is a far departure from much less hardworking male figures that most of the trainees are living with

She is a catholic version of the stereotypical Jewish mother. She is very sweet, worked in an office before she had surgery 3 months ago, worked in Spain for a year, cooks well, keeps a clean house, and has raised three amazing, studious, independent daughters, and always has the best intentions. Unfortunately she worries all of the time about everything and always has an opinion about the ‘right’ way to do everything. She constantly nitpicks everything in the girls life, corrects them, gives them unasked for advices…She tried to tell me how to cook the periogies even though she has never seen a periogie in her life. When I hung my raincoat outside to dry, first she didn’t like which clothes line I hung it on. She was worried that it would get wet on the one from rain during the night on the I had initially selected, so I moved it to one closer to the house; it still got wet. Then she didn’t think I put the coat high enough on the clothes line, so she slide it up about 6 inches. Then she didn’t like how I’d hung the coat, so that had to be adjusted. Then she didn’t like the clothes pins I was using, so I had to change those. All that to hang a rain coat. She is like that with everything, cooking, cleaning, how the girls dress…everything. Because she really does just want to be helpful, it generally doesn’t bother me; its only for 11 weeks. But if she was someone I had to live with for an extended period of time, I’d have to put some limits to her ‘helpfulness’, but for now, I just accept that she genuinely is a nice person, take her advice when applicable, and excuse her when she gets excessive.

Patricia ‘Patti’
22, is a student in Asuncion in the mornings studying how to make prosthetic dental work, in the afternoon she works in a dentist’s office. She once dated a Peace Corps volunteer while he was in training, but the relationship fell apart when he moved to his site, several hours away. Patti is very hardworking and very fashionable, and talks alllllllll of the time. On the weekends usually I tag along with her to go shopping or whatever errands she is running.

Silviana ‘Silvi’
20 years also a student. Currently she does accounting work balancing the books, of at least one of Teresa’s friends. Silvi isn’t much of a talker so we get along really well. I can sit at the table and study with her while she is working and actually get some studying done. She is also studying English, so I get to help her some of the time with her pronuciaiton.

Natalia ‘Nata’
12, is in the 7th grade. Takes after her mom and older sister in that she talks a lot as well. Nata is very sweet and was a great helper when I made the perodiges.

I am the family’s 4th volunteer so they are well broken in. They know how to talk to me in a clear, slow manner, what words I’m most likely to know, and what concepts are likely to be new to me(like hand-washing clothes). They have put a high priority on education for the daughters, which is very progressive. The parents lived in Spain for a time, which is the exact opposite of many Paraguayns who may have never left their state, let alone lived and worked in a different country. Everyone is hardworking and chips in to keep the household running. They also have really good manners, wash their hands frequently, including before they eat (this is actually pretty usual), use individual napkins (instead of a communal napkin that everyone shares). The kitchen is very clean and Teresa is very picky about making sure the food from the day before is reheated before its eaten again so I don’t worry about the food getting contaminated. They are uber patient, extremely nice, extremely helpful, extremely trustworthy, and overall just a great group of people to live with during training. I really lucked out this time.

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