Due to a change of government, funds were temporarily cut for the comedor we’ve been helping with. Basically we have to re-file paperwork with the new government but of course it’s not as easy as it sounds. So in the meantime, we needed to do some fundraising (which actually has to be done to supplement the government money anyway).
So the committee put our heads together and brainstormed what the townspeople would be incentivized to pay for and came up with an obvious answer: food. Over a peppernut treat, we hashed out details to have both a pollada and a hamburger stand.
A pollada is a chicken carry-out meal that we baked up on an especially warm Sunday. Indiana folks can picture it as the Paraguayan version of Nelson’s Chicken. It included side dishes of rice salad and mandioca (yucca). The hardest part was selling tickets ahead of time because I felt a little timid asking people to pay 10,000 Guaranies (about $2) per ticket, even for a good cause. In the end we were proud to sell all 10 of our tickets thanks in large part to our extended host family. My favorite feature of a pollada is that everyone brings their own containers to be filled with the delicious food, and then heads home to enjoy a no-fuss lunch. No dishes or table wiping for us!
Then just four days later we gathered again – this time to sell hamburgers at our town’s 401 year anniversary celebration in the plaza. While students dressed in beautiful traditional costumes danced on the stage, and other groups played instruments and sang, we sold our burgers.
Thanks to the municipality’s tight control of vendors at festivities such as this, we were the only food booth in the plaza. Bad for variety, but great for our business! Add that to our seriously tasty burgers made up of
two one all beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese pickles onions tomato, fried egg in a sesame seed bun and we had a successful night!
Oh and I can’t leave out my newest claim to fame: I saw the president of the country in person, heard him speak on our town’s square, and
stalked accompanied him (along with the rest of the town) back to the mayor’s place after his speech.
Considering he’s only been in power for a few months, taking office after the then-president was impeached during our training program, the crowd was very friendly and welcoming of him, clapping politely when he said something agreeable. The kids liked him too, or at least enjoyed the nearby playground as the special event meant a day off school!
And to cap off the weekend we celebrated the birthday of our host, Ceci. A bunch of family and friends came over for a big grill-out with great food including a tasty birthday cake. Her godson helped her blow out the candle before we all dug in and enjoyed.