Sam Connelly – Paraguay

Who do you remember?
The family were helpful and friendly. They did everything they could within their means to support and help me with everything I needing from washing my clothes to showing me around and where everything was. I could not ever thank them enough!

Why did you want to volunteer?
I had always wanted to have a challenge where I have to face up to things on my own and problem solve. I think until my trip I had quite an easy time and I was glad I went.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
The children there were desperate to learn English and had not had a volunteer for awhile so it was nice to start the classes again even though it was not something I had thought about before travelling so I had to brush up on my own English skills and think about what I was going to teach them.

What did you do for fun?
Sat with the family and laughed constantly!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
We did a walk into town, that was an adventure trek, we walked over fields and through forests and waded through streams. The bus would have been easier but walking was more fun and I got to see lots of wildlife on the way.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
You make friends with everyone there. The family introduce you to all their family and everyone they know, it was really easy.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
Yes I think I would like to experience something else similar, I am thinking about the Kenya project. I am definitely more interested in experiences where I will be on my own with local people rather than living in a large group, although I realise being on your own is not everyone’s desire.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Learn as much Spanish as you possibly can before you go, I was still practising on the flight as it arrived in Asuncion and wish I had done more beforehand as it can take until your second week to get the hang of it. Everything sounds like one continuous word or sound if you don’t know some basic words and can split up what you hear.

 

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Lauren Webster – Paraguay

Why did you want to volunteer?
To make a difference and learn about another culture.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes. I helped plant some peppers and helped the neighbour’s children with their maths homework.

What did you do for fun?
Went into Asuncion at the weekends and the iguassu falls.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
It’s impossible to say one thing, there were lots of good times with the family, living with them every day was the most enjoyable time, I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere.Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
The family were my best friends and they were really sad to see me go, they almost begged me to stay but I couldn’t change my flight ticket.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? 

Yes I think I would do another one.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Take everything you could possibly need and follow any list you get. It can get very cold in July so if you are visiting take lots of warm clothes and a good sleeping bag as they are hard to find in Paraguay or don’t work very well as I discovered in my second week after looking forward to shopping for a warm one, then hugely disappointed. Everything you bring from home is the very best luxury and you wish you brought more of all the essentials with you because at least THEY WORK.

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Vero Musitano – Review

I spent 4 weeks in Paraguay living with the family and overall I would say it was a life changing experience.

It made me stronger as a person and more able to handle things on my own. The family were wonderfully friendly, far more than I had expected and went out of their way to help me. They even offered me their only electric heater to warm my room up at night!

I spent the first 2 weeks just hanging out with the family and trying to practise my Spanish, my parents speak Spanish but never with me so it was a good way to finally learn some! Then week three I started teaching some english to the neighbour’s children which was new to me. I did the alphabet and some other basic phrases and they learnt really quickly and seemed to enjoy my visits. I would recommend planning some things and getting some materials before you come out as internet is problematic and does not always work in town when the electricity goes off and it’s just easier to have everything already in your bag.

I did a weekend at the falls on the brazilian border. I did both sides and would recommend the brazilian side if I had to choose one! You can go up to the bottom with a speedboat but my budget unfortunately didn’t stretch to extras.

If anyone wants to really get into south american culture and live like a local, this is deinfitely the project to choose!

Lots of love and luck to everyone!

Veronika M

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Jules Bradford – Review

I arrived in Paraguay after two months travelling around Bolivia, Argentina and Peru and staying in hostels. I chose the project because I wanted to stay in one place and soak up the local life. It was also a more affordable option to live with a family than in a hotel and easier to meet local people.

During my stay I helped with the animals, collected the eggs in the morning, learnt how to prepare the ox for work in the fields and taught a few maths classes at the local school.

The family were great, no complaints at all and I got invited to nearly every event that was going on in the community. The family also arranged a bbq for my last Sunday which probably cost them a fortune as it was whole cow! I did offer some money towards it of course, but I still felt humbled by the experience.

I think anyone who is looking for a real experience of life in another country this is the type of project to do!

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Laura Hawes – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To make a difference in a poor community.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes by teaching the children and showing an interest in their lives, many of them had very little and one family still lived on a dirt floor even when it was cold at night! It was very upsetting and I got the family to help me buy a mattress from the local town which we brough back on the bus and some blankets which they really appreciated. They weren’t expensive and they made a big difference.

What did you do for fun?

The best free time trip I made during my stay was to the Iguazu Falls on the border.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes I would like to visit Paraguay in a few years but just to see how the family are.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

This sort of project is not for everyone as you may be the only volunteer there, but for me that was the most enjoyable part because the experience was all mine!

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Definitely you need a warm sleeping bag and really warm clothes if you go in july as it was freeeeezing at night! But we after a freezing morning on some days we went swimming in the stream and it seemed really hot, there was some vert strange weather!

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£30 would be more than enough and often the family offer you free meals so it’s hard to spend your money quickly. There was only one shop nearby and that only sold cokes and crisps so you can save a lot of money if you stay with the family.

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