Paraguay 2

Because I'm so slow at getting this trip recorded, I'm going to try to get through a couple of days in one post. 

When we landed in Paraguay, we were greeted at the airport by Tim, David, and Francisco.  David is Tim's boss at Alto Refugio.  Francisco is Tim's host dad.  They took us to the hotel, and we quickly changed into summer clothes before going to Tim's host home for the evening.

That day was a birthday in Tim's family.  Laura was celebrating turning 23.  When we got there at around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, Laura was already working in the kitchen, preparing for the feast that was to come.  There was a wonderful asado, and many guests...mostly family.

People arrived through the late afternoon and evening.  Mercedez, Tim's mom, and Janette, his sister, came and also got to work in the kitchen.  Someone started charcoal in the grill outside.  Meat began roasting over the charcoal while other dishes were cooing in the kitchen.
This pic would have been better when the plates were full...but you can still see the sausages and mandioca on the back plate, and the sopa paraguaya on the front plate.
 There were a variety of meats served throughout the evening, along with delicious mandioca, a root vegetable that is often prepared in similar ways to the way we prepare potatoes here.  Sopa paraguaya is a corn bread that also has cheese and onion in it - delicious.  The food began to be served around 8 or 9pm and continued for a long while.  It is a good recommendation for slow food.  We just continued to nibble and enjoy conversation in our broken Spanish throughout the evening.

It was great to begin to get to know Tim's family and see how they enjoy Tim.
Laura and her cake

This is our only picture of Juliana.  She lives in the home of Tim's host cousins, who also happen to be a Radical Journey host family for Riley.  Juliana's first word was 'Riley'!  Apparently she is a biter, not out of anger, but out of excitement, and Riley has been on the receiving end more than once.
The next day was a Friday, and we slept in and relaxed at the hotel during the day.  In the evening we were invited to another host family's home for supper.  This was the home of Feliciano and Rosa, who have Andrew living with them.

Andrew with his host family
Feliciano is a chaplain.  In Paraguay, Christian businessmen sometimes contract with a chaplain for the spiritual nurture of their employees.  There is a network of Mennonite chaplains that includes 50-60 who minister throughout the country, and Feliciano is one of them.  Rosa teaches math at a high school in Asuncion.

One of the fun parts of our trip was bringing gifts from home to the team.  We had two large suitcases full of candy and other things to share with the people we spent time with in Paraguay.  On this evening we got to distribute the treats for the team.
These are some of the goodies sent for Riley
Andrew works at Alto Refugio as his assignment for Radical Journey.  In the mornings he works at a variety of jobs, along with Tim, and they enjoy working together.  They might be cleaning, packaging food for distribution, moving furniture in preparation for a meeting or party, cleaning a pool, etc.  In the afternoons Andrew works with Dulce Refugio, a complementary organization to Alto Refugio.  Dulce Refugio is a program for the children who come with their parents to Alto Refugio.  There is a wide age group, especially during the summer school break, and Andrew seems to really connect with all the children from the youngest through the adolescents.
In the afternoons, Tim's work is mostly on updating and reworking the Alto Refugio web site.  He has been learning a lot about how web sites work in the process.

Katie and Riley work at a guardaria, which is similar to what we would think of as a preschool/day care.  The guardaria where they work was started by the church that Tim, Riley, and Cara attend in the neighborhood where they live.  The church began the guardaria with preschoolers and have added an older class each year so that now they provide preschool as well as school through the second grade.  The plan to continue adding classes until they have all of the grades younger than high school.
Cara works at a different guardaria.  This one was of interest to us, because it is one we visited when we were in Paraguay thirteen years ago.  It is located just in front of the albergue (hostel) for homeless children where our Laura worked during her service year.
 Just a couple of other pics from that evening...
I really like this one of Chuck enjoying the people and the evening.
This was our meal, well, part of it.  Pizza kept appearing from the house until we were way too full.  It was wonderful.


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