Dion woke up before I did, as usual. So I used his pillow, and slept for another hour. Sunlight filled our bedroom as I begin to open my eyes on this beautiful Wednesday.
Today we will meet with our youth group at 9am, 5 blocks away from our house. Dion told me it was 8:50, but I know that means it is probably around 8:20. He knows me so well, but I humor him and act like I’m rushing to get ready. As I shower, he cut tomatoes and garlic to add to cold beans and rice. Usually I cook a pot of oatmeal for breakfast, but during Paraguayan summers, cold beans and rice is the way to go! We both take a large swig of water and we’re out.
Dion goes to water our garden and I yell to our neighbor ‘Mba’éichapa Ne’ko’ẽ Che Sy’ (Mm-ba-esh-a-pa Ne-ko-eh Shey-suh) which pretty much means, Good Morning Mom in Guaraní. As we walk to Abraham’s house, we pass many familiar faces and are met with smiles, waves and kisses! Or maybe it’s the other way around, but everyone responds with smiles, waves and kisses, so it’s like the same thing
We are the first to arrive, and we begin to drink tereré with Abraham’s parents. We’re not expecting many members to come. All we need to do is visit a few more local businesses to ask for donations for our Free Movie and Snack Night we’re planning for Christmas evening. So far everyone we’ve asked has donated cookies, candy, juice, soda, cash, Christmas bread (fruit cake), gift bags or popcorn. Generosity, especially towards children, is one of the core values of our community. Diego arrives. Then Aurora and we’re off at 9:30am.
Our youth group is pretty awesome. They are our best friends here, and I probably get mushy on them a little too often, but I don’t think saying or showing love to someone ever gets old. Haha, I hope they agree.
I recently discovered that my backtone (the tone people hear when they call me) is a song that I must have accidentally purchased. And it’s popular, so Diego and I are singing it while walking, “Si un día piensas en mi, solo llamame…” and as we walk, drink tereré and ask businesses for donations, we all take turns singing random songs and probably having a little too much fun. 1.5 hours and 5 full bags later, we are hot, exhausted and hungry so we decide to head back.
As we drop off our bags at Abraham’s house, we realize that this is the first time that we’ve entered the living area. Usually we spend time with his family in their store, which is technically the front part of the house. His dad is also surprised at this fact, and so he gives us a tour. We discover they have a 200 year old tree in their backyard. It’s huge! And with the best shade I’ve seen so far in Paraguay. I definitely foresee Jóvenes en Acción (JEA) meetings taking place here in the near future.
It is 12:30pm when we return home and eat a watermelon for lunch. Then Dion washes clothes and I clean the house. The urge to sing has not left my system yet so I search for music to sing to… Bob Marley? … Erykah Badu? … Sade? … Aretha? Dion always says I listen to the same stuff, so I decide to go with Aaliyah. I haven’t listened to her in years and I start to think about one of my old friends back home (Miss you Nicole!). Followed by Beyoncé, which causes me to think about another close friend back home, who is ironically also a Nicole (Miss you too girl!). The house is clean and I eat a cold mango.
It is 2:30pm and I hear a clap outside. Dion is exercising, so I go to our patio to greet María. She is a member from our youth group, but hasn’t participated for the past 3 weeks. So we catch up, eat some bread and drink tereré. Dion joins in, and about 1 hour or so later, María goes home. I do the 12 Sivananda poses and take a shower.
It’s almost 5pm and I call Isaiah. We discuss and finalize duties to carry out our marketing strategy for the annual leadership camp we’ve been planning for the past few months. The camp takes place the first week of January, so most of our efforts will be helpful the next time around in appealing to prospective sponsors, providing the participants with useful resources for community projects and maintaining contact with youth groups. In short, JoPa MarCom team rocks! Check us out… www.facebook.com/JoPaXParaguay … http://jovenesporparaguay.wordpress.com … www.twitter.com/JoPaXParaguay
Sometime during my 45 minute phone conversation with Isaiah, our close friend, Professor Rafael drops by. I am so excited to see him! It’s been a long time and we have so much to catch up on. He is an elementary school teacher, a radio personality, a politician and absolutely hilarious! So I join in on the convo with Dion, eat some popcorn, followed by tereré. Profe Rafa invites us to talk on his radio show sometime between 7-9pm. And as he leaves, Rosa arrives. She sells us homemade bread every week and, if she has time, we usually drink tereré. But she started selling her bread a little late today, so we only hung out for a few minutes. The bread was still warm, and I cut off a piece immediately. I LOVE bread.
It is 6:30pm and María arrives as I cut off a second piece of bread. Dion takes down the dry clothes as María and I leave to collect donations from 3 businesses. But first we stop for empanadas and mandioca. We return to find Cary and Dion drinking tereré. Cary is also a member of our youth group, and hasn’t participated for the past couple of months. She is 1 of 4 members of JEA that just graduated from high school last week and fyi, I was a complete mess at their graduation. We’re going to miss them so much!
At 7:40pm, Cary and María head home. María was planning to walk with us to the radio station to promote our Christmas movie night, but since Cary offered to drive her home, Dion and I went solo. Everything went well on the show, and we headed home.
It’s 9pm, and Dion’s got the tired eyes. He takes a shower, I’m on the internet. Then I take a shower, and he’s on the internet. And then Dion gets in bed, and I begin to write this blog a little after 10pm.
It’s now 12:51am. And this is why I usually don’t write blogs! But I want to learn to enjoy writing, so until next time … Goodnight