That means “My name is Moley,” in Guarani. Yes, as in full of moles.
Just kidding about the moley part, that’s just what it sounds like to me when pronounced by Paraguayans (and others in my group who find it hilarious). Most Paraguayans arrive, with difficulty, to the conclusion that my name is spelled Moli. Not too shabby. It’s extra cute when your 9 year old host brother makes you cards all the time that say “Para Moli Linda” (more or less: For cute Molly)
Sorry that I’ve been lacking blogging inspiration, I’ll try and update more often, now that I theoretically will have more access to the internet for the next month!
This week was the San Juan festival, a popular celebration in Paraguay. We originally were going to go to Asuncion to their big celebration, but it was cancelled because of the weather so we had a mini-celebration at our training center, complete with:
-Pin the tail on the Pig
– Pinatas(ish): Substitute the Pinatas for gigantic ceramic pots, substitute a children’s baseball bat for a 6 foot 2×4, substitute a little fun for a whole lot of danger (and still a whole lot of fun). During this activity the Paraguayan teachers couldn’t stop laughing and remarking that they bought the hardest ceramic pots they’d ever seen, they thought we’d never actually crack one open.
-Traditional Food and Drink: Mbeju-a dry/cheesy bread thing, can be delicious depending on the chef; Cocido Quemado: tea that you make by boiling water on gigantic pieces of charcoal, once at a boil you use a spoon to put big chunks of the now burning charcoal into a plate of sugar mixed with yerba mate (tea leaves), where you let it sit for a second to burn/caramelize?, and then you pour all of this mixture into the water. Last step: strain the big chunks out. Not carcinogenic in the least.
-Lots of games that try and predict your future– future spouse, when you will marry, if you’ll have a house, a baby, or become a nun, etc.
-According to the game where you hold a ring on a strand of hair and then lower it into a glass half full of water while holding as still as possible, I will get married in 6 years, because it clanked the side of the glass 6 times.
-You’re also supposed to sleep with names written on crumpled up sheets of paper below your pillow, and the first one you pull out in the morning is the name of who you will marry, or has the same first letter as who you will marry. I got an “M.” I tried to convince my 9 year old host brother (whose nickname is Monchi) that this meant I was going to marry him, to which he wasn’t particularly receptive.
-At random times through this festival it seems people will just yell out, “Que dice San Juan?” response: “San Juan dice que SI!!!!!” (What does San Juan say? San Juan says yes!)
I haven’t blogged in so long I didn’t get to write about my 4 day visit to a current volunteer! It was great, it was to San Cosme y Damian, about a 7 hour bus ride from where I currently am. They have the only planetarium in Paraguay (where I got to see a lunar eclipse while I was there!), lots of Jesuit ruins that we toured, and what appears to be a nice little lake (which isn’t as nice when you get up close and see the tops of houses and trees sticking out of it, and learn that it used to be just a river but flooded the area after the Yacyreta Dam was built), although it still made for a beautiful sunset. Seeing a site made me super excited about getting my future site and getting started on projects!
Lastly, the things I”m still getting used to about Paraguay:
-No one speaks purely Spanish, even if they claim they do, it’s always mixed with Guarani (which means I need to get going on learning it!)
-The dogs are fierce, not cuddly. Even our little baby puppy at our house doesn’t want to snuggle, it just wants to bite your feet as you walk around (I think this is more related to my 9 year old brother hitting it around all the time)
-Needing to wash my clothes by hand, and wash my underwear in the shower (which I avoid at all costs). Due to the rain I can’t wash clothes this weekend, and I’m down to nothing. Ben’s advice: “Underwear- just turn them inside out, and then you got double the pairs”
-Roosters crowing at all hours of the night
-The dirt roads which are not uniform or even in any way. Quite treacherous at night, especially treacherous when wet at night. I have no idea how I will keep any pairs of shoes/jeans acceptably clean while I am here.
…and lots of other things which I will include in my next blog post. Is there anything you want to hear about specifically??