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El Viajero Tranquilo A spattering and a sputtering, a roar and a growl from the depths of the heart to the tips of the fingers, it hops onto the keys and into... Eternity.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.

PARAGUAY | Monday, 12 May 2014 | Views [178] | Scholarship Entry

The sound of rapid fire volleys from some kind of semi automatic rifle not far away comes crackling through the moist and humid air. Contrasted with a grindy Sean Hayes track, base and deep trumpets layered with high pitched humming... Or is it contrasted? In the song the singer starts asking someone why their soldiers are murdering. More like it’s all in perfect harmony than contrasting.

Although Paraguay is without a doubt a country of conflicting contrasts.

I have been here for three months. It has taken me every second of every day to acclimatise and realise what I am doing here and more importantly what my purpose is. On two points I am clear, firstly and primarily I am here to contribute my fledgling knowledge of organic agriculture to young Campesinos (loosely translated as "country" peasants) which is ironic in itself as they have grown up swinging a machete in the cane fields since they were old enough to walk. Secondly, and as it turns out more importantly I am to teach English for a full school year.

The school was donated to Fundacion Paraguaya by the San Franciscan monks. It is 100% self sustainable, meaning it generates enough revenue to cover running costs, teachers salaries etc. This is achieved through the sale of fruit, veg, meat and eggs plus hosting conferences and guests at the rural hotel. All the tasks, farming, preparing of meals and everything in between is done by the 200 students who in turn get an education in hotel management, large and small scale farming and the usual academic subjects.

I had to defuse an “interesting” situation in class today. Two 16 year old boys at the peak of a confused hormonal state started pushing and then the fists were raised. So I smoothly slid in and did the typical crucified Jesus fight stopper of stretching both arms between the opponents and hoping for the best. *No offense to Jesus, I don’t have a better way to explain. Well it worked just fine and after 5 minutes they said sorry and one even kissed the other on the cheek. Quite a fantastic make-up I must say.

When we put ourselves out into the big world, we open ourselves to the miracle of stepping off the proverbial cliff. I was looking for something different, something to push my boundaries and comfort zone. I ended up in Paraguay at an agriculture school teaching english. I learnt Spanish and experienced a culture so far out of my norm that every day was a beautiful struggle, shaping my identity.

I asked and I received.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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