Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beyond Beautiful: Sunset Rainbow

Staff Training - Campamento Tape Jerovia!

The first day of training.  I feel like this somehow proves I am in Paraguay:
Last minute to do list, before the staff arrive:
Mario, the hotel monkey, ready to welcome our team:
 Benito and Margarita, our special Training guests, came to explain the rules on the first day:
  Team building:
  Showing how we are all connected and welcoming everyone to training:
 Construcuting a map of camp (with a little bit of metaphor used for the borders)
 Teaching the importance of providing the opportunity to choose our challenges:
 Praciticing positive labeling
 Skinned and bruised knees and a swollen ankle that I didn't even notice until I went to bed the first night.  Adrenaline is quick the pain killer. 
 Gettin groovy for Stage Night
 Super Staff!  Every staff receive special recongition during the week, just like we do with the kiddos.
Our pool - I know.  I know.
 A skit mocking me, the director and one of our field consultants.  The girl impersonating me nailed the way I wave my hands like there is a fire every time a talk, how I am overly exciting about EVERYTHING, and how I have a ridiculous accent and choose the wrong word in Spanish about 70% of the time.  The girl was DEAD ON.  Fuuniest thing I've seen in a long time.
 Leadership Team late night meeting marathons everynight, planning for the next day
 Ne'e Guyguy, the Guarani word for soft talk... a nightly meeting with our groups to have a chance to talk quietly around a candle.
 The last day: the group awarded us a huge 'SUPER LEADER' award... so precious.

 Our Tape Jerovia team
 We did it we did it!!!  Our leadership team realizing that TRAINING WAS COMPLETE!
Now... a day of much earned rest.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


View of sunrise from my balcony.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From 0 to 100

The night I left New Haven, it hit 0 degrees and looked a little something like this:

 And arrived to almost 100 degree weather in Paraguay.

If that looks like a really luxurious hotel, that's because it is.
It is going to be hard to make people feel sorry for me about this trip, we're leading the good life.

Its day 3 of training, the sun is shining, the staff are brilliant and so sincere, and I feel really really lucky to be here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To Get

Three days later, I remember that funny thing I was trying to think of.  Ok, ready?

In English I use the verb 'to get' I don't know... maybe 4000 times a day? 

We have a Field Consultant from Spain.  In Spain, they use the word 'coger' to mean 'to get'.

You coger the bus, coger the pencil, coger your things out of your room.... etc.  It is perhaps one of the most useful words in Spanish. 

In Paraguay, coger means to...the F word.  The bad F word.

You see where this is going?

Our Field Consultant says coger a lot.

She also leads a lot of our training sessions about very important topics that we are trying to teach.

An example from one of our training sessions:

Field Consultant: "And then all of you go into your room together and coger it."
Everyone else: (rolling on the floor crying from laughing so hard)
Field Consultant: (looking a very similar color to the tomatoes we ate at lunch)

.......I'm not sure if we have actually taught anything useful at this training, but we are certainly laughing.

xo from Paraguay.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spritual Advisors and Sunsets

So in case I forgot to mention it, my job is to train trainers and manage camp programs for children with serious or chronic illnesses (usually HIV, but the program I am working on now in Paraguay is actually our first program for children with cancer!) in developing countries.  I specifically work in Latin America (so far the Dominican Republic and Paraguay), and Asia (Vietnam and soon to be India).  We work in partnership with local organizations, so I do all of my work hand in hand with a local leadership team.  To support our work and because there are never enough hands to get these programs rolling, we bring one or two "Field Consultants" with us to help support the local leadership team.  Here in Paraguay, I have two fabulous Field Consultants with me - one from Italy and one from Spain.

The Parguayan Leadership Team has taken to calling our Field Consultants their “Spiritual Advisors”. So many of our conversations today went like this:

Haley: Maria*, what icebreaker are you going to use to introduce the training session?

Maria: (thoughtful pause) “Excuse me while I consult my spiritual advisor.”

(Field Consultand and Maria whisper for a minute)

Maria: “Mingle mingle because we need to divide them into groups for the session”

Haley: Thank you.

*changed the names :)

In other news, check out this sunset from the other night--- WOW.

The beauty that there is in this world blows me away.

Status: Happy, Anxious, and procrastinating sleep as the first day of training is tomorrrooooww!  Body is  covered in a rainbow of marker from the 200 lists I made today.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One reason why January 22 was a good day

I handed our Activities Coordinator a sharpie and asked him to make a 'magic pen' for the staff to use to sign their contracts.  This is what he came up with:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today I am in Paraguay

Today I'm in Paraguay.  I got here on Monday, but it may as well have been 4 months ago for how much has been packed into the last few days.  I'll be here for about a month.

After a measly 4 days of not speaking English, I have already lost the ability to think in any language.  I remember thinking something funny at dinner, but half an hour later, I can't remember it for the life of me, so the best I've got is a stream of consciousness series of sentences and/or phrases.  To be honest, my mind is in such a state of shock that it probably wasn't funny anyway.. I would have been lucky if it was even coherent.

Here we go:

We are getting ready for the first GPI program in South America, and the first ever to serve children with cancer. 
I have a rock star team.
I love them.
It is hot. 
Really hot.
Hotter than what you are thinking right now.
I promise.
I shook hands with a monkey named Mario.
And sat in his excrement.
I kill cockroaches like it is my job.
It actually used to be my job.
 I shoved in front of an entire line of Argentinians at the immigration desk in Buenos Aires, including a pregnant woman who looked like she was in the middle of labor. 
I may have lost some karma points, but I made my plane. 
I wonder what trumps what?  Shoving pregnant woman versus making my plane so I can make a camp for kids with cancer?
I just copied that from an email I wrote my coworker.
I am that lazy.
I will blame it on the fact that I have lost 90% of my electrolytes to sweat over the last few hours.
I was in Buenos Aires for approximately 20 minutes.
It made me remember my time as a little ISA kid.
And made me a little nostalgic.
What a wonderful, magical experience that was.
I think everyone should have the chance to study abroad.
Last night I danced on a patio under the stars with Paraguayos, ate the most delicious carne asada I have ever tasted, and spoke a sentence in the past conditional completely naturally.
I really like training people.
I really really like supporting people who are training people.
I really love my team.
Its hot.
I'm repeating.
Let's hope this isn't a sign of how I write now.
Buenos noches loved ones.

Status: Exhausted, unable to speak Spanish or English coherently, in love with my lot in life.

File:Paraguay (orthographic projection).svg


You know how sometimes you get really far behind in something and then you keep putting it off because it would be so overwhelming to catch up, and then you get further behind and it gets more overwhelming?

That's what has happened to this blog.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Some Favorite Moments of 2010

Welcoming 2010 with my parents and Elisa in Mexico.

Snuggling with Jeannie in Dallas and surprising JCI in Austin.

Hunkering down during Snowmaggedon in DC with Vic.

My first Habitat for Humanity Build in the USA.

Job offers and planning for a move to the East Coast.

Driving across the United States to my new home in New Haven, Connecticut

Seeing my first firefly, ever, in Vietnam.

Seeing the results of capacity building first hand, and falling in love with my job.

The Life is Good Concert in Boston.

Finally believing I can speak Spanish in the Dominican Republic.

Terrific Tuesdays and feeling like I have a home in Connecticut.

Reconnecting with Cat, Karlee and Robyn over Christmas break.

Saying goodbye to 2010 in Times Square with some of my favorite people.