On this day 10 years ago I was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching sustainable agriculture and beekeepingin Paraguay. Winter had begun and, while “winter” in Paraguay is usually two weeks of cool weather in the 50s, that year it lasted two months with temps frequently in the 30s and 40s, even snow flurries! And we had no heating systems. A beloved care package from friends in the U.S. had just arrived.

Goat snuggles are the best. And they help you stay warm during winter!
Making fish faces with my host sister, Irma, while preparing the traditional chipa for Easter
Grateful for the oven to not only make bread but also to heat the house on days like these

Here’s a clip from the diary:

“On my mind: Enjoying first cream cheese in nearly 8 months, new hot water bottle for cold nights, and Indian tapestry from fellow volunteer that will remind me of her sweet and adventurous soul; warm chili for dinner; 3lbs of Starbucks coffee; huge gains in healing my body and shedding my gluten-free diet; house well stocked with dark chocolate; due to past, current, and future weather conditions that make drying any newly-washed clothes impossible, am reassessing laundry standards and number of days one can respectably rewear clothing until the sun shines again (new SmartWool socks take the record for consecutive days without ‘adverse effects’…love them!); practicing [Spanish and Guaraní] vocab for tomorrow’s gym class; grateful for an indoor oven to cook and warm my hands; and appreciating a workshop invite from the ag ministry learning how to build hydroponic gardens in my community. We start tomorrow. Neat-o. Jaha!”

It was so cold and wet, the animals took shelter on my porch!

As I read this I was noticing some parallels between my recent Himalayan trek and those hardy Peace Corps days: the ones that tested your mettle and demanded you dig deep within when the going got tough; the ones that taught you to be resourceful; days that felt like miracles and left you grateful for everything; experiences that taught you what’s truly important; moments that show you we are more alike than different regardless of our color, language, culture, location.

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

I felt compelled to share that (volunteering and traveling are the gifts that keep on giving) and am curious if you’ve had experiences that offered similar take-always? Id love if you’d share in the comments

As always, thanks for reading and for being here. Theres much more to coming your way!

Love, Wen

2 responses to “Trekking the Himalayas vs Peace Corps Paraguay”

  1. Diana Robicheaw Avatar
    Diana Robicheaw

    I had 2 volunteer opportunities that were multi year that were amazing. So rewarding to connect with people that you would not normally have the opportunity to. These volunteer opportunities were not abroad however your post made me think of those. So amazing to help others.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wen Avatar

      Absolutely! 100%


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