A Mother’s Impression of Paraguay

by Kristen Brenneman

In addition to braving the Chaco, Mike and I spent a number of relaxing days visiting Allison and Isaiah at their house in the small, southern town that they’ve called home for the past 12 months. My daughter the delegator asked if I’d like to write up what I thought of the town.

Hence, here are this mom’s initial impressions of Yuty, Paraguay.

–       Red clay streets.

Carefully crossing a trench on red dirt roads in Paraguay

–       Accessibility to walk to the outskirts of town in each direction to enjoy the beauty of the countryside.

Paraguayan Landscape

–       Motos, motos everywhere.

–       Colorful chickens enjoying the freedom of the yards, unpenned and able to roam freely.

The Chicken Before

–       Each house seemed to have at least one dog, if not three or four.

–       A little despensa on almost every street, conveniently selling the necessities.

–       A well-cared for center of town with lawn, flowers, sidewalks and the Catholic church.

Allison and friend from the soup kitchen

–       Not many sidewalks overall – we just strolled down the road.

–       Friendly people who seemed so happy and honored to meet Allison’s parents.

Mom posing with some kids at the soup kitchen

–       Driving in the countryside on dirt roads, always yielding to the cows, goats or sheep that wandered freely.

Meeting cattle on red dirt roads in Paraguay

Passing cattle on dirt roads in Paraguay

–       Enjoying the little town that was settled by the Japanese and seeing that culture mix with the Paraguayan’s way of life.

–       Stopping at the little town of Yataity where beautiful embroidered clothes (ao po’i) or lacy crochet (ñanduti) are made.

–       Pausing to enjoy the traditional foods of chipa, sopa paraguaya, empanadas or fresh fruit drinks but then also sharing the cinnamon rolls I baked with friends of Allison and Isaiah.

–       Picking up wooden crates at the despensa to turn into functional and unique end tables.

–       Hanging pictures of family and friends of the Goertzes, adding a familiarity and coziness to their home.

Allison and Mike hanging pictures

–       Realizing that you really don’t need so many things to live a happy and contented life.

Allison in the kitchen

–       Watching Allison and Isaiah relate with the children at the comedor by playing frisbee or soccer, planning a craft activity or just chatting, knowing that this attention (along with the wholesome food the kids receive) is valuable and life-giving.

–       Seeing Allison and Isaiah interact with neighbors, store owners and many others in Yuty with such friendliness and ease, knowing that at least in this little part of the world North Americans must be thought of as friendly, helpful and respectful.

Mike and Kris in front of house in Yuty, Paraguay

–       Watching Allison and Isaiah throw in phrases in Guaraní, the very difficult language ‘of the people’ which just lights up people’s faces and warms the heart.

Even though it is not always easy for a mom to have her children so far away, unable to see them for over a year at a time, this mom realizes that it is important and really remarkable work that Allison and Isaiah are doing. I’m so happy we had the chance to travel to South America and take part in the experience they are having. It is something that will shape them in whatever comes after their time in the Peace Corps and likely for the rest of their lives.


9 thoughts on “A Mother’s Impression of Paraguay

  1. Way to go, Mom! Great to hear all your insights! Allison may have convinced you to become a permanent blogger or create your own, right?!?! So glad you and Mike were able to make the trip and I’m sure Allison and Isaiah loved having you!

  2. Kristen, I liked reading about your reflections (along with the photos) on Yuty and your time with Allison, Isaiah, and the community, too. So glad you made the trip.

  3. Pingback: The Must-Sees of Asunción | Gold Stars & Double Rainbows

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