Saturday, December 31, 2011

Feliz Año Nuevo de Paraguay!

What better way to usher in the new year than with a blog post?  Haha, well I can think of quite a few better ways, but this will just have to do for this year.  I'm currently in Asuncion for a couple of days with some of my fellow Ag Volunteers, and we're just enjoying each others company, watching the fireworks, and talking/taking crazy pictures of ourselves.  Good times, eh?

I'm typically a New Year's Resolution kind of person.  I make all sorts of promises to myself about what I want to accomplish for the coming year.  Sometimes I meet those goals, but more often than not I come to the realization that those goals were probably not super-realistic... to achieve them would involve a major change in circumstances or behavior.  Well, guess what?   I have that this year!

My goals for 2012 stem almost completely around my work as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  San Jose Boqueron is full of potential, and I intend to maximize it.  Next week I start the Club de Libros for the kids in the community.  It's important that these kids have the opportunity to not only sharpen their reading skills, but also learn to embrace their imaginations and develop a real sense of creativity.  Amanda started this during her service previous to mine, and I hope to find new ways to make it my own.

From an agricultural point of view, I intend to begin working in the fields with the farmers as soon as this coming week.  Farmers in my area are growing mandio, avati, manduvi, and kumanda.  It's also a huge year for algodon.  There are already quite a few farmers working with cover crops and contour cropping, but I really want to get to know how these systems are working for the farmers, and what ways we can tweak them to continue working towards soil recuperation.

My other projects for the coming year will to work with summer gardening (regarding shade and pest control), and some chicken management.  On top of that, 2012 will bring a *hopefully* mastery of Guarani and Spanish, as well as coming to be part of my community.  Right now I'm still feeling a little out of place, but I'll get there.

Paraguay offers a lot of opportunity for me to grow in my abilities within agriculture, but also with new social dynamics and my ability to teach (especially in the schools).  As I enter the new year, I am really glad that I'm here.  Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is such an opportunity, and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of my opportunity here to not only develop those new skills, but to also work with my community to help them realize their own natural and human resources... that they themselves can make their lives better.

Here's to a new year!  A new year full of challenges, successes, and failures.  Life is too short to wish you were somewhere else or to ignore opportunities.

PS- I'll try to do a video blog for my next post... I've been a little frazzled the last few weeks, so hopefully as things begin to stabilize, I'll have some better posts coming.  ;o)

PSS- I put another doohicky on the sidebar to log all of the books that I'm reading while I'm here.  I have a lot of time to read, haha.  There's also a tab at the top now where you can read my reviews about these books.  I'll put more effort into them later, but I'm still figuring out how I want to do it.

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