Global Service Scholar: Susie Garcia
Country: Paraguay

Coming to Paraguay has been a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to travel around the world and having the opportunity to not only travel but also serve others is the perfect beginning of my adventures. It’s only been one week since we got here, and I’ve already experienced several different cultural customs and traditions, while also meeting some amazing individuals. There have been many surprising things, from learning about the history of Paraguay to the beauty of the San Francisco Escuela Agricola in Cerrito, Paraguay.

I found several things especially surprising upon arriving. First, I noticed that the traffic in the city of Asunción can get very hectic because there are many one-way streets and no lines to divide the roads. Also, the fact that the cars can park facing each other can make things more complicated. Second, it was amazing to learn that many of the buildings in Asunción have been kept and not torn down to keep the city’s history alive. During our city tour, Olga (a worker of the Fundación Paraguaya that lives in the intern house) explained to us that the Paraguayan way of protesting is writing on the buildings.

I found this very interesting because the words are very powerful and need to be heard. This technique can be effective because millions of people walk the streets of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, every day.

At the Cerrito School, I found it very surprising how effective the professors are at teaching these students. It amazed me how good the teachers are at keeping the classes interesting while receiving lots of participation from students. They have good techniques to ensure that the students learn, such as retaking tests, pair exams, reviewing exams, presentations and reports.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to work at the planta lactea, which is where cheese and dulce de leche are made. Here I found it very surprising how they don’t have proper machinery to make these products, as well as how easy it is to make dulce the leche. I met the amazing Ricardo and Lourdes who continue to keep this production going even without the proper equipment. The cheese and dulce de leche come out very delicious, even though they can only make up to 40 cheeses per day (on a good day). I would really love to be able to help provide them with the tools to help them make their products more efficiently.

I am eagerly looking forward to learning some Guarani as well as trying more Paraguayan foods and learning more about the history. I also intend to get to know the students better, horseback ride for the very first time, and explore this beautiful country!