Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recovery and Impending Road Trip

I'm doing much better, and have been much too busy to really get to sit down and write out a well thought out blog post. I've been working in the church office all week and really, really like doing this work. I've been doing data entry on Excel sheets for the padrinos or sponsors for the kids at the school. Nuevas Alturas provides free education to the poor of Lambare, but in order to do that, people need to choose a child to sponsor and pay for the education, which comes out to $10 per month, per child, and they try to raise at least three padrinos per child. It took about two days to enter the renewals and new sponsors and to color code who was new, who renewed, and who needed to be sent a renewal notification. I came up with the system myself because the one that the Birs were using was extremely complex and I decided it was easier just to use my own. It ended up being faster, too. Today I took the addresses from the Excel sheets and put them into Microsoft Word and printed off a few hundred envelopes. I then had to sort the envelopes according to the same color coding system that I used on the Excel sheets. It's a tough job, but they really needed someone to do it and I love being able to help. Also, I'm a huge techie nerd, so this is awesome for me.

I have become a neat freak while I've been here. You may all gasp and faint now, if you'd like, especially if you've seen my room in its....special state. Cleaning here is a great way to zone out. I've become insanely organized, because when you have limited things from home, it's easy to freak out if you can't find something because you can't exactly go to Wal-Mart and replace whatever it is. So, if I start getting bummed out, I'll straighten up my room or reorganize my shoes or something. It helps a lot. Hopefully it will stick and stay when I'm home.

Rain here is a huge issue. This is their winter season, and they don't have snow. Today was about the same temperature as late October to early November and is about as cold as it gets. The real problem is the large amounts of rain. It doesn't rain buckets, but even a little rain here can cause huge problems because of the lack of proper drainage systems and the condition of many of the homes and neighborhoods, as well as the roads, which are the most atrocious roads that I have ever seen. Do not complain about a US street until you have driven down the roads in Paraguay. They are awful. But, because a lot of the neighborhood roads are dirt or stone (No, not brick. Jagged stone.) and there isn't a developed gutter or drain, the roads flood terribly.
 Sis.Bir says that the flooding in these pictures isn't even really bad compared to what she has seen while she's been there. She says that water has been known to get to the hood of their truck! This is why it's very hard for people to get to church or school when the rains hit. It's really amazing how much we take for granted, like gutter systems.

Here's something that I thought was actually better here. While I'm not incredibly crazy about the Paraguayan food overall, with the exception of empanadas or giso, meat here is so much better, and seems to be a lot...fresher. After I took this picture, Sis.Bir finally told me that you're technically not allowed to take pictures in grocery stores, which is a real shame. The delis here are insane! It's like being in Anatomy and Physiology all over again. Fresh liver, and when I say fresh, I mean, it's bleeding and was probably removed from the cow five minutes before I saw it, right out in the open for you to check and pick and choose. It's amazing and I really hope that I can somehow sneak a picture before I leave. It's fascinating. But, this is one of the meat stands, right next to the baked goods. The cows I saw in the random field were missing yesterday. I think I found them.
Speaking of the baked goods, there they are. Be jealous.

I got some really good news today, too!

I may being going to Argentina at the end of this month! Bro.Bir has been asked to go to Rosario and Buenos Aires and they are going to take me with them for a week! I'm really excited because although I flew through Buenos Aires, I wasn't able to see anything that I had wanted to. I've wanted to go there since I was little, and I 'm really excited to finally have the chance. I'll post more details as I get them!

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