Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vermiculture, Beekeeping, and Homi´s Farm

Well friends, this has been a busy week for the Ag trainees!  Each tech training day has at least one really interesting element.  I’m glad I’m an Ag volunteer and not in Environmental Education!  Sorry EEs, but you know it’s true – Our job is just more fun than yours.

Anyway, Monday started off with four hours of Guaraní classes followed by our tech sessions, which are now taking place at an agricultural high school in Nueva Italia.  We had classes in composting and vermiculture (worm composting).   Let me tell you, I cannot wait to start my worm box.  Seriously!  Worms (cevo’í) are a pretty fascinating subject.  It always helps to have a couple of very enthusiastic volunteers to lead our sessions as well.

Tuesday brought more fun with classes in Paraguayan soils, followed by green manures (abonos verdes) presented by two volunteers that also attended Michigan State!  I even had a class with one of them, which just proves that we live in a very small world.  Our third session that day was on the benefits of crop rotations, which I was pretty familiar with (thank you Dr. Renner and Cropping Systems!  See?  I DID learn something in college!).

Wednesday was boring, so I won’t write too much about it.  It was a combined sector day at the training center which just means classes on personal safety, STDs, botflies (SO GROSS--Google it!), and stuff like that.

Thursday was the best day I’ve had in Paraguay so far.  It was beekeeping day!  There was also a session on tree planting, but let’s be honest—bees (káva) trump trees any day.  We suited up and went out to the hives.  We looked something like astronauts out for a moonwalk, but no one got stung!  It was an incredible feeling walking into the swarm, having bees crawling all over my body.  I’ve been into bugs since my entomology class at MSU (something else I learned in college! Thanks Dr. DiFonzo!).  I really hope that I get to continue beekeeping in my service.  I think it’s something I may keep up once I get back to the States. 

Friday was another chill day at the training center; language, progress interviews, and an exam.  Glad that’s over with.  I’m so done with exams.

The week finished off well.  One of our sector trainers grew up on a farm on the river right outside of Asunción, and gave us the opportunity to explore it.  The family is almost a completely self-sufficient farm, with rabbits, fish, cows, chickens, and pigs.  They grow the food for their animals right on the farm, and also are using vermiculture and an anaerobic digester for gas fuel for cooking and other uses on the farm.  It was a pretty amazing place, and it’s great that they use their operation as an example for education around the community.  I’ll post more pictures on facebook if you want a chance to see more.

So that was my week!  Hopefully yours was just as interesting.  Thanks to all of you who sent me some news and information as to what is happening in the rest of the world.  It’s always good to stay informed!

Ridiculously complicated Guaraní word of the week: oñeñe’ê – Means “they speak” (impersonal)