Tag Archives: literacy

Cayendo Hacia Arriba en Paraguay

23 Jan

Through a donation from the author himself, Cayendo Hacia Arriba (Falling Uphill), finally made  its Paraguayan debut!

Scott Stoll is an author from my hometown who served as the U.S. Embassy’s cultural ambassador in Argentina during the 2011-2012 school year.  His time in Argentina and collaboration with Argentine schools resulted in a Spanish language version of his book, Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life, about his 4 year journey around the world on his bicycle.

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Thanks to a generous book donation from Scott a group of Paraguayan youth at a national leadership camp called Jóvenes por Paraguay were able to plan a short reading workshop for kids at a nearby orphanage.

IMG_0029IMG_0052The teenage youth and younger kids seemed to love the story equally– always receiving big laughs at the part of the story where Scott says he got stuck in mud in the desert until a family rescued him.  The family told him he was in luck that they came, because anacondas, tarantulas and piranhas love the taste of people from the United States.

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It was great to watch the teenagers work together to plan how they were going to present the books to the youth and what activities and games they were going to play with the kids.  The book donation was one of six projects that was used to introduce Paraguayan youth at the camp to volunteer projects and community service.  You can read a bit more about that camp in this post.

Cayendo Hacia Arriba inspired a group of Paraguayan youth to try out literacy service projects in their own communities and surely inspired new dreams in the children, youth and volunteers who read the book– nudging us all forward in our own process of falling uphill.  Thank you, Scott!

If you’re interested in supporting another similar project, please visit: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009

2nd Quarter but I feel like I deserve a Super Bowl Halftime

15 Feb

In the Peace Corps publication for volunteers the volunteers that are swearing out each re-write the Peace Corps tagline how they think it should read.  In the first issue I ever read one girl’s read: “Peace Corps: Curing optimism since 1961.”

And I thought, hm, I wonder if I’ll ever feel like that?

Let’s just say that I think my current tagline would read “Peace Corps: Teeny-Tiny Victories and Major Failures since 1961.”

Apparently today marks 6 months in our sites.  I was notified by my friend Taylor’s status which said “2nd Quarter.”

For only being on the playing field for 1 quarter so far I have to say that I’ve had the wind knocked out of me more times than I would have anticipated and definitely more times than I would like to admit.  For all of the effort exerted (primarily in the form of visits, baked treats, big smiles, waves, and lots of listening) I would like to say that when I walk out my door in an hour all of my neighbors will greet me by name and with big smiles on their faces, strangers will hand me ice cold guampas of terere, children will giggle at my jokes, my co-workers will give me the thumbs up and say, ‘We love what you’ve been doing and additionally we think you are a capable human being.’  The high school marching band will have put on their uniforms in the sweltering hot sun just to play me the song they wrote in my honor.  Madonna will cartwheel out from behind them, pulled hamstring and all…

Okay, okay, you’re right.  Neither high school marching bands nor Madonna exist in Paraguay, I was getting carried away.

I’ll spare you the details of all the major failures.

But I will tell you that yesterday morning when I woke up I sat up from my mattress on the floor to look at my 2 host sisters from my training community laying in my bed reading the book SWITCH, which I had casually mentioned they could read the night before.

My heart just about melted.  I wanted to get my camera and take a picture, but I didn’t want to disturb them and make them stop, so instead I took lots of pictures in my brain.

Molly, that’s an awfully small thing to make your heart melt, what’s going on?

You’re right, the moment was small, but also big.  My host mother trusted me enough to let her 14 and 17 year old daughters travel an hour away from home to stay with me, her daughters actually like me enough to have wanted to come, and they were READING, out of a real book, that they picked up with their own free will! [Reading books donated by many of my dedicated readers 🙂 ]  It is a rare sight to see Paraguayans reading out of a real book that is not the Bible. I was happy.

I’ll let you know if Madonna makes a surprise appearance in Paraguay, but in the meantime, if you were a cheerleader on the sidelines of my 2nd Quarter what would you yell/cheer/write on your sign for me?

 

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