We hit it off right away when volunteers Braden and Shalissa visited us in Yuty nearly a year ago. It was high time we returned the favor, so the other weekend Isaiah and I set off toward their town on the border of Paraguay and Argentina, Paso de Patria.
The 14-hour journey each way was well worth the fun we had seeing them on their home turf, meeting their host family, and even cruising on the river. Not to mention the opportunity to connect with Shalissa and Braden once again.
We got to meet a bunch of their youth who stopped by their house to say hello and take a break on their cozy hammock.
One of the highlights of the visit was going out on their host dad’s boat which is named Cerro Porteño for his, and many many other Paraguayans’, favorite soccer team.
We traveled on two rivers during the outing: the Río Paraguay and the Río Parana. It was obvious where the two met as the water was moving at very different speeds. Amazing.
The day was gorgeous and the trip was relaxing.
We each got a turn as the captain.
Luckily the river was wide open when I took the wheel. Also luckily, Shalissa didn’t fall in when she reached over to check out the water.
Of course we packed chocolate milk and cookies for a snack on the boat because, like Erenio their host dad reminded us, being on the water makes you hungry.
Speaking of hunger, we ate very well that weekend as Braden and Shalissa are both wonderful cooks. Additionally, we were invited back to the host family’s house to make and eat chipa cabure. That’s the cheesy corn bread deliciousness, but instead of being shaped and baked in an oven, it is put on a stick and roasted slowly over an open fire.
Everyone joked that there was nothing small about the host family. The mother Virginia makes everything to epic proportions. For example, they estimated that one of her homemade empanadas was equivalent to about five that you can buy.
When Virginia came out of the house with humongous masses of chipa dough on two thick sticks, the conversation stopped and everyone worked to keep their chins from hitting the floor.
They were huge and delicious and warm and perfectly toasted.
The next morning we were up bright and early to make the trek home, still smiling at the good memories we had made visiting our friends.
To keep up the energy as we waited at a bus terminal, we guzzled up some drinkable coco yogurt in honor of Isaiah’s mom Alice, who fell in love with the stuff during her visit. Delicious!
Many thanks to Braden and Shalissa for being fabulous hosts. We miss it already!