Easter, Paranoia, and Chris' Birthday
So we're momentarily in Asuncion, after having finished 4 days of language training. Chris celebrated his birthday aptly, along with a bunch of other volunteers who have birtdays this month. Rather, he spent the first part of his actual birthDAY hungover, which is how we know Chris celebrated right.
House news: we have a roof, door, windows and electric to go still before we can move in. We feel better now though, knowing that others in our group still haven't even started their houses. Hope to be in by 1st week of May. Man, this thing is getting obscenely expensive...
Being here has gotten me to realize how I think Americans can be overly paranoid about germs. For instance, we wash everything in our house such as pots, pans, dishes, kitchen rags, hands fresh from the nasty latrine, and sometimes clothes with the same bar soap and sponge. I don't have antibacterial soap for my hands and I don't have liquid dish soap for my dishes. We cut raw meat and butcher whole live chickens using the same plastic cutting board and knives and we don't even have hot water and it's all fine. My friend back home wears disposable surgery gloves when she handles any kind of raw meat! (Raquel...) I use bleach once in a while to sanitize thoroughly, but other than that there's not a whole lot you can do. I mean, you have to go visit people and share terere (tea) with them out of the same guampa and bombilla or risk offending them. And you don't know what their well looks like or if they wash their hands or their dishes. We don't have Lysol antibacterial kitchen spray or any other fancy stuff for the bathroom. I mean, you can buy it in the city but it's expensive and I think people would think you were odd if you had this mad collection of soaps and stuff. I guess what I'm getting at is that I think soap companies in other parts of the world pretty much make a killing off of taking basic soap and adding more chemicals; making it different colors, scents, and textures. I dunno. Just an observsation of mine. And I'm not a dirty person, anybody who knows me knows that I like a very clean house. Maybe it's just that I've gotten to used to it here and when I move back home I'll revert to my usual cleaning arsenal of products.
Easter came and went with so much as a person attending church. Semana Santa (Holy Week) is celebrated here with the making of chipa (bagel-like bread (only in texture), made with the campo cheese, anis seeds, pig grease and cornmeal). We were given so much of it by our nice community members that we still have like 5 kilos in our fridge, but at least the cat likes it. Anyway, chipa is made on a Wednesday (always), followed by the last supper and volleyball and beer swilling Thursday, and then on Good Friday no one is allowed to work and all you do is sit around and eat the chipa you made on Wednesday and eat oranges and drink a mate-based beverage called Cocido. Chris and I worked every day though, including Easter. On Easter day everyone that came from the city leaves to go back and the buses are incredibly full and we didn't even have church services because we don't have a full time father at the the Catholic chapel; and in fact he only comes once a month. But no one does anything on Easter Sunday. I pretty much felt like a dumb-ass trying to tell them what happens in our country for a typical Easter. And then I realized how absolutely ridiculous the concept of the Easter Bunny and hiding eggs and buying candy for your spoiled kids sounds in order the celebrate the fact that Christ has risen.
Hope you all enjoyed your Easter turkeys and hams!!