We must’ve had at least a dozen kids pass gas in our faces yesterday and it was glorious.
To adequately explain how we got to the point where we enjoyed being immersed in the toots of tikes, we should probably supply a bit of background info:
There are two elementary schools in our barrio where we work every week, alternating between language arts activities (Carly’s program) and health activities (my program). One of the schools is a dream situation. The principal is into it. The students are into it. The teachers are into it and are actually incorporating some of our activities into their curriculum. It’s going exactly how the Peace Corps drew it up.
The other school, to put it mildly, has been a complete clusterfuck. As soon as we enter the classroom, the teachers walk out the door and go on break. There appears to be zero concern as to whether or not the kids actually learn anything. We tell the teachers one of the 6th graders still doesn’t know his ABCs, they tell us how lindo (pretty) our teeth are. We point out that a lot of kids don’t even know they should wash their hands after using the bathroom, they talk about the weather. If anything, the entire faculty seems annoyed by our presence.
Since the school made it perfectly clear they had no interest in us bothering their students with trivial matters like learning how to read and write or basic health knowledge, Carly and I had to figure out some other way to be involved with the students.
We’d noticed the kids usually spent at least two hours of their four-hour school day outside playing soccer while their instructors were busy staring off into space. It was great they were getting some exercise but the only muscles getting worked were their legs. What about their tiny, malnourished arms? Couldn’t they use a little strength? And why were so many elementary-age kids sporting beer bellies already?
It became clear that after a lifetime of ingesting hunks of meat and a 2-liter of coke at every meal, these kids needed a full-body workout. So, we harkened back to the PE classes of our youth and brought the Presidential Physical Fitness Program down south to Paraguay.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Presidential Physical Fitness Program, we'll let this sweet 80's PSA explain:
Our workout program got underway this week and the kids loved it.
Sit-ups were the first exercise on the docket. We began right after lunch and the vast majority of the kids had never even tried a sit-up before. It made for quite an interesting/noisy/odorous experience.
I can only assume the caveman-like Paragauyan diet coupled with flexing dormant abdominal muscles was responsible for what happened next. Almost immediately as the crunches began, the first kid broke wind. Seconds later, someone else backfired. Before we knew it, all of them were baking brownies and the air became filled with the subtle sounds and smells of anal acoustics.
One of the great things about this country is how little attention everyone gives to bodily functions. Despite the abundance of air biscuits being baked, the kids kept right on doing their sit-ups like nothing was happening. Even the poor bastards stuck holding their partners feet while being pelted with ghost turds just took it and smiled.
The kids were having a blast and me and the Mrs. were just thrilled to finally have a program at the school that was working somewhat like it was supposed to.
We ended the day with push-ups and, once again, the kids were really excited to try them. Honestly, they were terrible at them but they still had fun. I’m pretty sure the only time kids here use their arms is for throw-ins during soccer games and to flag down the ice cream man. They vowed to practice them because we promised certificates to anyone who does really well in every exercise category. We’re also going to make a big poster with the names of all the "super-athletes" to hang up at the school.
The vaunted sit and reach is on tap next week. Stayed tuned to see what happens next in Carly & Jeff’s Club de Ejercicio.
We’d like to end this blog post by giving a shout-out to Durward Fant aka “Double D” aka “Doble D” aka “Cabezón.” Señor Fant flew all the way down here last month to cheer us on for the Bicentenario Half-Marathon in Asuncion and to help us start a few vegetable gardens in our backyard. More importantly, he smuggled us a suitcase full of beer! Paraguay essentially offers two beer options: Brahma (think an even more watered-down Coors Light) and Pilsen (think cat piss). Don Durward made it through customs with a myriad of American microbrews. Mere words won’t do justice in describing that extraordinary moment when we tasted actual hops go past our lips for the first time in seven months. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.
God bless you Double D and God Bless America!