Today was another fun day in Paraguay. We met in the Plaza Grande at 9 am. We filled up our water bottles and walked to Comedor Loma (different from the one where we ate before). A comedor is a small house and kitchen where gracious women prepare lunch for children and sometimes elderly people or adults. The first thing the señoras showed us was how to pick yucca. Just like a potato, yucca grows in the ground and must be pulled up. My friends Jeremy and Martese took turns chopping down the trees and pulling up the yucca. Once we had a basketful, we took the yucca back to the comedor to be peeled and cooked. While the women were preparing lunch, my friends and I were having so much fun with the neighborhood kids. They love taking pictures, playing games, and laughing. For lunch, we had a yucca, onion, egg and cheese dish that was mixed together and cooked. We also helped some of the meal by peeling yucca and chopping onions. It was a very delicious meal.
After clean-up, we all sat in a circle and learned more information about the comedor and the community. The ladies that work there devote their time and effort into helping others. However, they do not always receive enough funds to provide lunch every day for the neighborhood kids. It is sad to think that such loving women do not receive enough money for their good intentions. Some kids go days without eating. They must go from house to house or pick fruit from the trees to eat. Listening to the information about the comedor made me stop and think, I should always be grateful for what I have and all the food I get to eat. Food is not as accessible in Paraguay as in the US. Sometimes, or most of the time, it has to be grown, picked and prepared by the families themselves. I’m glad that all of us got to experience the comedor and learn about all of the work the señoras do for the community.
Later in the day, we went on an excursion to visit a national park outside of Isla Pucu. The park included ships from the Triple Alliance War, involving Paraguay versus the countries Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The Brazilians came along the river, but it dried up so that ships had nowhere to go. They are still in pretty good shape, given the circumstances. Paraguay lost a lot of valuable men and land from that war. It is amazing how you never learn about history, especially various wars, like in Latin America, that impact society for a long time.
After our field trip, we all went back to our host houses to enjoy the evening together. I enjoy eating dinner with my family and reading books to the children. It was a fun day. Tomorrow we start our projects at the different schools. I can’t wait!!