I’m 5 weeks through 10 weeks of training. I can’t decide if a month in Paraguay is a long time or a short time. It feels like I’ve been here for years and, yet, I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing (Example: How much are apples supposed to cost? What would I do if, in my future house, the water stopped working?).
Questions are zooming through my brain as I prepare for the second half of training. Here’s the top 5:
- Where is my site going to be? I want to know where my site is NOW! It’s exciting to think about, but alas I won’t know where I am going to be working for the next 2 years until March 25. Site placement determines almost everything about one’s Peace Corps experience (drumroll).
- How am I going to learn Guaraní? Damn, Guaraní is hard. It’s not so much that the people in Paraguay don’t speak Spanish, because many do, but most don’t speak just Spanish. Most people speak a mix of Spanish and Guaraní. They don’t just mix the words; they mix the syntax. If you don’t know Guaraní you’re…well, I’ll just say, “limited.”
- Why don’t I know (fill in the blank) in Spanish? You would think after the number of years I’ve studied Spanish I’d be fluent. Well, I do speak Spanish well enough: I just happen to have more vocabulary to discuss academic topics like government and literature than food. I guess it’s great that I can talk about character development, but I just wish I knew the names of all the veggies I want to eat.
- Will my host family (or families) in my site be as wonderful as my current host family? My current host family is great. I’m so happy to have them. I’ll be in site about 8 times as long as I’ll have been in training by the end. That’s a long time.
- Am I going to be able to make a difference? Talking about talking about health is easier than talking about health and talking about health is a hell of a lot easier than improving health. Will I be able to foster relationships strong enough to do projects once I get to site? Will people understand me when I talk? What kinds of projects will I do?