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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beating the Christmas Heat

Well it is without a doubt the hottest holiday season I have experienced in my 23 years of existence. We are averaging about 37-41 degrees Celsius and for those of you keeping track at home that is hot and tipping upper 90s low 100s. To add fuel to the already sweltering inferno my new home has the unfortunate honor of being on a street that does not have running water when it gets too hot. I am faced with this strange dichotomy of living in a home that lacks consistent access to water something that is definitely a developmental goal for a developing nation while at the same time having the ability to hop on the family’s computer to use the Internet at my leisure. In fact the other day I helped my community contact take a photo from an album of pictures he had taken when he was younger, scan it onto their computer, and create a Facebook account. At the same time I had to go out to the well that has a small trickle of water that the family uses for water to fill a bucket in order to clean myself.
As I think about my particular predicament I marvel at the day-to-day lives of the people in the community. Everyone has various amounts of animals that include chickens, cows, pigs, dogs, horses, and sheep. At the same time everyone has cell phones and in most cases they have 2 because of the different cell phone providers there are in Paraguay. Today for example I saw wood being used as the primary fuel source to support the fires of my host families brick building business they have behind the small amount of land they use to cultivate mandioca a staple of the Paraguayan diet. I also saw my 12 year old host sister hop on a motorcycle with her 10 and 3 year old brother without helmets drive down to the corner chop to by a 2 liter bottle of coke-a-cola. It amazes me to see how there are 21st century technology like satellite TV, cell phones, and computers coupled along side traditional farming practices of ox drawn plows, horse drawn carts, and extensive manual labor.
For me my days are spent trying to beat the heat by drinking copious amounts of terere (yerba mate served cold in a cup or hollowed out animal horn drank through a bombilla or metal straw), laying around in my hammock reading, trying to explain to people around the community what I am doing here, and trying my best to learn 2 languages at the same time. Needless to day some of those tasks are much harder then others. I live right of the main road that connects several communities to O’Leary. Since it hasn’t rained since I have been here the dust the huge trucks that drive through carrying mainly agricultural goods kick up enough dust to blind a man, but all in all life is good. I miss everyone back home especially this time of year and would love a phone call, (+595-985-682-272) email, or even a letter for my Christmas present. Until next time wishing you and yours a happy holidays and hope to hear from some of you soon.


  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Paraguay? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Paraguay in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and a original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog, where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

  2. Hi Thomas,

    Good speaking with you last night. I think your accounts are good and vivid.

    Merry Christmas.