1. Paraguay Weed Lady's Tereré

    Just thinking about the sound of the pounding mortar and pestle at the corner “weed ladys” stand makes me thirsty. My wife and I served in the Peace Corps for three years in the hot South American country of Paraguay and we both came back hooked on the undisputed national beverage, tereré, a bitter green iced tea made from the native yerba maté shrub. Aside from the social nature of the beverage, which is always drunk from a common cup and metal straw that’s passed back and forth around chat ...

  2. Paraguay Roadside Laugh, Paraguay

    Peace Corps Volunteers even demonstrate personal sustainability practices in the ways we get around. We navigate Paraguay's dusty countryside on bicycles, which can be a source of amusement for machismo men on their motorized bikes. Or maybe they were laughing at my huge sack of peanuts? (As vegetarians in a very meat-based culture, people were always giving us delicious treats from their "emergency" storage of plant-derived protein!)

  3. Colombia ¡BEAKSBAHPORERUBE!

    My coming to terms with Colombian culture began in earnest at Tibaitatá, the Rockefeller Foundation Experimental Farm just outside Bogotá, where my Peace Corps group underwent in-country training. People were engaging, with a certain style and grace. Facilities were basic but adequate; fresh boot-prints on the commode seat did give me pause from time to time but not enough to keep me from going about my business. Food was bland, but the big barrier was Spanish. When we arrived in Co...

  4. Guyana Mr. Barjoan

    Mr. Barjoan is a next door neighbor who daughter is my counterpart.  We were taking time out from village work under a tree when I snapped this shot of him.

  5. Peru Huayno Dance Off

    A little girl and I were having a dance-off to the native dance of the Peruvian Sierra called "Huayno" one rainy afternoon. The little girl won.

  6. Peru Food or Pet?

    Guinea pig in Peru are raised as food, and lucky for me, I never had one as a pet. They are prepared normally by either frying them or preparing a stew with them. I prefer them fried, but only without the head. I don't like that part so much. They are normally served at special occasions, such as weddings, baptisms, school graduations, or various festivals in town.

  7. Peru Quesillo

    My neighbor invited me to watch her make cheese one afternoon. Everyday she collects milk from her neighbors, and in the afternoon, she puts all in a large vat and mixes it with the culture and salt. Then she fits it all into molds once it start curdling. This is called "Quesillo" and is eaten plain or on potatoes.

  8. Peru Knitting in the Sierra

    I was invited to a meeting in one of my communities only to find out that the meeting didn't start on time. The women, however, didn't seem phased, as they were all busy knitting and talking to one another.

  9. Peru Tamales & Friendship

    One of the local mothers groups called a "Comedor Popular" invited me to make "tamales" one day, one of the typical food made from corn in the andean area of Peru. What I thought was only going to be an hour tutorial, ended up being a full day affair, and not just about "tamales," but also getting to know the women. In the end, I ate lots of good food and made a few more friends.

  10. Peru Nueva Vida

    I live right next door to the health post and one night, our obstetrician came over to tell us that a woman was giving birth next door. I came over to see if I could help, and ended up witnessing my first birth. The baby was not breathing when it first came out, but my community partner skillfully and confidently brought the baby back to life.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.