My host brother and Spanish teacher - Erico
I’m a Municipal Development Volunteer.
There are several different types of Peace Corps Paraguay Volunteers.
Rural Economic Development
There might even be more. There are almost 200 volunteers in Paraguay.
After years of Stroessner’s centralist government, Paraguay is trying to delegate more power to the Municipalities of each district. Municipal development volunteers are helping to make their respective Municipalities more efficient and to improve their ability to provide to the community.
The Municipality of Tacuati requested a Peace Corps Volunteer to help organize neighborhood commissions and assist with the general organization of things. They must have been severely confused to find their new volunteer to be a large, lumbering fool, drooling and speaking bad Spanish, incapable of understanding any question on the first time.
They were kind. I spent every (lie) morning at the Municipality, drinking terere and listening to the 4 employees tell stories in Guarani. I understood nothing for five hours a day. Now I understand nothing for only four. Until it was generally understood by the town that I couldn’t speak Guarani nor Spanish very well, I tried blending in to dark corners, fearing the moment I’d be asked another question. My brain was always sore, my pillow a little damp.
Language abilities have improved tremendously and I still venture to the Municipality daily. The Municipality is open from 7 till 12, Monday through Friday. The average day is pretty, pretty tranquilo. A few people will come in to pay taxes on their cattle or to talk to the Mayor. I’m looking to put together a few projects concerning trash removal, the construction of a sanitary waste dump and the formation of neighborhood commissions.
It is Summer. Things are slooooow.