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.


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.

Categories: Paraguayan Parables | Leave a comment

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