The good and the bad.

Good story. After my two months of being here and my football career in the pueblo, I have yet to make an impression to the dudes in town. Well, last night, that's exactly what went down. Like I said, it's tough when you don't know how to play the game and there's no credit for effort. But I am learning the game. And I want to continue learning the game. Eventhough sometimes, it can really eat up your self-esteem. The idea of motivating you with this guys is by yelling at you and trying to piss you off. It's not really a challenge, it's more of a demoralizing scheme. I've seen it with another guy in town. Man, did I feel bad. Seeing this old man get talked down to like a little kid. But what can I do? I'm just like him, but the only difference is that I thread on. That's what you do if you want to learn the game. The hard way. You have to have a thicker skin or else you'll have your shame eaten alive. In the court and in the courtside. But last night, there was a glorious moment. 2-2 at the end of extra time. Pueblo style. 5 minutes each after every set. So everyone decided to have a sudden death goal. After all of the 40 minutes or so of the game and getting yelled at and laughed at during the game, in the final minute, the ball went pass in the middle, in front of the keeper, with everyone fighting for position, and it went under the goal post. Yup, yours truly, with my left foot, guided that sack of leather fill with air. I am very happy with this story especially because all this time, every after game, I usually don't get anything, but a little annoyance from mostly everyone. (It's not all bad when we all laugh about it, but sometimes, it just gets very old). Then came a shining moment and everybody was shut. Seriously, the whole game, old folks laughing on the side sitting on the made up benches of plank of woods, the dudes I'm playing with, in my team, just yelling and shit, after that momentus goal, was just shocked. I think everyone's jaw dropped. It was amazing. The air got filled with "whhhaaaa...?" and yes, after that, I got my respects, and that is exactly what I am very happy about.

After the game, profe left me at the cancha immediately because he knows I will get him. All this time, every time we play, after the game, on our walk back home, he would pester and make fun of me. Then last night he knows I was gonna get him. So I arrived in his store and all the neighbors was hanging out in front, already been told by the news. We all had a laugh about it and profe can't do anything about it but smile, laugh with us, and shake his head. It was a glorious evening.

So if I go to the cancha today, I can only imagine big laughs and love from the dudes. I'm still soaking on it while it last. I don't know when I'll get my moment again, but I'll enjoy it for now while it lasts.

The bad story is about this kid Nelson in my hood, who fell from his bike last week. Got his arms messed, crocked, and I think something is misplaced somewhere. I found out about it when I saw him one afternoon, a couple of days ago, when I asked him why he wasn't in school. So he told me. It didn't look right when I looked at his arms. There's obviously something wrong with it. At that moment, I felt sad and helpless, I couldn't do anything, but to shake my head. Saw him again last night with his mom as they stop by and said hi to us sitting infront of the store. Now his arm's got a bandage. I'm not a doctor, but I think his arms needs more than a bandage, it needs to get checked. His parents couldn't take him to town or wouldn't take him to town to get it looked at. There right there is when I really got to thinking and started investigating. The result. Family problems, dad is abusive and with drinking problem, mom thinks it's expensive to get his child's arms look at. I almost want to grab this kid and take him to town. I almost wanted to offer. But I couldn't, I wouldn't. It would put a big dent on everybody. This poor child. I'm still thinking of what I can do, but I can't just go about it telling his parents what to do. They know. At the end, I'm left with not being able to do anything at the moment and look at reality right on its eyeballs.

That's one thing I hear a lot around here. Reality, reality, reality. To be honest, it's getting a bit frustrating. Because the same people who say "you just need to accept things because that's just the reality" is the same people who can do something and change that reality. The same people who can make it for the better. The same people who are aware, but choose not to do anything about it, because, again, that's just reality.

That's the tough part about this job, about being here. You have to face those realities and make changes. And the way to tackle them is coming up with simple and small steps to make people realize that we can change things, that we can do it. The toughest also is getting people to go out of their norm. Imagine that in a small pueblo. It's not easy being a foreigner around here doing the best he can, in every small way, to make things better.

So that's just another day in the pueblo. Taking turns, balancing the good and the bad. I hope you're learning something from this as much as I am with my experiences. Until next...


Another 2 posts in one day. Look at that. I'm glad I have the time to be able to document what's been going on with me and share it to the world.

I took it easy today I feel. I didn't do the same round as I've been doing lately. The usual round of stopping by at the municipalidad, the escuela, and sometimes DEAG (Ministry of Agriculture). I'm mixing it up now. This is where the everyday life is going now I feel. Instead, I spent the morning relaxing and taking a break from that usual routine. Still got to do some planning and brainstorming. Just getting a little prepared for things. I also got to hang out with Walter late this morning and pretty much the whole afternoon/evening. Walter is a 20 year old bright guy who I'm guiding to lead the youth group that we are forming. He is a very creative and promising guy in the pueblo. Hard-working and respected. I sense that he's got a great future in him, he's got the talent and wits, just depends on where he takes it. Being his friend, I really am hoping and doing my best that he reaches his best potential. So this morning, we talked about the next meeting this saturday on how we should conduct it (really talked about it here and there while hanging out the whole day). I am briefly explaining to him how this next meeting should go down and how I want him to lead it. I told him that I'll be there for him, a tag-team, but I also have to keep reminding him not to be dependent with me since my time is limited here in the pueblo. That's how things should go. Me striking the match, and them the fire. It's coming along just fine. Slowly 'and' surely. Just how it should be and I'm quite content and happy about it. Just before lunch and after tereré, he left my house to go to his work to set up the next program. He's the mc/dj in the local radio station btw, also the local collector for the water bills, along with his other side jobs under his sleeves. He's very active in the community and really wants to be very involve. The best counterpart, a treasure, for every volunteer. And I'm glad to be there for him to add to his channels to be a good citizen of the community.

Had the usual lunch at Profe's then helped him with his didactic materials after to put up in his classroom. That's followed by a decent nap, a chat with the little bro and mom, then a session in the sink to wash some clothes. I went out after to have my first visit at Walter's house to drink some more tereré, shot shit, and talk some more about the upcoming youth group meeting. We then head to the radio station so that he can put up new music. Fernando, another friend of ours, joined afterwards and we ended up playing football (soccer) with the police at the yard by the local police station, which is right infront of the radio station. Was a great afternoon afterall. Sweated a bit and put some time on being active. Life is balanced around here, as much as we sit around and drink tereré, there is also time on sweating the fluids out of our bodies. After the game, we decided, or wanted to watch a horror film here at my house, but instead, on our way, we passed by the brand spanking new place who just started having a videogame/store joint. So we got diverted from movies to playing an hour of playstation, football game. For about 4,000 Guaranies, you can play for an hour and that's exactly what we did, after enjoying a piece of sweet cake and coca-cola. Sounds like a poster story isn't it? but it was good times. I need to brush up on my ps skills. I got whooped 1-0 in all 4 games. It didn't matter to me, what mattered most was being out there, hanging out with the kids and getting to know them. Getting my name out there per se.

I stopped by at profe's for a bit on my way home, got some supplies for dinner, then to my surprise, my friend Isidro stopped by. I didn't expected him, but I'm glad he paid a visit. We shoot some shit, hung out, had dinner, then chilled. He's the only guy yesterday on my team who I genuinely had a good time playing with. He's nice in the field, got a good spirit in him, smiling, laughing, having a great time and had a good sense of sportsmanship. That seems to not exists around here. It's a different story when it comes to the field. It was a bit weird in the beginning with him, a bit awkward. But it's normal with the circumstances and his personality. He's got this happy go lucky-nervous personality in him, but he's good company. He invited me to go fishing tomorrow at the stream. I had planned to do some work and phone calls, maybe hunt down the intendente to do some project plans, and finish up the nomination for UNDP for the seed bank project. But how can I pass the opportunity? It also seems like, eventhough I had planned all those agendas tomorrow, that sometimes, or most of the time, I find myself just going with the flow and letting the spirit move me. It makes me feel better that way. Just being one with everything. A part of the whole scheme. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Then homie got a call from a friend when we were chillin'. On his way out, while we were saying peace by the gate, this big wad of a fireball of shooting star dropped by infront of our faces in the sky. Must be a good omen, and we both agreed how amazing it was and traded good comments about it.

That's how it goes around here with me. That's what, you could say, a regular day is. Not bad isn't it? I'm starting to really get integrated in the community. Things are starting to go well. Meeting new friends, establishing great relationships, getting really comfortable and starting to feel a place in the community. That, that right there is what makes me really happy and content about this whole thing. Besides of getting to do something and serve the community, the most important part for me is to love and be love by the people I have and live around me.

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