April 30, 2002 - Cumberland Times-News: Nick Valentine official Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Paraguay: Peace Corps Paraguay: The Peace Corps in Paraguay: April 30, 2002 - Cumberland Times-News: Nick Valentine official Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-48-41.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 12:07 pm: Edit Post

Nick Valentine official Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay

Nick Valentine official Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay

Fort Hill grad official Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay

Editor's note: Nick Valentine, a 1997 Fort Hill High School graduate who is assigned to Paraguay while in the Peace Corps, submitted this article.

As of Friday, I have become an official Peace Corps volunteer in the field of environmental sanitation here in Paraguay. These past three months have been spent in technical and language training. The languages spoken here are Spanish and Guarani.

Most everyone knows Spanish, but they prefer to speak Guarani. It is difficult to explain how Guarani sounds. For example, "Mbae'chepa nde ka'aru," pronounced as it looks, means "How is your afternoon?" The response is almost always "Ipora," pronounced epora, through the nose, which means fine.

The climate here is really hot and humid most of the time. It rains every couple of days. The seasons are the opposite of what they are in the United States. The geography is fairly flat, and the forests look similar to those in Allegany County except that there are palm and citrus fruit trees. My particular site is San Patricio, and it is about 180 miles east of the capital city of Asuncion. It is kind of like a wetlands area, so I see a lot of interesting birds and the occasional crocodile.

My project includes a number of site-specific issues. I will be installing running water and modern bathrooms for the high school and elementary school, as well as teaching English in the summer vacation months. I will also be constructing sanitary latrines and teaching about proper hygiene and general health issues.

I will also be teaching Paraguayans about America and Americans because they have some interesting beliefs about us. For example, a family at my site was watching the movie "Face Off" and asked me if it was common to have your faced placed on another person's face. It is easy to laugh at this, but they ask me with sincerity these types of questions. Essentially all of their knowledge about Americans comes from movies.

Paraguayans in the countryside are unbelievably nice and giving. Even though they do not have much money, they are always willing to share their food and resources. I had been living with a family during training, and when I left, every one of my 11 brothers and sisters told me there is always a place in the family for their "norteamericano" little brother.

As the opportunity presents itself, I will write updates about life here and what I have been doing. In the meantime, say hello to my family if you see them.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Cumberland Times-News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Paraguay



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.