Sunday, February 29, 2004

So I am in the capital of Paraguay today...Asuncion...with some friends. We have a three day weekend and we're partying and walking around and eating food that doesnt consist of fried meat. Super exciting. We just had pizza delivered to us at the Peace Corps office. Yum.

Everybody has been asking about my health :) Thanks! I'm really good now...it was just a little cold. Nothing major. I'm dreading Ghiardia though...I hope that I never get it. But I will.

I'm having a really good time. Training can be annoying, its like college...busy work on top of serious work. And all in Spanish. Its so great to be with the other 13 health people in my town though. I would go CRAZY without hearing English everyday. Such cool people too.

My Spanish is definitely getting better...its so nice to have to say "Como?" everytime people talk to me.

I'm gonna try to go see "Lost in Translation" today if anyone wants to see it with me...its cool b/c all the movies are in English with Spanish subtitles.

I wish Paraguayan men didnt know how to say "I love you" in English.

So the Oscars are tonight...someone let me know who wins Best Picture. And I still need "Sex and the City" and "Friends" updates. And is J.Lo engaged again yet?

I'm excited for all those letters you guys are writing me...
Miss you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

So I am alive.
I stayed home from class yesterday ill. Nothing serious, although the Peace Corps doctor was at my house by 9 am. See they do take care of us! I feel so much better today, probably because I slept for 18 consecutive hours. I think I was just a little run down.

I have nothing really exciting to tell today.

Todays Helpful hint from South America: never ever leave the house without toilet paper.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

So i was wrong...monkeys do live wild in the trees here. But i havent seen many.

Im so excited that ive been able to email so much lately. I have a bunch of letters to mail too...but everytime i get a chance to go to the post office, its seista time.

People have been asking about care packages...I also would LOVE another Nalgene bottle, HAND SANITIZER, another pair of black reef flipflops (womens 9 or 10 doesnt really matter) but if you ever send those, they should be sent in 2 separate packages....no one will steal one flop. Tshirts (UofM or whatever) would be cool, drawstring cotton pants (like yoga pants or cotton PJ pants and capris) would be awesome mom, almonds, a rain jacket, a hooded zip up sweatshirt, MORE LIPBALM, detailed updates about Sex and the City and Friends episode by episode, Crystal Light, individual packets of hand wipes, CDs, something pretty, just keep it under 2 pounds Mom. Nothing too frivolous or Ill just have to give it away when i go to my site.

I gave a presentation on causes of sickness in my community yesterday. Tonight we are partying. Theres an Argentinian rock band performing, we might go.

I still hate the buses. They are so crowded and crazy. Not to mention NEVER ON TIME.

Next weekend i have totally free, we are going to try to go into Asuncion (the capital city) and SHOP and eat SUSHI and wax our eyebrows and get pedicures. FUN.

Ok. better get a move on so my family doesnt think i was kidnapped.
Miss you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

so i survived 5 days in the wild.
used my first latrine ever. it wasnt as bad as i expected it would be actually.

i got stuck at my volunteers site for an extra day because the rain stops life in the campo. the roads are dirt and they wash out easily.

i didnt get sick. most my friends had diarrhea for 4 days straight.

i got my first letters here...from sarah and jill. they are officially my favorite people in the world. just kidding but thanks guys...letters are so exciting.

it was hard to see real poverty out in the countryside. kids who are filthy running around without shoes...so many dont go to school and work so hard. it makes you really see how lazy we are as americans. these kids WORK. also its crazy to realize how many options i had in the US. going to the market here, theres like one brand of almost everything. and then i have to think about the packaging on everything since after i use it, i have to burn the trash.

i found peanut butter! its not exactly jif but it will do.

my friend got mugged during her Volunteer Visit. shes totally fine and only lost like 60 mil ($10 more or less) but still, scary. ive been totally fine and felt really safe so far but i hope nothing like that happens to me ever.

got another rabies shot today.
thinking about getting a pet monkey. not sure how peace corps feels about that. maybe i wont tell them. monkeys do not run wild here but ive seen 2 or 3 paraguayans with them as pets.

the girl i visited doesnt have running water. you should see how muscular her arms are from hauling buckets every day from the well across the street. i hope i have my own well if i dont have running water.

showering outdoors is not very fun now that its not scorching hot everyday. luckily my family has an indoor and heated shower. but my volunteer did not. i cant wait to get home and take a nice long hot shower.

i hope that it doesnt get hot again.
i hope that my family doesnt make me eat a pound of beef for dinner tonight. i hope never to see yucca again after these 2 years.

i will be getting a cell phone once i get to my site and you guys can call me on it! yay! but for now, phone calls are way too expensive. and my letter writing will also pick up after april. apparently my first few months insite will be slow (until people get to know me and trust me)

better go...we have class at 1pm!
miss you all! write me!
Jenny from the Block. Yes that is my nickname here apparently. People love Jennifer Lopez. Oy.

Friday, February 13, 2004

some weird things i have done or seen so far...
used a machete to chop down bamboo to make a fence.
melted cow fat down to make soap.
had to remove a frog from my room.
a chicken bit my hand.
washed my clothes by hand (but my familia does have a washing machine just no dryer)
heard P.I.M.P. by 50 Cent en espanol on the radio.

welcome to my life.

so..where to begin...
its really hot here. that sums up my life.
my family...mom Nina, dad Ismael, brother Teodoro 27 years old. random nephews spend the night often too. our house is big. they are well off in their town. they have cable tv i never watch it though. i have a big bedroom with a queen size bed. tons of bugs though. my mom doesnt like to clean apparently and the house is big, but really dirty. my brother is a college grad, principal of the local school. he loves to drink and party, hes alot of fun.

training is kinda annoying, 4 hours of spanish class every morning which i desperately need. its one professor to three students. pretty intense. after that i go home for a huge lunch and siesta. then 4 hours of technical training. learning to build stuff or about health.

my spanish is getting better...i hope. i can understand alot, i speak like a four year old.

the food isnt so bad. i havent been sick yet anyway. they eat sooo much meat. seriously, they try to give me like 2 pounds of meat at every meal. i usually pass up dinner and ask for a mango.

its funny how much class difference there is just in my little town of tacuruty. my family is doing ok, but some of my friends families have no teeth and have intestinal worms. its sad.

the other trainees are cool...there are 13 in my town, we are all health, 48 trainees in total. we went to asuncion last monday for Mision Imposible. we had to go in pairs never having been there before and find something. a big scavenger hunt essentially. i lived.

im getting used to the smell of cows and chickens. my family has 2 cows but the stray chickens wander around our property all the time. and FYI roosters crow ALL day long, NOT just at dawn like in the movies. my neighbor has chanchitos, baby pigs, they are soo cute.

send me letters! tell me whats going on. i read the newspaper here sometimes. it said that britney spears is going to pose for playboy. im close enough to asuncion that i can pick up the radio stations there, theres one that plays american music all day. when im frustrated or bored, i love turning it on and hearing the Chili Peppers or The Strokes.

packages are way expensive to mail here, i know. and they CANNOT be over 2 lbs. seriously. that way decreases my chance of every seeing them if they weigh more. but if you want to be super nice to me this what would be best...
ziploc baggies (always need more of those here), pictures that you wouldnt care not seeing again, those dove soap pillows, hard candy that wont melt, burn me some CDs!! hand sanitizer, more of those charmin toilet paper rolls that dont have cardboard rolls inside.

ok, i probably should get going soon. i miss you all so much! but i am doing well and i am happy here!

Love, Jenna
So I am alive and well south of the equator! Paraguay is great so far, not much time to get to the internet though. Im in the city checking my email for the first time. I use the word city very loosely. Its really really hot here. Ill post more info after I check my email.

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