To take the conversation in a slightly more serious direction —

The other night I was talking to my friend Rodri again – an event which always precipitates plenty of blogging material, appropriate or not – and the conversation took a fascinating turn (as with Rodri they are wont to do).

Rodri is 20, and many of his female friends from high school have kids and/or have been pregnant. I guess it isn’t all that surprising given that Paraguay is a developing country, and these girls are 20 years old, but these are hardly the poorest of the poor, they are all still in school, and none of these were planned pregnancies.

So I asked Rodri about birth control in Paraguay. I had seen that you can buy condoms in the grocery store just like in the US, and he told me that you can go into any pharmacy and buy birth control pills without a prescription. It is really no problem at all to get birth control of most kinds in Paraguay, he told me.

This in stark contrast with my time in Nicaragua, where the most popular form of birth control I ever saw in a pharmacy was a necklace of beads (like a rosary – get it?) composed of two different colors. Each bead corresponded to a day in a woman’s cycle, and black bead corresponded to “low risk” days while white beads corresponded to “high risk” days. You move a little rubber band along from bead-to-bead each day.

“If birth control is so easy to get here, why don’t they use it?” I asked Rodri.

“That’s the problem,” he responded. “Because it’s so easy to get, they don’t really take it seriously.”

huh.

This is an argument I’ve heard before in other manifestations, but never with regards to birth control. I have no idea whether or not he is correct, but either way, it is an important point and an intriguing possibility to consider.

At this point I could ask for your thoughts in the comments section, risking embarrassment when nobody responds. Yea, i think i will. Come on people, the hit-counter doesn’t lie. I know you’re out there.

Also, I’m becoming nervous at the apparent absence of my fellow travelers as evidenced by this extended period without any new posts. Team…if you’re out there, holla at a schola

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