Sunday, July 18, 2010

Che Ro'y

Che Ro'y is Guarani for ¨I'm cold.¨ Ro'y is simply ¨It's cold.¨ There you go, the first lesson in highly useful Guarani next to Mba'eichapa, and all that I seem to be talking about these days. I know that this is a topic typically reserved for small talk, but given that this winter has brought some record low temperatures to Paraguay I think a good discussion about weather is warranted.

To start, I should say that weather has a much greater impact on the lives of Paraguayan´s than in many of the other countries I have lived due to the fact that life here is pretty much lived outside. Yes, we have houses constructed of the same materials (más or menos) as everywhere else in the world such as brick and wood, but we lack some very important additions. AKA: Insulation and Heat.  As such, when it gets to be around zero degrees Celsius down here or when it starts to snow in the southern parts of the country... there is no escaping the weather other than staying in bed... and that´s not even that warm.

The extremely low temperatures and even the occasional snow this season have caused an innumerable amount of problems for the country. The the most notable have been illness and death (only the poorest without any means of keeping warm) which have taken a toll on our population, loss of agricultural goods through freezing crops and dying animals, and a shortage of gas to fuel our stoves or carbon to put in our grills. I, for one, have been sick with some crazy respiratory thing for weeks causing loss of voice, runny nose, and the lot every time the temperature drops, but many others have come into much worse. Each night I watch on TV as both the human and animal death count rises. School winter vacation has even been extended an extra week because the government does not want all the kids back in classes while sick. Finally, although I´ve been lucky enough to have a carbon fueled grill set up in our living room (which by the way means we have to open a window to let out the fumes... so it´s a bit counterproductive), we did have a hard time getting gas for our stove this last week.

Lesson here? In the developing world, weather makes a big difference. So when we are all cozied up by the fire or chilling by the forced-air vent, remember how very lucky we are. When contributing to global warming in all the ways we do everyday, also remember the impact it has on others less fortunate.

P.S. That last line is for you all Peace Studies- if you ever need a case study, I got one in Paraguay. Haha!

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