For something I wasn't looking forward to, how ridiculously exciting it was to have completed my official "Site Presentation"!
It took several days to prepare- finding a location, making invitations, visiting practically every institution in town to deliver invitations, etc. and nearly didn't happen at all due to one of the largest hail/wind storms Paraguay has seen in some time (knocked the power out for over 12 hours and devastated both homes and cities)- but the extra effort on the part of all parties was certainly worth the effort. Around 40-50 people were present for the event representing the various projects that I am currently working on in town as well as the escuelas (primary schools), colegios (high schools), and governmental institutions. My primary contact group the Constructores de la Sociedad brought bocaditos y bebidos (appetizers and drinks) as well as a big "Bienvenidos" ("Welcome!") sign hung on the wall and I whipped up a cake to share around. The Community Economic Development sector APCD Assistant prepared an hour-long description of the history of Peace Corps, the CED sector, contact support, safety/security, etc. and I developed a 5 minute overview of my life in photos and a few words to present. Even after the big storm, even after starting over 45 minutes late waiting for my contact to arrive (la hora Paraguaya)- it was great! People were truly tuned-in to the presentations, sharing thoughts and reflections about our projects so far over appetizers, and even my APCD was impressed as to the massive organization that the community took on to get the whole thing together. I'm soooo proud of my site and my groups!
So now, officially, I have been welcomed to the community. As my boss joked, "Great! Now you can finally start to work!"