Once upon a time, in 1524, a Portuguese explorer named Mr. Garcia founded Paraguay. In the following years progress was slow as the native people fought with the Spanish in an attempt to keep control of their land. However, the native Guaranies were forced to work for the Spanish people and try as the Spanish King might, it was difficult to assure rights or quality of life to the native people.
That was, until the Jesuits arrived in the 1580s and dramatically improved life for the native people. Sure, the Jesuits evangelized but additionally worked to build towns and restore public order with the people. They also studied the Guaraní language (just like I need to keep doing) and helped turn it into a written language, as earlier it was nothing but an oral tradition.
Fast forward to today and see that these Jesuit Mission Ruins are some of the best preserved in the world. They were even declared World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Lucky for us, the ruins of Trinidad sit just a couple hours from our house so my parents, Isaiah and I took a little trip to check them out one afternoon after visiting the local soup kitchen where my parents gave all the workers brand new t-shirts and all the children mechanical pencils covered in fun designs.
You wouldn’t know it by this photo, but these two cooks were thrilled and giggly to finally have a “uniform” and have been wearing their matching shirts each day they work ever since. We translated that their shirts say “dedicated to quality and service” and explained that Menards is a store and a brand and left it at that. They love them.
Here’s my dad teaching some boys how to get the pencil lead out and then push it back in again. Pretty cool!
Although dusk was quickly approaching, we walked around what used to be the main church and could still see the altar. We saw what used to be the dorms where the townspeople slept and the various buildings used as the kitchen, chapel and other necessities of daily life.
After this journey through time we stopped at a delicious restaurant in Encarnación for dinner before returning to our home for the night.
As the cold rain comes down and the winds blow fiercely outside today, it’s fun to think back on our time with my parents. Still to come includes our tour of a yerba factory and our time in Asunción. Thanks for journeying along with us!