This past weekend I attended my first Ahendu—a Peace Corps Paraguay volunteer talent show and dance party that happens about every 4 months, whenever one group of volunteers swears out. The majority of the some 250 volunteers in Paraguay attended. This year the theme was Great Gatsby.
On a basic level the party brings out the crazy side of volunteers, as you might imagine after each of us has been pent-up and on our best professional behavior in our work communities for months. In-site, as we call our work communities, we are on 24/7 and everyone notices everything. Ahendu also highlights the talented musicians amongst us. But, for me, the party was more than just a time to dance like crazy.
It was a time to meet and to get to know many of the other volunteers in Paraguay. We are all so different, but we have something in common because we all decided to join the Peace Corps and are surviving in Paraguay. We have similar struggles—such as navigating a world without things we took for granted before like hot water, heated houses, and Internet. And we have unique struggles—such as finding work or avoiding local sexual harassment.
We laughed a lot—at all the ridiculous situations we have found ourselves in since coming to Paraguay. The volunteers preparing to leave were sentimental but ready to go.
As a new volunteer I felt refreshed and inspired when Ahendu was over (and I’d finally caught up on sleep). Why? Despite the party atmosphere what struck me is the great projects on which all the volunteers are working. It was cool to see volunteers who can speak Guaraní and are as guapa as I will be.Yeah, sometimes we party hard, but in the end we’re all here because we hope to save the world in our own small way.