Monthly Archives: April 2010

Little friends

Now, that is not said disparagingly. When I was little, little people were little, like me. Everybody else was big. Like my teachers. This is just some pictures of my little friends. Now that being said, I’m not sure how often I’ll post pictures. Being a good Mennonite and being in service, I would like to post when it doesn’t cost anything. We’ll see once.

These pics were taking on that weekend trip to San Pedro to visit Duane Penners.

The bad part, I forget her name. But she was the tea server, which makes her vitally important.

The rest of the children.

It is not good to forget names but I am. Hmm, maybe the next time these faces show up, I can summon my memory. Until then, they remain my “little friends“.

EJ

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A Legacy

A Legacy: Written in Response to My Grandpa’s Passing

It was to be expected. No one lives forever. No one, no matter how well his life was lived. And in the past few days, it was more and more apparent that his golden mansion was almost finished and ready for his arrival. But still, the finality of the call, both of Heaven’s call to him and the call that alerted me to his departure, reminds me again of the curse of death and the joyful release that it brings for the Christian.

On one hand, the curse of death. Today, humans are still suffering from the 2 bites of Eden’s fruit and death is part of that suffering. The sorrow it brings, the hole left in the affected family, the lonely days afterwards remind us of death’s odious stigma. It has been called the “Great Equalizer” for all must face it’s scythe. Youth bars it not. Vitality is not insured against it. The flower of life, in a moment, is trimmed by its impartial call. Power of people, power of nations and mountains of money staunches not the oncoming march of the Reaper. Death is arguably the cause of most of the world’s worries. And from a worldly perspective, death is unfair. All that a man has accumulated in his life is left behind for others to divide and squabble for. Solomon alluded to this.

But recently, death has lost that stigma. Not in a global sense but for me personally. I think it originally stemmed from a message that my bishop once preached on the subject. Prior to this, I never really thought of death as ‘release’ but today, I see it that way. Being young and full of zip, zing and zest, the thought of growing older and more feeble without having the release that death brings is mental torture. I can’t imagine that and I’m glad I don’t have to. This world is full of worry and afflictions. This is what Job referred to in saying, that, “cursed be the day that it was said a man child was born”. Life brings it’s pleasures, true. The smile that lights up the face of a little child, a rainbow after a storm, a tropical sunset, a soul connection with a friend, these are all pleasures that point us to God. In Him, we have all fulfillment and goodness. But let’s be real. Life throws us a bag of bad apples from the start. In a sense, it isn’t fair.

But, there is another Great Equalizer. The One that the Athenians unknowingly worshiped. He is also the One that modern skeptics try to argue away today. We, humans collectively, all have the opportunity to be “equalized” in this Being. In response to those 2 bites of fruit, God, in a unprecedented move, gave us His Son to bring us back to God. (Pardon me, but I won’t get into immense detail here. It is sufficient for my purposes that it be mentioned. In today’s society,one is either for or against. I’m making the assumption, quite validly I feel, that the majority of my readers are on the “pro” side of this point. And anyone who is reading this who is opposed, needs arguments greater than what can be given here currently. But if those arguments are needed, here is my email princeofthekingdom). This person was recognized and followed by Grandpa. In his life, it was apparent that he received his orders from God. But his life was never lived in show of Christianity. Meek and humble, with a easy and ready smile, he was always willing to take the time to talk. Nor in his latter days was he afraid to talk about his Jesus to those that came to see him. He had a compassionate concern for unsaved souls and was particularly active with the mission work in Haiti.

But change comes. We come and we go. And as I said, no one lives forever. I don’t wish Grandpa back to Earth. I have a peace about it. In fact, I dare say that we can righteously covet to be where he currently is. I know that I have already longed to be there. But here we are and the work remains. I have a life to live. This should not be read as a expression of self. Rather, in the light of what Grandpa has left me, do I say that. With this legacy of faith, can I do else but honor it? And the only proper way of doing so is by living as Grandpa lived. To disregard it and cast it aside is would taint the legacy that he left. But this I know, the hope that Grandpa had is mine as well. One day, I want to be there.

EJ

what is death without hope, thanks to Calvary, I’ll never know.

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Random thoughts on my quick trip up

Brazil: land of quarries and piscinas and long waits in their airports.
I still can’t sleep on airplanes. Maybe I could if…..
that volcano wouldn’t have erupted. The lady sitting beside me was in South Africa studying tribal law and was re-routed through Sao Paulo.
I still can’t sleep on airplanes. Wait, I said that.
It feels weird being home. I really want to go back to Paraguay.
It felt weird that within 24 hours after I was contemplating buying a Paraguayan fruit salad, I was slurping a Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappucino. Very tasty. Thanks to my bro, it was also very free.
I can sleep on airplanes. But I sleep better at home. A one hour nap in one’s own bed is worth 4 on a airplane. And that’s quotable.

And the last one,

What a heritage! I have a post solely on that coming next.

But first, somewhere they’re making Chinese food for me. Espero esta muy rica!

EJ

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a brief….

….description of the past days, chiefly what I’ve been working the past few days. And is it ever a mix. Instead of just building outdoor lawn funiture, houses and other buildings or on-site storage barns, my work is so varied, that it’s almost maddening. There are times when we chase our tails, or what’s left of ’em, and days when the work is virtually non-existent. My title, maintenance man, is so generic that it’s almost a mis-nomer. But it is also a good thing. I don’t think I could have put on my prayer card all the things that I’m required to do. In brief, here are the aspects of my work: herdsman, gofer, builder, remodeler, accountant, purchaser, seller, dariyman, chauffer, tour guide, ambulance driver, committee member, writer, student, logger, trash hauler, grass cutter and barber of myself (hint: if you cut short enough, you don’t need someone to trim you. Dad, why didn’t you tell me that?). Is that all? Wait, there is one more. Monkey pesterer! That can be the most enjoyable aspect of my day. Of course, they give the stress back. Because of some sort of deficiency, I don’t know what…wood maybe?, they chewed up their plywood monkey box. So, my first project was to build them a new one. Currently they only gnaw at it. As long as that is the extent of their damage, I’ll remain satisfied. Another recently finished project was a well top that was made for a old dry well behind the clinic. In this well, we dispose of all the used syringes. Considering that it was made out of some ‘wah-oo’ wood (wah-oo is the local term for bad or slightly lacking in perfection), it turned out okay. Now, there is a order on the table for another well top. This won’t be as hard to build….I think.

Of course, I don’t spend all my days in the shop. There is enough variety to keep things going. Today, I was getting good and started on a project with Joby when a call came for a transfer to Caaguazu. It wasn’t urgent but we drivers like to act like it is. It validates our fast driving! The current midwife on duty had other patients so Rosene went in her place. A nurse aid going solo on a transfer doesn’t happen too often but circumstances compelled otherwise this time. We had to stop just outside of Camp 9 to pick up some of her relatives, of the patient that is, not Rosene’s. All went well, meaning the police didn’t stop us and traffic was light, until we came to Caaguazu. Making all the correct, or so I thought, turns, we couldn’t find the hospital! Fortuanately, this wasn’t a emergency which gave us some time to drive around. The grandmother that went with thought it was amusing that we couldn’t find the hospital. Finally, we stopped and she asked directions, much to our American relief. After we dropped them off, we drove through town and discovered where we went wrong. Filing that info away for later use, I turned the van’s stub nose homeward and away we went, drinking tea all the way. Again, the police let us pass in peace. Whew.

The variety is great. On one day, I’m sticking cows, much fun. The next day, I’m being stuck, not so much fun but a cinch as the nurse doing it has had much practice. Who knows what I’ll being doing tomorrow. It could be sanding trim in preparation of reinstalling it on a remodeled room or it could be picking up a broken down vehicle. I hope I don’t jinx us as currently all our vehicles are out of the shop, a event that, given our past 4 month recored, calls for a ice cream celebration. Almost. More like a terere toast. Maybe it’ll be another transfer. Or maybe some wah-oo wiring. I know of one valve that needs replacing. Maybe I’ll do that.

But now, my laptop is sending my warning signals of a lack of juice, so ciao
EJ

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He’s gone

Ha, as I wrote the title, the Easter song, "He’s Gone, the Spotless Soul Is Gone" sprung to my mind. Well, that HE is gone but He’s gonna come back. That thought should get any Christian fired up. No, the ‘he’ I refer to is the guy I replaced. Yesterday, at midday, he began his trek to the land of his abode, via ‘Jaw-juh’. That is spelled phonetically with the correct spelling being Georgia. Alas, this was the final event that was to signify that I am truly here. And it did. Charlene asked me, when we were at the airport, if the finality of his leaving is finally sinking in. I affirmed that it was. Even then, the event wasn’t terribly emotional. Of course, the person leaving was a guy. If it would have been a ‘dama’, it probably would have been different. But, as I said, change happens. Even by holding still and remaining in one place, one changes. A lot. Gravity takes affect. Young people become old. Babies grow up. Hair falls out.

Okay, enough of the examples. I was at the C. de. Este airport. Those of us that went to take Marcos to the airport were Maynards (4), Joby (the other maintance man), Rosene, Charlene, (nurse aides), Joanna, (former nurse aide and current stomach filler), Frederico and Diosenel (the Paraguayan workers) and of course the writer. Even after we departed and were going home, it hadn’t sunk in. Last night, sitting around the campfire with the staff, we thought about him. Today, on transfer, I mentioned to Rosene that it’s beginning to sink in. Whenever I needed a word, either in conversation with a Paraguayan or just for my vocabulary, he was there. When I wondered where a tool was, he knew. If I had a question on anything, he was there to answer it. But not no more.

And if it sounds like I’m writing detachedly or writing that he didn’t do a worthy job of ‘maintaining’, I assure you I’m not. I envy his fluency in Castiallano (that’s what the locals call it. they know that it isn’t good enough to qualify for Espanol. or so says my source). He was ‘muy amable‘ to work with, whether it was at the clinic or at church or running errands to and in town.
He will be missed but we all recognize that change happens, life goes on, people come and people go. But through it all, one constant remains….God. And those that knew Mark during his time in Paraguay knew that he had that constant.

But que en el mundo, life goes on and so must I.

the Ericulean Edit

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A tale of two cities

Yuck, some mornings come too soon. Waking up cold, I looked at the digits of the alarm clock and 0115 looked back at me. Burrowing deeper under warmth that was non-existent, I was just hoping to make one hour longer.t I made it for 2 more. I awoke and glanced at the clock. 0330! Vidiminay! No that is not Spanish but it is what I felt. Rocketing out of my bunk, I was already reaching for a shirt by the time Joby came up the steps. I had awoken when he called the first time. Today we had to go to Asuncion.

(editor’s note: here is the really condensed version. Sorry but that’s what happens when you write about events that happened a couple days previous)

Burned my mouth on mate on the way in. Spent some time at Migrations. Went to get my passport verified. Did some running around with Maynard. Bought a belt. Should have bought more stuff but I didn’t. Discovered that someone broke the van window. Ate cat food, a.k.a., Chinese. Found a name tag place. Sent Marcos to the ‘centro de bugiar’, a term he coined, to catch a bus. Ended up we beat him home. Ate chipa and drank cafe dulce on the way back. A full and tiring day. The best part was we got all the paperwork done that we needed to get done.

Later in the week, on Saturday:

After breakfast, Mark, Maynard, Maria and I went to Ciudad del Este to get Maria’s visa stamped. Mark and I also wanted to shop in the city a little bit. But getting into town proved to be very difficult. East bound traffic headed into the city was blocked up about 3 kilometers from the border and the street vendors were crazy insistent. Finally Mark and Maria just walked down to the Immigrations office to get the stamp. They actually came back and after briefly discussing our options, Maynard and Maria went back to the clinic and Mark and I headed out on foot. A interesting time was spent dodging through crowds, fingering merchandise and leaving before the salespeople descend. Needful time was spent developing a rude crust to the street hawkers of various China trinkets. It’s at those times that I hate my American status. They see you, think you have money and think that you want what they have to offer. One insistent guy, trying to sell me a China knockoff of a 32GB Kingston jumpdrive, kept coming down in price. Let me back up a little. Mark had purchased a Kingston 16 or a 32 GB in a electronics store, one that I examined and thought was ‘legit’. I was curious at what the street price was. A boneheaded move. Initially, the vendor said 90 mil, about $18-20. I said, Esta bien

, that’s good, and left. Well he saw a potential sale leaving and tried again. I told him, no, I have one. After about 20 paces I hear him again. This time his price was 75 mil, about $14. Knowing he would tail me and not wanting that, I spoke to him in a language that he could understand, el precio esta bien pero no falto!(the price is fine but I don’t lack/need one). Throwing this over my shoulder in a slightly stern, albeit necessary, tone of voice, I hurried to lose myself in the press of other vendors of various goods, some valid, others not so valid.

Probably what stood out the most about the day, after 2 other facts, (the first being that this is the day that my personal account went underground, I.e, in the hole and that #2, that Ciudad del Este has micro 4/3 cameras) was a little tienda that Mark and I patronized toward the end of our shopping. I was looking for some work shirts and, spotting some int a window, went in to investigate further. Okay, so these days, with the language barrier being more like a shocking fence then a 10 ft. deer fence, the conversation didn’t just flow. Still, unlike eager sellers in other stores, the young lady that waited on us was nice and actually friendly. The best part was that she didn’t push her wares on us. I was impressed. If I can remember where that store was, I think that I’ll go back some more. Hey, service, the right kind that is, sells and this actually felt like stateside service….finally for a change.

I realize that sometimes you have to be aggressive to get the sale but some of these people are ‘mal educado‘, badly educated. This one guy had a alarm clock that Mark and I agree that we would have bought from him if he would have cared about working with us. We would have overlooked his constantly butting into OUR private conversations with his penny’s worth knowledge of English words if he would have been more attentive. Fine, we’ll take our 120,000G elsewhere.

And sometimes determination is a good thing. This one Sony street hawker heard me inquire about a Panasonic camera and he and his buddy actually took me to several stores till we found what I wanted. But, que varva, it was expensive and ultimately I didn’t buy.

Having decided that we were done shopping we hopped on a double decker San Luis bus for the trip home. Actually, it was a plane disguised as a bus. Considering that the price was only 25 mil a ticket, it was also one of the cheapest flights I’ve ever had. Even at the station, we knew that this driver was going to be fast. He had his bus edging away from the terminal as people were still getting on, much to the frustration of some people. Mark and I squeezed on and headed up the steps, looking for empty seats. There were none to be had so we stood for the 75 minutes that it took to get home. Passengers, meet Mr. Lead Foot. San Luis is known as being a speedy bus line and is usually thought of as being the option for those that are desperate or those satisfied with life and who have their life insurance paid up. They have had their share of accidents. And when you hear of people who were travelling the highway at 160 KPH and were passed by San Luis…it makes one check for other options. But we made the trip without any incidents or accidents.

Part of my job involves finance and accounting. It’s fun spending money but sometimes the reckoning is painful. I have to keep track of what account I’m spending for, myself or the clinic and in those 2 main accounts, under which categories. So, after spending about 1 million Guarinis, Mark helped me balance my account. It’s a little difficult as he and I are on the same account. But it came out within 500 Gs of being equal. Here, that’s like less than $0.015.

And so, that is a recent tale of recent happenings on recent trips to 2 modern day cities.

EJ

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Update April 7

Here is a excerpt from my journal. Unlike most, I journal to keep track of events and interesting times. It also cuts down on the creation of blog material , hence the reason I like it so much. Also, in a effort to achieve better readability and clarity in the presentation of my blog posts, if there are any errors, either in typing or in the sentence syntax and structure, send me a private email. Por favor y muchos gracias. Please and thank you very much for you non-speakers of Castiallano.

Sunday 4: Got up and chored, mainly I milked the cow. Then I slept for about a half hour. But once I’m awake, it’s hard for me to fall asleep again. So, I got up and started having devotions when my phone rings. It was Armi telling me that there is a transfer coming up. Yippee! On saturday, I had said that I wished I’d get one ‘cuz I couldn’t think of what to do to keep myself busy. A transfer is a half hour of work, if not more. So I found Mark, who was wiping the remnants of sleep from his eyes. He had previously said that he’d go along on a transfer if it happened in his time here. The dad of this particular unborn had to go somewhere for something, which gave me time to inhale some breakfast and get some cold water for tea. This transfer wasn’t urgent but I still drove down to the clinic. Good timing as the man had come back and within 5 minutes we were on our way. Normally, the transfers go to the hospitals in Camp 9 or Caaguazu. But today we headed to Conel Oveidio, which is over a hour away from the clinic. Arriving in town, we went to the I.P.S. Hospital, which is a government-run/sponsored/staffed or something. Not sure which. Mark and I waited outside as the other three, the couple and Armi, disappeared inside the building. Even though we waited a solid, if not more than, 15 minutes, the wait was pleasant. I’m discovering that the best way to amuse a Paraguayan is to start talking to him in Castiallano and then move the conversation into a lets-learn-Guarini session. The guard outside the door was a pleasant fellow and even though he did teach Mark and I a Guarini word, he didn’t teach it well enough for us to remember ‘cuz I forget what it was. It was the Guarini word for money. Coming back, we could have caught the closing prayer at church but decided that it wasn’t worth it. Lunch was down at the clinic. In typical Paraguayan manner, the food was empanadas and mandioca with ketchup on the side. Even though we eat it so often, it still manages to slip, in various bits and pieces, down the throats of those doing the consuming.

In the afternoon, Keith Eichorn came over with some of his German guests to visit the clinic or more specifically, and much to her chagrin, Joanna. She had met them on her latest trip down and as a result of a extended layover in Sao Paulo, got to talking with them. In the course of the conversation, the town that she worked in and one of the towns that they were going to visit was revealed to be the same. The head German fella knew Mark Eichorns from before and had been to Paraguay a time or two before but this was the first visit for his two buddies. He, German #1, lives in Cologne and is a zookeeper. His claim to fame was that he had been the first European to work at the Itapiu Zoo. As a result, when he saw the monkey cage, he thought it was utterly barbaric and said that the needed more space and trees to climb. After receiving the translation through Keith, I couldn’t help laughing. I told Keith that they make for better stress relief in a smaller cage. He too thought it was funny but the German zookeeper didn’t find it as humorous, though he did smile. That afternoon was about as frustrated as I’ve been communicating in another language and it made me realize how much Castiallano I really know (here I interject that I don’t know enough). But in Castillano, at least I can make a accurate guess as to what the are saying and know roughly where the words stop and start. Even though the sounds were the same crossing the P.A. Dutch/German barrier, it was still foreign enough that I got lost quickly. But I got a charge out of this guy all the same. He told us how he filmed some ‘half-monkeys’ in Madagascar. His talk reminded me of something that Snopes would be iinterested in but he said that he would send us the DVD that he made as proof. Well, in that case and provided that he pays for the shipping, of course! So in about 2 months, maybe I can see these creatures in the third person. They left and I tried to study but soon gave it up.

Monday 5: With Mark having quit and Joby being interested elsewhere, namely the deepening of his special friendship, I was the only maintenance guy on call. A busy day. I finished the new ‘casa de mono‘ or monkey house to put that back into English. Now I have to paint it. About 0800, Samuel’s electricians showed up to do some work, part of which was expected and part that wasn’t expected. They did the unexpected first. When Ray Stutzman, a name familiar to all of us staff, was here a couple months ago, he was so impressed with the rope lighting that Romans have at their house in Belleza that he got ‘board approval’, and around here, that is ‘carte blanch’, to install it in our pavilion. Interesting, great and cool. He had told someone that it was coming sometime so technically this wasn’t unexpected. So the part that was unexpected was that the bill was to be sent to him. Even better. Now I’m desperately racking my brain, trying to figure out how to get A board member to drive Mark Eichorn’s new van. I have a couple more months till delegation so maybe I can come up with something.

The rest of the day, the electricians worked on putting in a new transformer for the clinic. Come on down and I’ll explain why this is a improvement on the place here.

later and in need of food,
EJ

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Santa Semana Update

My mind doth fail me of what I posted last in the way of updates of my adventure in the subtropics. With our Internet connection being kaput at the clinic, I can’t even update online via Gmail to WordPress. And given all that has happened and some of my musings, which I’m compiling for a later post, I know the material is in me for a write but to do so, I have to go to the Cyber-cafe or to a friend for some wireless (hmm, I’m wondering if this dependence on Internet is a good thing but if I’d quit, my phone card bill would go up). And the most I’m paying for wireless is 5 million Guarinis a hour. It sounds like a lot but that comes to…$1.20, I think.

A lot has happened since I last wrote, chiefly this. I have begun to work. But allow me to bring this narrative to that point, beginning back on Friday, the 26th. That morning, I got up at 0430. Aiyiyi, what insanity prompted me to do so? I had one more unit of Rosetta Stone to do and I was determined to do it before I officially began working. I also had a invitation to go to Marios to help them clean fish. There was a little miscommunication about this; I thought I was helping them clean out their ponds but they wanted me to fillet about 2 dozen tiliapia for them. Remember the fish soup? I had mentioned back then that I knew how to fillet and that that would remove the time-consuming task of picking out all the bones. I accomplished both tasks that day; I completed Rosetta Stone, all 5 units of it, and filleted those fish and even threw in a attempted fillet job on me, just to keep things interesting.

One’s allowed to be lazy at times, right? Saturday was such a day. After breakfast, Mark took us maintenance guys to the “Polacos”, a Polish family that has a small tree nursery. I think it’s more of a side business than there main income. But they have all kinds of trees and plants for your Paraguayan garden. After we came back, I zonked out on the rest of the day. I revived later that evening as a storm system brewed in the east. Grabbing my camera, I attempted to get some sheet lightning shots. Note the verb….attempted. But I did get enough to encourage me to do it again sometime.

On Sunday, after a killer lunch, the youth went to pass out Antorchas in Calle Siete. It was the first time for me and the first time in awhile for the youth. Other times I think they had been rained out or something to that extent. We were done surprisingly fast, I thought but hey, that makes for more tea-drinking time. No services in the evening so the staff hung out in the pavilion and played multiple rounds of Scum.

On Monday, we had staff day. These are supposed to happen once every quarter but from what I hear they don’t always happen according to that schedule. But today we did. We, that is the majority of the staff, left around 7 for the are of Villarica. There we climbed a “hill”, Paraguay does have mountains, to a waterfall. It took around 40 minutes to hike to this point but once there, we rapidly cooled out of the sweat that we had broken into. We were there for about 1 hour and began heading back. On the way out of the canyon/gulley/ravine, I noticed a side trail and getting Mark’s permission, I headed down it. But it led deeper into the ravine and I wanted at least another guy along. Heading back, I met the others who had stopped and were watching a stonecutter going about his work. They didn’t stay long and as the others left, Mark, Joby and I headed back down that trail. It didn’t lead to where I hoped it would, which was more of a mini-canyon were the water was rushing through. But I did get some photos and nearly learned my 4th language. Coming off a rock pile where I was shooting some pictures, my foot slipped and got pinched between some more rocks. It didn’t hurt that bad but when we got back to the clinic, I almost needed crutches. We headed back down the hill at a rapid pace. There was a magnet in our insides. I’m not sure if it was a positive or a negative but it corresponded to the magnet called, “food cooler”. We met up with the others down at the bottom of the hill and found the others in various stages of repose. They all revised themselves and we commenced to the consumption of ‘comida‘. With the food stowed safely away in various locales, we then needed more exercise to work off our surplus consumption. This took 2 forms. The first was volleyball down by the creek. A most interesting court. On the one side it had mud and slime for its surface and on the other was sand, HOT sand. I played on the sandy part and it, the sand that is, pulled moves out of my that I didn’t know I had. Someone commented that they think we may have 4th degree burns by the time we were down playing. Needless to say, this was not a nurse or a nurse aid that made that comment. Nonetheless, we played and proceeded to find the second of our 2 exercises, the swimming pool. Fortunately, the place boasted 2 such devices. When this exercise was completed, it was time to return, which we did. Of course, as many could guess, numerous frivolities happened to make the return trip enjoyable but due to the tedious nature of recounting all of them in detail, I shan’t write them here.

Upon our return, it was decided by our illustrious director that a staff meeting was in order. So to staff meeting we went. It was just for staff, couldn’t you guess by the name of it?, and what all we talked about will remain with staff. But a moment occurred that I will talk about. The first item on the agenda was…me or rather what that day, Monday the 29th meant for me. Technically, it was my first day of work but since it was staff day, I no workee. With a twist of the wrist, I saw Mark’s phone at eye-level. Dumbly I took it. Next, was a ring of llaves. These I took amid some applause. Just like that, my time clock began ticking and Mark’s had quit. So, in about 63,072,000 seconds of 1900 last Monday night, I will be doing the same to someone else. But until then, I have over 63 million seconds of work in Paraguay. This figure does not have my vacation days and days off figured into the calculation. So far, I think this is the most important event that has happened to me.

And since I’m on the clock, I also have maintenance duties in other places as well, namely in Belleza. The roads coming back were bad but we made good time. Again, for brevity’s sake, I’m omitting trip details. Suffice it to say, it will take a trip or two till I have the route memorized. Now, after having put in a day’s work here in Belleza, I’m ready to sleep and sleep well. Until then, I’ll socialize and……

….look forward to 2 more days off this week. It’s Santa Semana, Holy Week, and almost all Paraguayan workers have off Thursday and Friday. This is namely a Roman Catholic observation and since we employ some national workers, it affects us to. We won’t be working on Friday but Thursday possibly will be spent doing odd jobs. Depending what we would do, we could also work on Friday, provided the work we do does not make any noise that our neighbors could hear. And, if we like, we could also take those 2 days off, which I’m inclined to do. But I’ll probably continue my studies in Castillano.

Until then, I’ll continue to begin to work and muse upon the hypotheticals of learning a new language.

EJ

ps: since this was written back in Belleza, I have absorbed 3+ hours worth of Vitamin D without sunblock. I’m beginning to have ‘misericordia‘ on certain crabs that were fried during a recent youth trip. But other than, that I have no ‘misericordia‘ on the supper that I’m about to inhale.

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