The past few days have been somewhat of a blur, with each day blending into the next. Today was our first day back in Asuncion, but this time we aren’t staying in Hotel Chaco. This time, we are staying with the kids in colegio San Jose. Immediately, I realized a huge contrast between the communities of Isla Pucu, Santa Ana, and of the students of colegio San Jose. After leaving Isla Pucu, I walked away with a better sense of what a community should be like and how to be humble and caring. Isla Pucu became a home away from home and my host family made sure that I was having a good time. Isla Pucu prides itself on hospitality and affection.
All of a sudden, I’m at dinner with 70 guests, yet this time the tables have been turned. This time, I’m supposed to be a host to the Santa Ana and San Jose students. Sounds simple, but it was more difficult than you might think. In Isla Pucu, I didn’t feel like a tourist, I felt like a family. Everyone from Santa Ana and San Jose are also very kind and caring, yet there seems to be a disconnect between the two. It was sort of difficult to host a conversation with both groups at first, but it became a bit easier with time. It was interesting to see how different the groups were, yet how at the same time, they are similar. If you put aside the ipods, headphones and blackberry’s, you might see a spitting image of yourself. All of the people here are so kind as to welcome us into their homes and into their lives. I am grateful for that.
Despite this, the poverty in Isla Pucu and in Santa Ana is striking. I was surprised and shocked to see the extent of which poverty affected the lives of the people. It was especially difficult to walk past the harsh living conditions in some areas of Santa Ana and realize how close we are to the city.
In my remaining days here, I hope the groups from San Jose, Santa Ana, Isla Pucu and LearnServe realize that there is so much that needs to be done and that here is so much that we can do. Though we will be leaving Paraguay soon, I hope that the people here realize the purpose of the murals we are painting and the clothes we are distributing. I hope they realize that no matter where you are from, you can make a difference.