Today we hop on plane and head to Paraguay for 27 months as Peace Corps Volunteers.
After a brief stop in DC for administrative “staging,” we’ll arrive Paraguay in a few days. We should have access to internet when we arrive, but the schedule will be busy and the WiFi spotty. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us much within a few days of arrival.
Why are we doing this?
To help overseas. Learn new skills and languages. A little adventure. When the Peace Corps invited us to serve, we posted a detailed “why” post.
What are we doing?
Our exact jobs and in-country project sites are TBD, but in general…
Angela will be a “Health Extension Volunteer” working in the “areas of prevention education and training, primarily in basic sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and non-communicable diseases; HIV and Sexually Transmitted Illness (STI) prevention; and reproductive health.”
Nick is serving as an “NGO Advising Volunteer” in the Community Economic Sector, which works with locals “in the areas of Civic education; entrepreneurship; family finance; information computer technology; and business planning skills and entrepreneurial thinking among youth.”
Peace Corps Paraguay conducts ten weeks of training upon arrival. It’s mostly language training, but the curriculum also includes cultural and technical skills. After training, we’ll get sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers.
The program could place us anywhere from a small rural village to a city of a few hundred thousand people. We should know in about nine weeks from now.
Where is Paraguay?
Glad you asked. It’s a landlocked, developing country in the middle of South America.
I know that looks small, but it’s actually about the size of California (but with less than a fifth of the population).
It’s a fascinating place, but we won’t go into details now. Since one of the missions of Peace Corps is to “promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans,” we encourage you to subscribe to this blog to learn more about Paraguay over the coming 27 months (you can subscribe at the bottom of this post).
We want to share as much as we can with you. Our goal is to post every 1-2 weeks. Hold us to it and please give feedback. Tell us what’s interesting or what you want to know. Tip us off if there’s an issue with the website. Learning how to manage a website is one of our goals.
That brings us to…
How to Stay in Touch
We should be able to check email most of the time, but please expect delays. Theoretically, we should be able to receive letters and packages. But our guess is email will be much more reliable. If you want the physical address just let us know.
This blog will be our primary means of sharing our experiences, but we will also use social media. (All of them have links on the sidebar of our home page). In order from most to least used, here are our accounts:
We’ll try to post pictures often, possibly daily like during our hike in Spain. Key word is “try.”
The Instagram feed also appears on our sidebar of the blog (most recent 20). Instagram is our main social media platform and, of course, its focus is pictures. Forgive the pun.
Next is our Facebook page. We’re using it more as a funnel pointed towards our blog rather than a source of original posts. We’ll repost our blog and other accounts like Instagram there as well.
Tumblr is a microblogging site. We aren’t sure how we’ll best use it, but in general we’ll post our blog entries and pictures there. It lets you reblog outside content, so it might wind up being more eclectic than our other sites. For example, here’s a little blurb I reblogged on the Guaraní language, which Peace Corps Paraguay expects us to learn in addition to Spanish:
Another place where we’ll send our blog posts and pictures. It’s more news-oriented, so we might share amazing stuff like this:
— ABC TV Paraguay (@ABCTVpy) February 9, 2017
So if you plan on visiting us (which we’d love, but can’t host for the first six or last three months of service because of Peace Corps rules), avoid the southern hemisphere summer. A bit balmy.
If we produce videos, we’ll put them here in addition to sharing them on other platforms. I think Angela might do a cooking video at some point. No pressure.
I’m sure you remember our viral time-lapse video from Bolivia last year:
Twenty-seven views and counting. We’re so famous.
This all depends on internet speed and reliability in Paraguay. No issues there, I’m sure. But if we fail to post for a while, please assume we are alive and well and that the internet is out or we are busy training. We’re still here, we promise. Talking to you, Mom. Alive and well-fed, we swear.
Resources and Parting Thoughts
To wrap this up, we’re excited to start this new phase in our lives. Please don’t worry about us. Don’t worry about our health or safety. Don’t stress about our money or careers.
The Peace Corps published a handbook for families. It covers questions about health and safety, communications, and living conditions. The handbook gives an overview of what we’ll be doing while we are overseas. It also provides resources for families and friends.
Some of you might be wondering about how packing off to Peace Corps Paraguay for two years will affect our professional lives. Believe us, we’ve thought through the opportunity costs many times. For now, just know that we’ve put serious consideration into this decision and we think it is the best road for us.
We believe in the mission. We’re excited to work for and with the Paraguayan people. For the free-spirited, learning the languages and culture will be enriching. For the pragmatically inclined, Peace Corps does have practical benefits. Furthermore, Peace Corps service will help us reach our professional goals.
That’s it for now. We’ll share our experiences and impressions often, so please subscribe below if you want to keep track of us. Next stop: Peace Corps Paraguay ¡Hasta luego!