Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Paraguay doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but PC volunteers do :). Since it wasn’t an official holiday, the fact that my Reconnect event ended on Thursday didn’t matter, because the unofficial festivities didn’t begin until Friday. Each Thanksgiving a good portion of the ~200 volunteers in Paraguay travel to Capitan Miranda, outside of Encarnacion, for a Friday-Sunday bash at a local resort. Easy there, not on Uncle Sam’s dollar, okay well indirectly on Uncle Sam’s dollar since my salary comes from the gov… but we did have to pay to go. Actually I felt a little guilty because the resort was so nice. Seriously, it’s a top notch semi-tropical set-up. It crossed my mind while admiring my surroundings ‘Hey, I’m in the PC, am I supposed to be having so much fun? I thought I was supposed to suffer a little bit? Aw heck, let’s have a good time.’

Friday consisted of hanging out at the pool we took over due to sheer numbers and the fact that volunteers were staying in most, if not all of the rooms by that particular pool. It was really nice to put faces to so many of the names that I hear floating around all of the time.

We ate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner cooked entirely by PC volunteers. I heard they had someone bring in real Velveeta from the US for the mac and cheese. For once being a vegetarian in Paraguay paid off. We were called to the buffet line by tables, but the cooks and vegetarians got to go first, regardless of their table. I won’t go into detail, but the food was delicious, the one thing I wish they would have done differently was label the food, and note whether it was vegetarian, and maybe a note it had nuts, dairy, gluten if it wasn’t obvious. I was lucky because since I served myself at the same time as the cooks, I was able to ask them directly.

(The main dinner was masquerade themed)

On Saturday I went to see the nearby Jesuit ruins. My camera’s batteries were dead, which of course I didn’t realize until I got there. I’m waiting for people to post to facebook so I can nab some pics. The ruins were very interesting, but the price was much higher than expected. Recently they made some improvements to the site so they more than tripled their prices. We also had to buy a three day pass that allowed us access to two other ruins, there wasn’t a single day, 1 ruin pass. However we were a large group, and made a fuss about the price, so they gave us a guide for free.

Saturday night consisted of a talent show and auction to raise money for our Gender and Development(GAD) programs.

The talent show was pretty good, mostly people on guitar, including our country director who actually has a very nice singing voice. Go figure.

While G30 didn’t have any representatives in the talent show, I am proud [because I had sooo much to do with it naturally] to say that Dina Davis started the auction off with a bang. Her 5 watercolor paintings inspired a frenzied bidding, even though no one had actually seen the paintings before the auction. Minor organizational flaw. Personally, when I found out that Dina’s work was going up for sale, I made sure to comment about how talented she was whenever it came up. She did some amazing sketches and thank you cards during training. Considering how fierce the bidding because, I’m guessing that my g-mates were doing the exact same thing.

Other fun items for sale, a hair cut by one of the volunteers, and pedicure with the removal of up to 4 pique. I think I mentioned pique in an earlier post. Pique is a type of flea that generally gets into your feet, especially if you walk around in sandals or flip flops, buries itself just under the surface of your skin and lays eggs. It starts as a black spot, the flea, which is soon surrounded by a halo of white, the eggs. If you don’t dig the flea out with the eggs, eventually it will burst on its own, like a blister, oozing the egg matter all over. Awesome I know.

GAD initially thought they would make less than 100,000 from the auction. They ended up making 1,200,000ish.

After the auction there was a dance party. Yes, I danced. No, you cannot see proof. If I find any, I will destroy it.

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