August was one of those months where something is happening every week. It was probably as close to life in the fast-paced United States as it gets here. It all started at the beginning of the month with a charla (the spanish word for a talk) on Curvas de Nivel, or contour cropping systems. Lucky for me I had 2 friends, Elijah and Maggie, who were very willing helpers and came to help with language and organizing. I won't bore you with too many details of the content of the charla.
|Using the A-Frame in my demoplot. -Photo by Elijah Massey|
|Digging the infiltration trenches. -Photo by Maggie Flinn|
It went fairly well, and I got the lines delineated in my demo plot and later planted it to beans and kumanda yvy'rai (a green manure). I will be going back in a week or so to plant some sunflowers in the rows in order to demonstrate a possible companion planting combo.
A little later that month, I went up to an ag school in the Chaco'i to help out with G40's In-Service Training. G40 is the group of ag and environment volunteers that came in a year after my group. For this training, all participants are asked to bring a Paraguayan counterpart, so yet again, the presentation was in Spanish. This time it was two 45 minute presentations on seed-saving. Because of my experience as President of the Seed Bank in the Peace Corps Office, I could have done an hour and half in English on this topic, no problem. But alas, that just simply wasn't the case. I was blessed to have Melanie, the Ag PCV coordinator there to help answer questions.
Finally, at the end of the month, I gave an hour-long charla to my women's committee about using green manures and their benefits.
My Spanish has definitely improved over the 2 year period that I have lived here, but I'm still not big on improvising. I like to stick to a script. All in all, it was a good experience and I'm glad to have done it! Sharing my knowledge of agriculture is a major reason of why I joined the Peace Corps, and I'm happy to be finishing out my service strong.
This is a video demonstration on how to calibrate an A-Frame for a curvas de nivel project. Later on I will post an instructional video explaining how to use the A-Frame in the field. Enjoy!