As wealth distribution in this highly corrupt country is extremely unequal, about 60 % of the rural population live in poverty. The common people live in extended family groups – several small wooden shacks close together – and are very dependent upon one another. Each family has some chickens, a pig or two, and a small plot of mandioca and maize. Guarani, the language of the heart and home, is the most common; many people struggle with Spanish which is used for schooling and business. The local folk religion and beliefs revolve around fear and superstition which produce insecurity and ignorance.

Some of the teens who have been coming regularly to our clubs for quite a few years have recently shown that God's Spirit has been working in their lives. One has stood up to his extended family for doing right and as a result has been expelled from the clan. Two of the others have been coming regularly to read together about God's plan for mankind, and specifically for their lives. Another has changed markedly in his behaviour, the townsfolk even comment on how he is not the same rascal he used to be!

Kiwis coming here might be surprised by the strong military presence and guards with firearms everywhere. They would enjoy the genuine welcoming attitude and friendliness of Paraguayans to invite him into their home and give them the best of what they have. They may be saddened by the fatalism and lack of initiative in the common people.

The amazing micro-fauna constantly amazes us, as we come across incredibly shaped and coloured bugs, beetles, spiders, iguanas, snakes, so much infinite variety and beauty contained in the "little" things!

By Francisco & Joanna

Tags: Francisco & Joanna | Paraguay | South America

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