Outside my Front Door is a series of posts by fellow travel bloggers who share what is … outside of their own front door
Outside my Front Door
Right now outside my door I am watching three of my neighbor’s dogs chase a cow. Yes, you heard me right. This is a common sight in Paraguay, dogs really don’t really seem to like cows here.
I also see the vast expanse of rolling green hills with grazing cattle. I see the red dirt roads that no matter how hard I try constantly leave a thick layer of red dust on my feet. I hear the beat of the Paraguayan polka or fast rhythm of the cumbia music blasting from my neighbor’s radios. Then there are the speeding motorcycles, the chief mode of transportation in this country, and their immense clouds of dust that typically follow them. They seem to outnumber the people, then again that can’t be possible, can it? But, the best part of the view out my door is my neighbors greeting me as they walk past.
Don’t get me wrong, Paraguay is a beautiful country, however, it is often overlooked by travelers. It gets outshined by its surrounding neighbors Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina and all of their big cities and popular tourist sites. Except there are countless places to see here too, the awe-inspiring Jesuit Ruins in Trinidad, the waterfalls of Salto Monday, the sandy shores of Laguna Blanca, the bustling streets of the every growing capital Asuncion and many more. This country is at that amazing time where it is expanding and developing but, when you come here to visit you feel like it you are in on this little secret that only you know about. But, to me the biggest attraction in Paraguay are its people.
The people are the heart and soul of this country and are some of the friendliest most welcoming people you will ever meet. Don’t be surprised if someone you just met invites you to sit down with them and drink tereré (the national drink of Paraguay), to eat lunch with them, or even stay the night at their house. To them that is normal, everything that they have they share with other people and expect nothing in return. The genuinely just want to know you and learn about your life.
Over the past two years serving as a Peace Corps volunteer here in Paraguay these people have made me a part of their family. I’m called Tia Kelley (Aunt Kelley) by my neighbor’s children and others introduce me as their hija (daughter) or hermana (sister). I have been included in every holiday from Christmas, New Years, to Easter and every birthday, wedding and baptism.
That was something I never expected before coming. I thought I would come here and do my work and try and make a difference in the lives of the people in Paraguay. But, it is the people of Paraguay who have made a difference in my life. I am always, and forever will be, amazed at their willingness to accept a crazy Norte Americana into their lives and their incredible generosity when they already have so little.
Soon, my time in this country will come to end (for now) and I will leave the red dirt roads and cumbia music behind. I will remember every beautiful scenic view, but, it is the people of this country that have forever touched me and it is the people of this country that will make me come back.