“Your Name,” PCT [for trainee] or PCV [for Volunteer]
Cuerpo de Paz
162 Chaco Boreal c/Mcal. López
Asunción 1580, Paraguay
Letters usually take two to three weeks to reach Paraguay. Packages and other types of correspondence are delayed much longer and may take several weeks to several months.
TelephonesInternational phone service to and from Paraguay is fairly reliable and accessible to most Volunteers. Volunteers are provided with a cellular phone and a basic calling plan. Peace Corps/Paraguay also has a corporate calling plan for these telephones (all PCVs and staff) where the first 10 minutes are free. If you still desire to bring a cellphone, make sure that it supports GSM 850/1900. Although these happen to be the same frequencies used in the U.S., make sure that your phone is not “locked” by your carrier.
InternetMany Volunteers find that bringing a laptop is useful to them, however, do keep in mind that there is always the risk that these computers may get lost, stolen, or damaged here in Paraguay. There are several Internet cafes in Asunción, and cafes are opening with increasing frequency even in rural towns. The office now has “hotspots” throughout the complex to which PCVs can connect. Volunteers are also able to buy a portable modem for use with their personal laptops.
Housing and Site LocationAbout 80 percent of Volunteers live in small towns or villages with fewer than 5,000 people, and some of these campo (countryside) sites have fewer than 200 inhabitants. Generally, streets in the campo towns are unpaved, and there is no running water or indoor toilets. The voltage is 220 volts—any electrical appliance of 110 volts will require a transformer. Few people in these towns have traveled outside Paraguay, and many have never even been to Asunción. The only people with cars are likely to be the doctor, the priest, and a few business people, government officials, and ranchers. Horses, motorcycles, bicycles, and ox carts make up the majority of local traffic, with children playing freely alongside roaming cows, pigs, and chickens. For both rural and urban Volunteers, housing in Paraguay is basic. Volunteers are required to live with a Paraguayan family during their initial three months of service. Some Volunteers then choose to live alone in one- or two-room wood or brick homes; others choose to live with a Paraguayan family for their entire two years of service. Peace Corps/Paraguay strongly recommends that Volunteers, especially single women, consider this option. Living with a family not only helps with community integration, but also decreases personal security risks.
Living Allowance and Money Management
Volunteers receive a monthly allowance in local currency that is sufficient to live at the level of the local people. The allowance covers food, housing, household supplies, clothing, transportation to and from work, utilities, recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to live at a level that is comparable with that of their host country counterparts. The Peace Corps discourages Volunteers from supplementing their living allowance with funds from home. However, Volunteers often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. For this, credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.