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Showing posts from January, 2010

Getting to know the Neighborhood

These are our new neighbors.  They weren't here last week, but now they're building their home 500 meters to the west of us.  Their home is the ultimate in recycling:

In Paraguay, when people move, many take their houses with them!  This is a home that is being re-constructed on a new lot!  Paraguayans reuse any scrap wood, old roof tiles and flooring to create a humble abode. 

This is the soy field that separates us:

We had our very first neighborhood organizational meeting last night.  It was great, forty people of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds came together on logs, drank terere and were unified in our desire to better our growing neighborhood.  We are still considered "outside of town" so our district has not gotten too much attention.  We met primarily because we are increasingly concerned about the toxins that the farmers are spraying on the soy/wheat fields, so close to our homes.  We invited the mayor to come to hear out our concerns and we for…

Working for the Wee Ones and a Typical Paraguayan Dish

Saturday was a special work day at church. Believe it or not, I was in charge of the food (along with some great helpers).    

You may be wondering what in the world I'm cooking in.  It is a specially created cooking dish, made from an old disk from a tractor disk harrow (see picture).

Paraguayans are amazingly resourceful.  We use our special pan to make all kinds of wonderful dishes.  Here I am making a typical Paraguayan dish called Guiso.  It's like a vegetable stew with rice or noodles.  It is a family favorite.  Traditionally, it is accompanied with mandioca (yucca plant) pictured below or bread.

The purpose of the work day was to build a children's playground.  In our entire city, there is not one playground with safe toys!  Most parks have broken swings and rusted slides that can cut children.  Norberto is spear-heading the project (he has an engineer's mind) and has been visiting several carpenters to ask for donated wood and materials. 

Here the men are hard at…

Giving Helpful Aid during the Haitian Crisis

Most of us have had our minds and hearts on Haiti ever since the quake.  We have loved ones there.  God has loved ones there- about 10,000,000.   Those of us who are not on ground zero may feel helpless seeing the horrific images.  While our instant response is to help, we have to know HOW to help in a way that is effective, not just to appease our consciences.

It is important to note that Haiti is the most corrupt country in the western hemisphere and ranks 177 out of 179 for transparency according to the Heritage Foundation.  There will be billions of dollars in aid given and well-meaning individuals will do more damage than good by donating blindly to organizations that they do not know and trust. While I believe that large scale humanitarian organizations are generally trustworthy, it has been challenging historically (911 and the tsunami in 2004) to distribute millions of dollars ethically. This is why helping the small scale workers (especially those who love Jesus and go in His…

Cluck Cluck

"The key to everything is patience.  You get the chicken by hatching the egg-not smashing it."
-Arnold Glasgow

The first batch of chicken will be ready for slaughter in two weeks!  Let's just say this project has been a lesson in sociology as well as agriculture. We have families that have only lost 1 chick and families that have lost 8.  Of the six families participating only 1 wants to stop (the one that lost 8 chicks).  David, our intern, has been meeting with the families regularly to trouble shoot, give advice and give feed and medicine.  We will be using various methods to market our "pollo":  by word of mouth, by radio, by internet and through a restaurant.  We're pretty confident we'll be able to sell all the chicken and get increase our next batch to 30 chicken (or more) per family. The families will then pay us back the food out of their earnings and will have money left over!  We'll let you know how we did in a few weeks.

We already have 2 n…

The Paraná River, a Gift from God

While most of you are freezing right now, we are doing our very best really struggling to stay cool and hydrated.  We take 3 showers a day, sip tereré and move our 2 fans all over the house and nothing seems to help us beat the heat.  When we just can't stand it anymore, we go living in our van down by the river.  

It's true, we only live 15 miles from the Paraná, the second largest river on the continent (after the Amazon). It's name means "like the sea" in the Tupi language.  It begins in southern Brazil and flows into the Atlantic Ocean beyond Buenos Aires.  It creates Paraguay's eastern border with Argentina and has two hydroelectric powerplants (Itaipu and Yacyretá).

The passenger ferry takes about 30 min. to cross thefast-flowing current of the Paraná. There is also a car ferry in Bella Vista that takes up to four vehicles at one time and arrives in Corpus, Argentina.  The cost is 25 pesos per car.

"Refreshing water, here I come!" The water is a…