My little house on top of the hill, my community, has become my home. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it’s happened.
I know because when I leave site I wonder what’s going on in my community. I worry that my house will be infested with mold or bugs, so far I’ve been lucky, when I get back. When I’m sleeping somewhere else, I think about my own bed with its silly mosquito net that is too small. I miss my milk over a banana, peanuts, and chia seeds breakfast. I miss my own yerba and my music.
I’ve known for a long time before Paraguay that I can endure almost anything as long as I have a home base in which I feel safe and happy. My apartment, with its brick-red walls and high, cobwebby ceiling is just that base. Maps, postcards, quotes, and to-do lists are plastered on the walls. Tons of empty bottles, leftover from a previous volunteer, clutter the corners of my one-room home. Nothing but furniture legs touch the constantly damp cement floor—even my shoes have raised resting places.
I have my normal walking route, my favorite house-front store, and the families I like to visit most. I have my places of work, and at least most of the youth in the community know who I am—I like to think their parents know too.
I have my free-time activities; I finished drafting a novel the other day. I have the same feeling that my work is never done and I could be doing more—just like the over-achiever in me felt in the States. I’m getting better at sitting and just drinking terere.
I have to pinch myself to believe it, but this little nook of Paraguay, a place I almost didn’t know existed less than a year ago, is my home.