“You’ve got a friend in me”
Óga Itá, Alto Verá, Itapúa
He was my first friend in site. Actually, I’m pretty sure he’s now my best friend in site. He’s always happy to see me, we have a secret handshake, and he’s one of the few people in site who pronounces my name correctly. His name is Elvin Andres Baez and he’s my four year old host-nephew.
Elvin is a tiny kid with big ears and an even bigger smile. From observation, it appears that he suffers as a middle-child: Sebastian gets more attention from being younger/smaller and Rolando gets more responsibility because he’s older. However, I think this worked out in his favor, as he tends to be his grandmother’s (my host-mom’s) favorite and he goes with her everywhere. My mother is very active in the community and goes to a lot of events and functions, which means that Elvin gets to go to a lot as well, while his brothers stay behind. Thus, Elvin gets doted on by all the women of Óga Ita and gets to hang out with me when I happen to be at women’s committee meetings or quinceañeras and everyone is speaking Guaraní too rapidly for me to keep up. So I play games with Elvin instead. We tickle fight, we play marbles, I grab his ear whenever he’s not looking, and he always gives me the biggest grin and a little giggle.
My favorite thing about Elvin is that if he hears his name being called, no matter if by a man or woman, he always replies by bellowing as deep and loud as he can, “SEÑOR?!” He’ll come to my house to say hi, stay for awhile, play with Moritz and chase him around my patio, and once even got to FaceTime my mom in the United States, which he thought was the funniest/coolest/weirdest thing in the world. He’s my mom’s little helper, the caretaker of the chickens, the eater of grapes in the summer and mandarins in the winter (both of which I gladly use my height to help him pick), and a little goofball. He’s my neighbor, my nephew, my friend, and I’m glad to have him around.