Eye Candy

November 7, 2014 – Misc

November 5, 2014 – End-of-school-year expo at my local elementary school

November 2, 2014 – El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

October 31, 2014 Halloween!

Making mbeju

Miscellaneous sights around the farm

October 18, 2014

Fun with the Kids’ Club!!

 

October 4, 2014

My community’s Fiesta Patronal (Patron Saint’s Day) – SO. MUCH. FUN!

September 27, 2014

Host sister’s wedding, exactly 2 years to the day I arrived in Paraguay!

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September 2014

Miscellaneous but good memories!

August 2014

Here are a few of the solar food dryers (dehydrators) built in my community with help from a grant. Each family supplied the labor and some tools. These are 1 meter x 1 meter and will be a great addition to these families in helping them have a greater variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year; dried food isn’t dependent on electricity (something that is lacking in consistency here).

August 8, 2014

baby goat first day 005

New kid on the block, born just hours earlier. Gotta love goats!

 

June 24, 2014

May 22, 2014

 

Photos from my service in Paraguay April 21, 2014 – semana santa (Easter week)

 

Laughing ourselves silly with 'fish faces' while making chipa during semana santa.

Laughing ourselves silly with ‘fish faces’ while making chipa during semana santa.

Celso

Celso harvesting oranges from his backyard to serve up afternoon snacks for the little nieces. Green but sweet and juicy! April 2014

Families of two sisters during semana santa (Easter week)

Families of two sisters during semana santa (Easter week)

Little, adorable Derlis! He is one of the cutest kids I've met in PY.

Little, adorable Derlis! He is one of the cutest kids I’ve met in PY.

Little Lucas at about 20 months. He lost his mom to dengue fever just days before Christmas 2013 and is now living with his aunt in the big city. But  don't you worry, with grandparents, 8 aunts and uncles, 9 great aunts and uncles and a slew of cousins (and that's just his mom's family) this little guy has no shortage of being loved.

Little Lucas at about 20 months. He lost his mom to dengue fever just days before Christmas 2013 and is now living with his aunt in the big city. But don’t you worry, with grandparents, 8 aunts and uncles, 9 great aunts and uncles and a slew of cousins (and that’s just his mom’s family) this little guy has no shortage of being loved.

 

 

Na Esmelda and Don Erasmos

Na Esmelda and Don Erasmos

Ña Celia with several of her 12 children and 18 grandchildren!

Ña Celia with several of her 12 children and 18 grandchildren!

Celso driving the guei (ox and cart) laden with belongings from the latest visit of extended family - Easter week. This is the way they move quantities of materials here!

Celso driving the guei (ox and cart) laden with belongings from the latest visit of extended family – Easter week. This is the way they move quantities of materials here!

Celso driving the guei (ox and cart) laden with belongings from the latest visit of extended family - Easter week. This is the way they move quantities of materials here!

Celso driving the guei (ox and cart) laden with belongings from the latest visit of extended family – Easter week. This is the way they move quantities of materials here!

The family of Ña Ester y Don Alvio with grown kids home for the semana santa holiday, one of the most joyous weeks of the year for Paraguayan families.

The family of Ña Ester y Don Alvio with grown kids home for the semana santa holiday, one of the most joyous weeks of the year for Paraguayan families.

 

Na Ester showing off her fresh, hot chipa.

Na Ester showing off her fresh, hot chipa.

Cooking chipa (traditional Paraguayan bread) in the tatakua. First you build a fire and get the bricks REALLY hot, then remove the coals and add the pans of bread, which bake from the residual heat. These ovens are made of bricks and mud and last for years if protected from rain.

Cooking chipa (traditional Paraguayan bread) in the tatakua. First you build a fire and get the bricks REALLY hot, then remove the coals and add the pans of bread, which bake from the residual heat. These ovens are made of bricks and mud and last for years if protected from rain.

Making traditional chipa with my host family during semana santa (Easter week), a very popular custom.

Making traditional chipa with my host family during semana santa (Easter week), a very popular custom.

April 11, 2014

Carniceria - aka the meat shop - where we buy our meat in PY. There are a plethora of these in every town, all on the side of the road, with carcasses hanging outside like this, unrefrigerated and uncovered. The upside is that the animal is often killed that morning by a family and brought to town early (often in garbage bags on a motorcycle). The downsides, besides there being no  oversight over the killing and transportation processes, well, you can take a few guesses...

Carniceria – aka the meat shop – where we buy our meat in PY. There are a plethora of these in every town, all on the side of the road, with carcasses hanging outside like this, unrefrigerated and uncovered. The upside is that the animal is often killed that morning by a family and brought to town early (often in garbage bags on a motorcycle). The downsides, besides there being no oversight over the killing and transportation processes, well, you can take a few guesses…

Value meal at McDonald's in Mendoza, Argentina. Sandwich, salad and small bottle of wine!!! These people love their wine, every single day. Even at McDonald's. haha!

Value meal at McDonald’s in Mendoza, Argentina. Sandwich, salad and small bottle of wine!!! These people love their wine, every single day. Even at McDonald’s. haha!

 

A truck delivering grapes to the winery in Mendoza, Argentina. Yes, the men stand in it and shovel them into the hopper.

A truck delivering grapes to the winery in Mendoza, Argentina. Yes, the men stand in it and shovel them into the hopper.

Finish line fun with friends. Andes Mountains in the background. Mendoza, Argentina

Finish line fun with friends. Andes Mountains in the background. Mendoza, Argentina

 

Couldn't resist a handstand on the park fountain in Mendoza, Argentina!

Couldn’t resist a handstand on the park fountain in Mendoza, Argentina!

Helping  some local señoras capture a wild bee colony that was living in a coco tree. The honeycomb in this hive was three feet long!

Helping some local señoras capture a wild bee colony that was living in a coco tree. The honeycomb in this hive was three feet long!

Kids' Club making the Letter X for the camera while they practice their alphabet.

Kids’ Club making the Letter X for the camera while they practice their alphabet.

Wrapping up Kids' Club with a favorite pasttime: Futbol (soccer)

Wrapping up Kids’ Club with a favorite pasttime: Futbol (soccer)

Kids' Club made teams to race each other in forming letters of the alphabet using their bodies. Squeals of laughter. This is letter H. H is for hilarity.

Kids’ Club made teams to race each other in forming letters of the alphabet using their bodies. Squeals of laughter. This is letter H. H is for hilarity.

Ladies of the Club de Mujeres trying to guess the name of the famous person taped to their back.

Ladies of the Club de Mujeres trying to guess the name of the famous person taped to their back.

Club de Ninos (Kids' Club) finishing up with a game of hacky sack. Paraguayan kids are pros with their feet.

Club de Ninos (Kids’ Club) finishing up with a game of hacky sack. Paraguayan kids are pros with their feet.

Women's Club after a day of games, yoga, making detergent and baking tortillas. Great group of women.

Women’s Club after a day of games, yoga, making detergent and baking tortillas. Great group of women.

 

Hummingbird at my window, midflight. Everyday. Love it.

Hummingbird at my window, midflight. Everyday. Love it.

Here is my English class for kids with my older English student helping as assistant Profesor. This was while we were teaching colors; each child was given a paper with a color written in English on it and told to tape it to something in the room of the same color. Super fun day.

Here is my English class for kids with my older English student helping as assistant Profesor. This was while we were teaching colors; each child was given a paper with a color written in English on it and told to tape it to something in the room of the same color. Having a colorful world map on the wall made it quite easy. Super fun day.

Loofa sponges from my garden! These are quite expensive in Uruguay. The fruits are about 5 lbs before drying on the vine, after which they are super lightweight. The long vines also make great shade for the summer garden if allowed to climb over a trellis or arbor. To use the sponge, simply peel the outer paper-like skin, remove seeds to plant later, and use like a sponge. The inside looks just like a sea sponge!

Loofa sponges from my garden! These are quite expensive in Uruguay. The fruits are about 5 lbs before drying on the vine, after which they are super lightweight. The long vines also make great shade for the summer garden if allowed to climb over a trellis or arbor. To use the sponge, simply peel the outer paper-like skin, remove seeds to plant later, and use like a sponge. The inside looks just like a sea sponge!

Club de Mujeres (aka Club de Brujas- mischief-makers) my Women's Club, here with Nurse Elmirce teaching a lesson in nutrition

Club de Mujeres (aka Club de Brujas- mischief-makers) my Women’s Club, here with Nurse Elmirce teaching a lesson in nutrition

Miles and miles of burned prairie and sugar cane crops, destroyed over a few days after lightning strikes and tossed cigarettes.

Miles and miles of burned prairie and sugar cane crops, destroyed over a few days after lightning strikes and tossed cigarettes.

Prairie fires are oh so common here in the summer. This one was about 2 miles from my community and quite striking in the dark of night.

Prairie fires are oh so common here in the summer. This one was about 2 miles from my community and quite striking in the dark of night.

Sunrise in my backyard/school playground

Sunrise in my backyard/school playground

6th graders dancing at their despedida , or graduation

6th graders dancing at their despedida , or graduation, November 2013

First meeting of Club de Los Ninos. It was fascinating to watch how these kids, young and teens alike, were captivated by the simple, old-timey act of coloring with crayons!

First meeting of Club de Los Ninos. It was fascinating to watch how these kids, young and teens alike, were captivated by the simple, old-timey act of coloring with crayons!

Two sisters learning Warrior Pose.

Two sisters learning Warrior Pose.

Emily photographing a local senora. Check out her work at  http://www.emilyrosenblattphotos.com/.

Emily photographing a local senora. Check out her work at http://www.emilyrosenblattphotos.com/.

The senoras playing "Pass the Mandio". Too. Much. Fun!

The senoras playing “Pass the Mandio”. Too. Much. Fun!

Salto Cristal on a rare day of R&R

Salto Cristal on a rare day of R&R

Christmas Eve dinner oceanside, Uruguay, 2013

Christmas Eve dinner oceanside, Uruguay, 2013

Uruguay

Horseback riding in Uruguay with a nice long gallop down the beach at sunset.

surfing

My first-ever surf lesson with my bestie and our Belgian instructor. So fun!

December  2, 2013

Thanksgiving at a Japanese hotel, sushi for lunch. The only stuffed turkey was on my head!

Thanksgiving at a Japanese hotel, sushi for lunch. The only stuffed turkey was on my head!

Celebrating our Japanese-themed Thanksgiving together with fellow PCV and good friend, Tiffany Larsen.

Celebrating our Japanese-themed Thanksgiving together with fellow PCV and good friend, Tiffany Larsen.

Our Thanksgiving feast!

Our Thanksgiving feast!

Spring blooms

Spring blooms

Rodeo corral, ready for the weekend. You're looking down the loading chute where the bulls enter the arena

Rodeo corral, ready for the weekend. You’re looking down the loading chute where the bulls enter the arena

Sunflower bud
Sunflower bud
Honey- jasmine harvest 016

Spring honey harvest – 14 liters of jasmine honey. Exotic deliciousness like you’ve never tasted!

My first successful attempt at kombucha - (green chai and peach teas with lemongrass from the garden)

My first successful attempt at kombucha – (green chai and peach teas with lemongrass from the garden)

Honey harvest and processing - cutting comb, heavy with honey, from the frame

Honey harvest and processing – cutting comb, heavy with honey, from the frame

Honeycomb cut from all 10 frames, now ready to be returned to the box and the bees

Honeycomb cut from all 10 frames, now ready to be returned to the box and the bees

Honey harvest! Fresh, beautiful, delicious honeycomb and honey made from jasmine flowers...the best I've ever tasted!

Honey harvest! Fresh, beautiful, delicious honeycomb and honey made from jasmine flowers…the best I’ve ever tasted!

My homemade arbor for passionfruit and sponge vines. These will provide shade to the vegetables during the intense summer heat. Without shade, many vegetables literally bake on the plant!

My homemade arbor for passionfruit and sponge vines. These will provide shade to the vegetables during the intense summer heat. Without shade, many vegetables literally bake on the plant!

Random roadside beauty

Random roadside beauty

Sunflowers from my test plot. Nothing so fun or beautiful as a field of sunflowers!

Sunflowers from my test plot. Nothing so fun or beautiful as a field of sunflowers!

Nothing so fun or beautiful as a field of sunflowers!

Nothing so fun or beautiful as a field of sunflowers!

Local girls practicing a traditional Paraguayan dance to celebrate the end of the school year. They love their fancy skirts!

Local girls practicing a traditional Paraguayan dance to celebrate the end of the school year. They love their fancy skirts!

Garden tomatoes

Garden tomatoes

Baby woodpecker known as a Campo Flicker, sitting on my compost pile. It fell out of the nest in the tree above.

Baby woodpecker known as a Campo Flicker, sitting on my compost pile. It fell out of the nest in the tree above.

The baby's parents had been feeding this little guy right under my window. I guess the servings were too big because he upchucked this mashed berry mixture!

The baby’s parents had been feeding this little guy right under my window. I guess the servings were too big because he upchucked this mashed berry mixture!

Sunflowers. Gotta love 'em

Sunflowers. Gotta love ’em

November 11, 2013

 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

image

 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

 Iguazu Falls, Argentina

A fiesty coati; looks part raccoon, part fisher cat, part anteater, all mischief! they will steal your stuff, especially food. i had one climb up my back and try to pull my bag off me! Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Improvising in the intense sun after losing my hat. Haha

Improvising in the intense sun after losing my hat. Haha

November 3, 2013

Road toward the lonely end of town. Big Sky country; vast beautiful sky

Road toward the lonely end of town. Big Sky country; vast beautiful sky

Abonera or compost bins. L-R: new pile started, old pile of straight cow manure now ready for the garden, 2 month old pile almost ready for the garden. The white bucket on right is compost tea!

Abonera or compost bins. L-R: new pile started, old pile of straight cow manure now ready for the garden, 2 month old pile almost ready for the garden. The white bucket on right is compost tea!

Basil plantitas

Basil plantitas

Paraguayan sunset

Paraguayan sunset

The harmless-to-humans "falsa jarara" or toad-eating snake. The species varies greatly in markings and size and is easily mistaken for the deadly Bothrops jarara so when in doubt, leave it alone!

The harmless-to-humans “falsa jarara” or toad-eating snake. The species varies greatly in markings and size and is easily mistaken for the deadly Bothrops jarara so when in doubt, leave it alone!

The harmless-to-humans "falsa jarara" or toad-eating snake. The species varies greatly in markings and size and is easily mistaken for the deadly Bothrops jarara so when in doubt, leave it alone!

The harmless-to-humans “falsa jarara” or toad-eating snake. The species varies greatly in markings and size and is easily mistaken for the deadly Bothrops jarara so when in doubt, leave it alone!

The family (back row, L to R):  Victor, Isabel, Rocio, Hilda, Irma. (front row L to R): an uncle, Ingrid, favorite aunt

The family (back row, L to R): Victor, Isabel, Rocio, Hilda, Irma. (front row L to R): an uncle, Ingrid, favorite aunt

Baby lime from the tree in my backyard.

Baby lime from the tree in my backyard.

Garden sunflower

Garden sunflower

Baby guavas!

Baby guavas!

Relaxing in the hammock after a productive day.

Relaxing in the hammock after a productive day.

Local cemetery during Dia de Lost Muertos (Day of the Dead) where families honor and celebrate their deceased.

Local cemetery during Dia de Lost Muertos (Day of the Dead) , Nov 2, where families honor and celebrate their deceased.

Symbolism of remembering their dead, examples found in a tomb during Dia de Lost Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Symbolism of remembering their dead, examples found in a tomb during Dia de Lost Muertos (Day of the Dead)

October 29, 2013

Foggy sunrise at the school

Foggy sunrise at the school

Paraguayan flowers

Paraguayan flowers

She's much more tranquilo than her Devil horns would have you believe.

She’s much more tranquilo than her Devil horns would have you believe.

Waiting at the gate

Waiting at the gate

The girls had been out on pasture in the hot sun all day. When they were finally turned in near my house they drank all of my soapy laundry water like it was a cold margarita!

The girls had been out on pasture in the hot sun all day. When they were finally turned in near my house they drank all of my soapy laundry water like it was a cold margarita!

My neighbor, Ismael, teaching me to throw a lasso. So fun!

My neighbor, Ismael, teaching me to throw a lasso. So fun!

My first lasso-throwing lesson! We practiced from close distance, medium distance, and longer distance from a stand (here) and from walking.

My first lasso-throwing lesson! We practiced from close distance, medium distance, and longer distance from a stand (here) and from walking.

Found and killed just off the edge of my patio: falsa jarara or toad-eating frog. It looks much like a true jarara which is deadly so unfortunately we weren't taking any chances and killed it.

Found and killed just off the edge of my patio: falsa jarara or toad-eating frog. It looks much like a true Bothrops jarara which is deadly so unfortunately we weren’t taking any chances on mis-identification and killed it, especially since I lived at a school. This snake was 127cm or just over 4′ long!

My garden with sunflowers marking the end of the tablones (beds) with a combo chain link/bamboo fence

My garden with sunflowers marking the end of the tablones (beds) with a combo chain link/bamboo fence

Fruits of late October: peaches and guavas (called guayabas here)

Fruits of late October: peaches and guavas (called guayabas here)

Bottle of mosto, a sugar-water drink made from crushed sugar cane. VERY sweet!

Bottle of mosto, a sugar-water drink made from crushed sugar cane. VERY sweet!

Vicente, 16,  returning to the farm with the horse and cart full of mandioca and sugar cane.

Vicente, 16, returning to the farm with the horse and cart full of mandioca and sugar cane.

Eligia cutting up fresh chicken for her daughter's birthday lunch

Eligia cutting up fresh chicken for her daughter’s birthday lunch

Benitez-Esquivel family (L to R): Carlos (farm hand), Luciano, Louisa (Luciano's sister), Wendia (guests are always seated at the head of the table), Clara (niece), Luz Maria, Lucia- birthday girl, and Eligia (she looks unhappy but really wasn't; in fact she looks like this in her wedding photos too, which we had a good laugh over)

Benitez-Esquivel family (L to R): Carlos (farm hand), Luciano, Louisa (Luciano’s sister), Wendia (guests are always seated at the head of the table), Clara (niece), Luz Maria, Lucia- birthday girl, and Eligia (she looks unhappy but really wasn’t; in fact she looks like this in her wedding photos too, which we had a good laugh over)

October 6, 2013

Painting my windows, encouraging the kids' creative energies.

Painting my windows, encouraging the kids’ creative energies.

Awarding certificates of completion to attendees of my Seed Bank workshop

Awarding certificates of completion to attendees of my Seed Bank workshop

This honeybee found a container of beeswax lipbalm that I made. Here she is stealing it! First, she scrapes the wax from the top with her mouth, then pats it into shape with her front legs. Then she passes the ball of wax from her front feet to her middle feet which pack it into her pollen baskets on the hind legs. She was so heavy with wax that had trouble flying away!

This honeybee found a container of beeswax lip balm that I made and proceeded to steal it! First, she scrapes the wax from the surface of the balm with her mouth, then pats it into shape with her front legs. Then she passes the ball of wax from her front feet to her middle feet which pack it into her pollen baskets on the hind legs. She was so heavy with wax that had trouble flying away!

Señoras cooking lunch in large kettles over open fires for Fiesta Patronal. Yes, they are stirring with a large stick.

Señoras cooking lunch in large kettles over open fires for Fiesta Patronal. Yes, they are stirring with a large stick.

Newly painted one-room church in my community. The color is almost brown, St. Francis' colors.

Newly painted one-room church in my community. The color is almost brown, St. Francis’ colors.

Church decorated for Fiesta Patronal 2013

Church decorated for Fiesta Patronal 2013

Men's impromptu "church choir" singing during Fiesta Patronal 2013

Men’s impromptu “church choir” singing during Fiesta Patronal 2013

As part of the Fiesta Patronal ceremony, a statue of Christ is carried around the futbol field followed by a procession of singing worshippers.

As part of the Fiesta Patronal ceremony, a statue of Christ is carried around the futbol field followed by a procession of singing worshippers.

Lunch supplies: lots of spaghetti, a bucket of sweet peppers and tomatoes, bags of garlic and onions, and snacks for the cocineras (cooks).

Lunch supplies: lots of spaghetti, a bucket of sweet peppers and tomatoes, bags of garlic and onions, and snacks for the cocineras (cooks).

September 28, 2013

Preparing seed samples for upcoming workshops: "How to Start a Seed Bank" and "Using Green Manures to Improve Soil Fertility" With titles like that, how can they NOT be the best attraction in town???

Preparing seed samples for upcoming workshops: “How to Start a Seed Bank” and “Using Green Manures to Improve Soil Fertility” With titles like that, how can they NOT be the best attraction in town??? 😉 The bottles in the background are storing my excess seed. Bags in front are goody bags of seed for committee members to try at home.

Baby goats are getting bigger. Their bleats are adorable and sometimes almost human. I can't believe I haven't started lactating after listening to them all day.

Baby goats are getting bigger. Their bleats are adorable and sometimes almost human.

Neighbor comes to visit

Neighbor comes to visit

Garden harvest

Garden harvest

Look who greeted me at the door this morning! 5 mamas and 5 babies all trying to get out of the wind and rain.

Look who greeted me at the door this morning! 5 mamas and 5 babies all trying to get out of the wind and rain.

September 8, 2013

Rooster

Rooster

A local frog called a kururu, the size of a grapefruit. Harmless but its size can be startling when you stumble upon it at night.

A local frog called a kururu, the size of a grapefruit. Harmless but its size can be startling when you stumble upon it at night.

Resting male Glitter-bellied Emerald Hummingbirds in Paraguay - outside my front door!

Resting male Glitter-bellied Emerald Hummingbirds in Paraguay – outside my front door!

Kids in the 'hood

Kids in the ‘hood

Passionfruit flower

Passionfruit flower

Goat babies steal my heart...

Goat babies steal my heart…

Goat babies and rooster 009

Baby goat – 1 day old

Sunrise yoga on the patio. Nothing finer.

Sunrise yoga on the patio. Nothing finer.

San Juan Festival of Fire  June 2013

San Juan Festival of Fire June 2013

San Juan Festival of Fire - Flaming Soccer Balls! June 2013

San Juan Festival of Fire – Flaming Soccer Balls! June 2013

I got me a new itsy bitsy beehive (slighter smaller than a toolbox) for a variety of stingless bees the size of mosquitos that are super prevalent here in PY. The hive and methods for harvesting are also very different. They don’t make much honey but they don’t sting either. This is my first foray into working with this class of bees and I can’t wait to find a colony for it! The hive is made of removable shelf-like compartments that will house the honey stores to the sides. The cut-out in the center is where the wax is built to hold eggs and young.

A grassy road on the prairie at sunset. Aaaah.

Another beautiful Paraguayan sunset. The eucalyptus trees in the foreground are very popular here because they mature in 7 years and bring very good money when sold for lumber.

Another beautiful Paraguayan sunset. The eucalyptus trees in the foreground are very popular here because they mature in 7 years and bring very good money when sold for lumber.

Yes, we have tarantulas. I met 7 of them when converting a piece of cow pasture to a garden. Muy peligroso!

Yes, we have tarantulas. I met 7 of them when converting a piece of cow pasture to a garden. Muy peligroso!

This cave-like oven, called a tatakua ('tata' is 'fire' and 'kua' is 'hole' in guarani), is used to cooked Paraguayan breads like chipa and sopa. A hot fire is made and left to burn until the oven is very hot, then the coals are removed and the breads baked with the residual heat.

This cave-like oven, called a tatakua (‘tata’ is ‘fire’ and ‘kua’ is ‘hole’ in guarani), is used to cooked Paraguayan breads like chipa and sopa. A hot fire is made and left to burn until the oven is very hot, then the coals are removed and the breads baked with the residual heat.

Paraguayan families are typically large, averaging 7 kids. This is some of my host family and their extended relatives: sisters, aunt, uncle, who came for a surprise visit.

Paraguayan families are typically large, averaging 7 kids. This is some of my host family and their extended relatives: sisters, aunt, uncle, who came for a surprise visit.

Upon graduating from training after our first 10 weeks incountry, our trainer gave us all new machetes. This is my small one :)

Upon graduating from training after our first 10 weeks incountry, our trainer gave us all new machetes. This is my small one 🙂

A passionfruit flower; this has become my new favorite fruit. Harvests occur in December/January and May/June

Pigs like to be "nosy". Haha

Pigs like to be “nosy”. Haha

A community member heard I love popcorn and donated some of his harvest to me. Once you pick the kernels off the cob you must put them in the sun for at least a day in order for them to become 'pop-able'.

A community member heard I love popcorn and donated some of his harvest to me. Once you pick the kernels off the cob you must put them in the sun for at least a day in order for them to become ‘pop-able’.

Here I am helping to make sopa, a cornmeal-type bread. Dry corn cobs are first brought in from the field, the kernels picked off by hand and bad ones culled, then the kernels are cut into meal using a hand-cranked grinder. Sift twice then it's ready to use. No wonder this is reserved for special occasions, right?

Here I am helping to make sopa, a cornmeal-type bread. Dry corn cobs are first brought in from the field, the kernels picked off by hand and bad ones culled, then the kernels are cut into meal using a hand-cranked grinder. Sift twice then it’s ready to use. No wonder this is reserved for special occasions, right?

Just another typical Sunday dinner with the family... All seven adult children and their families make it a priority to spend Sundays together, morning til dusk.

Just another typical Sunday dinner with the family… All seven adult children and their families make it a priority to spend Sundays together, morning til dusk.

Perfect morning for a little sunrise yoga on my porch. Aaaah.

Perfect morning for a little sunrise yoga on my porch. Aaaah.

Paraguayan sunsets are breathtaking. This overlooks the prairie at the far end of town, my favorite place to end the day.

Paraguayan sunsets are breathtaking. This overlooks the prairie at the far end of town, my favorite place to end the day.

Inside my schoolhouse, from the other side of the room. Yes, that’s a chalkboard and I use it everyday!

Check out my solar food dryer made from a wooden fruit crate. I am the envy of every señora. Before mango season in December we will have a workshop to teach families to make their own to preserve healthy food for the off-season and improve nutrition.

Check out my solar food dryer made from a wooden fruit crate. I am the envy of every señora. Before mango season in December we will have a workshop to teach families to make their own to preserve healthy food for the off-season and improve nutrition.

Neighbors at the far end of town invited me to lunch for Dia de los trabajadores (Labor Day) in early June 2013.

Neighbors at the far end of town invited me to lunch for Dia de los trabajadores (Labor Day) in early June 2013.

Beautiful moth taking a siesta in a windowsill corner. Wingspan about 6".

Beautiful moth taking a siesta in a windowsill corner. Wingspan about 6″.

The quintessential Paraguayan scene: ox cart and men drinking terere (yerba mate). These gentlemen were delivering some bamboo we cut the day before to build my garden fence.

The quintessential Paraguayan scene: ox cart and men drinking terere (yerba mate). These gentlemen were delivering some bamboo we cut the day before to build my garden fence.

Let's make painting my house more fun: paint while striking a yoga pose while standing on a chair balanced on a table. I'm a thrill seeker. :)

Let’s make painting my house more fun: paint while striking a yoga pose while standing on a chair balanced on a table. I’m a thrill seeker. 🙂

Me teaching some local señoras how to sew honeycomb onto a frame during a wild hive capture

Here we are capturing a wild colony of bees that was living under a termite mound. These hives are very common in PY.

Here we are capturing a wild colony of bees that was living under a termite mound. These hives are very common in PY.

Preparing for a beehive-building workshop I'd planned for my community on my front porch.

Preparing for a beehive-building workshop I’d planned for my community on my front porch.

Typical Paraguayan cemetery. They build small cities in honoring their dead. Tombstones range from a simple cross (for the poorest of poor buried in the ground) to small buildings above ground for those with more means.

Typical Paraguayan cemetery. They build small cities in honoring their dead. Tombstones range from a simple cross (for the poorest of poor buried in the ground) to small buildings above ground for those with more means.

Peace Corps volunteer friends celebrating the end of training Dec 2012 with a dance party on the front porch of my host family. This photo captures the essence of the day quite nicely.

Peace Corps volunteer friends celebrating the end of training Dec 2012 with a dance party on the front porch of my host family. This photo captures the essence of the day quite nicely.

Proud of my dirty feet after a productive day in the field!

Proud of my dirty feet after a productive day in the field!

A sunrise view from my front door these days. Life is good.

A sunrise view from my front door these days. Life is good.

Inside my 'school'house with the essentials: mosquito net, yoga mat, prayer flag.

Inside my ‘school’house with the essentials: mosquito net, yoga mat, prayer flag.

My 'school'house. Yup, I live in a classroom in an old, mostly-unused school, next door to the new school. I love it.

My ‘school’house. Yup, I live in a classroom in an old, mostly-unused school, next door to the new school. I love it.

This is true of everyday life in Paraguay and the Peace Corps.

A señora making hot chocolate for the kids during El Dia de Los Niños (Day of the Children)

A señora making hot chocolate for the kids during El Dia de Los Niños (Day of the Children). Open fires are the most popular cooking method here. Community meals, like this one, are prepared in a falling-down-thatch-roof shed that they actually call the community kitchen. This fire pit is the only appliance.

Me in my front yard - happiness in Paraguay

Me in my front yard – happiness in Paraguay

Kids participating at this year's El Dia de Los Niños, which is celebrated annually on August 16th, to commemorate the end of a war that killed 3,500 child soldiers, ages 9-15.

Kids participating at this year’s El Dia de Los Niños, which is celebrated annually on August 16th, to commemorate the end of a war that killed 3,500 child soldiers, ages 9-15.

Girls swinging at the school playground, which is also my backyard. El Dia de Los Niños

Girls swinging at the school playground, which is also my backyard. El Dia de Los Niños

My neighbor enjoying Paraguay's popular drink: terere (yerba mate)

My neighbor enjoying Paraguay’s popular drink: terere (yerba mate)

Youngest daughter of my host family. She's cute and she knows it. ;)

Youngest daughter of my host family. She’s cute and she knows it. 😉

A training session with the bees and fellow volunteers. Guess which one is me!

A training session with the bees and fellow volunteers. Guess which one is me!

Cutting whiskey bottles (not mine!) into candle molds with my bestie. A great arm workout too!

Cutting whiskey bottles (not mine!) into candle molds with my bestie. A great arm workout too!

Some days you laugh because you can't help it. Other days you laugh to keep from crying. That's Paraguay.

Some days you laugh because you can’t help it. Other days you laugh to keep from crying. Sometimes it’s all in the same day. That’s Peace Corps in Paraguay.

Illuvia de Oro tree (Rain of Gold)  last summer.

Illuvia de Oro tree (Rain of Gold) last summer.

Jason, my host family's dog. This is his favorite position, including the floppy ear.

Jason, my host family’s dog. This is his favorite position, including the floppy ear.

One of my favorite quotes and one of many that got me living my current dream in the Peace Corps!

One of my favorite quotes and one that inspired me to pursue my dream of serving in the Peace Corps!

As a PC volunteer you are rarely in your comfort zone! This quote applies every single day of life as a volunteer.

As a PC volunteer you are rarely in your comfort zone! This quote applies every single day of life as a volunteer.

Peek-a-boo pig

Peek-a-boo pig

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