Paraguay team three began their assigned mission, teaching English to civilians and members of the Fuerza Aerea (Paraguayan Air Force), on Monday, June 30, 2014. We were welcomed with an amazing presentation featuring native Paraguayan dancing and music, as well as a lively performance by members of their Air Force Band. It was a very warm reception that was followed by light snacks and refreshments.
Following the presentation, we began our first day of teaching. English schools in Paraguay use a series of books developed by the United States Defense Language Institution. There are 30 books, with book one being the most basic. Every class has students on different levels so at one point you may be teaching the difference between have and have not. Then an hour later you are describing correlating conjunctions and the proper use of adverbs. It is very challenging at times but also very rewarding. Also students range in age form thirteen to forty, so class dynamics are very unique. But everyone gets along well.
Paraguay is a beautiful country and every person is extremely polite. It makes it easy to teach when your students are dedicated to learning and come to class everyday with smiles on their faces ready to learn. We have tried many different types of food and have been pushed outside our comfort zones at times. But that is the whole purpose of CULP, to experience a culture completely different from your own. All of the food has been delicious though!
A typical day here starts at around 5:30 a.m. with physical training. After hygiene and breakfast we are off to the Air Force base. Lessons begin at 8:30 a.m. and last all day until 6 p.m. Following dinner we like to go out and experience Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. The next few weeks will be spent teaching and spending free time sightseeing and interacting with the local people.