Our Story

Our Story: After meeting in graduate school at UGA, we were married in 2011 in Marietta, Georgia. A year later, we joined the Peace Corps as environmental conservation volunteers and embarked on our adventure in Paraguay!

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are ours personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

December 10, 2012

Welcome to Coronel Bogado!

So everyone is probably really curious; what is our site like? Is it super campo? Do we live in a shack? Do we have running water and electricity? Do people speak mostly Spanish or Guarani? Well, this post should clear things up.

We arrived in Coronel Bogado on 12/10. It's a little town with about 19,000 people in it. The Wikipedia entry for Coronel Bogado should give you a good idea of the demographics of the city. The Municipality has a blogspot site, which has some cool pics of events, and of the park in the middle of town. These don't quite give you the full experience. So here's a little tour of our site. 

The drive in is like this; for about 5 hours. With a town here or there. 

Then when you reach our department, you see this big farmer dude welcoming you to Itapua. Located in the southeastern corner of the country, Itapua is characterized by fertile soil, humid weather, and scattered forests. Tourists visit the region to explore the Jesuit ruins, play on the beaches of the Parana River, and join in on the country's largest Carnaval celebration in Encarnacion. 

Then you start seeing lots of these rice processing facilities. You also see some others for sugar cane and other crops. 

Then you arrive in the city, which looks like this. Giant semi-trucks are barrelling down the road. Motos are weaving in and out of traffic. And there are people selling stuff on every sidewalk. There's a chiperia every 10 feet. (Chipa is basically a cheesy bread made from mandioca flour) And Coronel Bogado is the CHIPA CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY! We've already tried a bunch of places, but haven't decided on our favorite yet; although the chipa with the ham and cheese inside of it is really delicious, and is basically a whole meal in itself. 

Then you walk some more. There's always a lot of walking in Peace Corps, no matter what your site looks like. We are prohibited from driving cars, and from riding motos. So, you walk everywhere; which is actually a great way to experience the city. 

The sidewalks are where everyone tries to sell you things. Here you see a clothing store, but you can find anything: Bikes, washing machines, stoves, ovens, mattresses, couches, TV's, brooms, anything! Sometimes the store owners sit outside and invite you by saying "Adelante, adelante;" Most other times, you walk by and say "Adios!" which literally means goodbye, but you use it as a greeting on the street as you're passing by people. 

The whole city is laid out like a grid. You think this would make it easier to learn the city. It doesn't. There are hardly any road signs, so it might as well be a maze. But it has everything you need. There's a supermarket, plenty of stores to find clothes, hardware, and gifts, a COPACO (phone company), cell phone stores, places to make photocopias, ice cream shops, lots of despensas, chiperias, hamburger and hot dog places, places that sell Lomitos (delicious gyro llike sandwiches), and basically anything you need. There's no movie theatre, bowling alley, or anything like that. 

The socioeconomics of Bogado are very variable. You can see a house like this ->

Directly next to a "chuchi" house like this ->

<-- a house like this... could have a wood-burning stove, probably electricity, maybe running water, and only cold water if it does,  definitely chickens, maybe a cow or two, no washing machine, definitely people sitting outside drinking terere, half the time Guarani speaking... you can see this...

<-- Directly next to a house like this... two floors, electricity, gas stove, granite counter tops in the kitchen... has a kitchen... hot water, cars, etc. etc. etc. So it's pretty variable. You never know what you're gonna get every time you turn a corner. But one things for sure: Everyone is super nice and will say adios and half the time will ask you where you're from, and invite you in for terere and introduce you to the entire family. 

Typical despensa (convenience store, usually someones house). In here you can buy the basics: toilet paper, instant coffee, and toothpaste. Sometimes the farmacias look like this too. Or it could be a bodega, which mainly just sells drinks, beers, sodas, etc.

 Most of the roads are empadrada (giant rocks that have been strategically placed to make a road; kinda like a cobble stone road in an old city in the states). Everyone drives extremely slow on these bumpy roads and riding bikes on them is literally a pain in the ass. 

No description of Bogado is complete without describing the Peatonal. It is a beautiful two-lane walkway that passes through the center of town for walking, exercising, and bike riding. The wikipedia page mentions that we have a walkway here, but it doesn't mention that it's gorgeous! Sarah and I have a lot of pride in the Peatonal. We walk it several times a week for exercise, many times picking up trash along the way. If you need to rest, have a seat on one of the many benches.  

After you walk the entire length of the Peatonal, it's not paved anymore. It looks like this; usually with a cow, some chickens, or a big pack of dogs running around. At night there are some really loud frogs that make a high pitched squeal. We have to walk it in its entirety because both houses we have lived at have been on the southside of town. We will describe our families that we have lived with in another post. For now, you have a good idea of where we live and what its like to live here. We plan to move to an apartment in the centro in mid-feb. More to come on that. Anyways, that's our site. If you have any questions, let us know!

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