Read below for another entry in The Paraguay Chronicles, and find out what Kendyl loves about the food and people in Paraguay!
Written by Kendyl Kolb
Since arriving in Paraguay, our team has had the chance to experience new and fascinating foods, landscapes and art. The people of Paraguay speak mainly Spanish, but the majority of the population also speaks the indigenous language, Guarani. People tend to mix the two together. We’ve had a fun time trying to not only maneuver our way through Aregua (the town we’re in) speaking Spanish, but also learning phrases in Guarani.
Besides language, the Paraguayan culture has introduced us to new foods like sopa Paraguaya, which is a traditional food that you would expect to be soup, but it is actually more like cornbread. We have also enjoyed milanesa de pollo, empanadas, and mandioca. Of course, we’ve had to throw in the occasional pizza for a small taste of home! The freshly squeezed juices are delicious, and the famous Paraguayan drink is called terrere, which is a tea that you can find in the hands of just about everyone, young or old, as they go about their day.
Our team can usually be found eating our delicious Paraguayan food at Don Pablo’s Restaurant. We go there for lunch and dinner almost every day. We have become friends with our server, Julio, who is there every night (he has just about memorized our orders!). For breakfast we often have toast with dulce de leche (caramel sauce) and fruit.
Although the food is muy delicioso, the people here in Paraguay are even more amazing. We have had so much fun getting to know the people that work for Good Neighbors. Each one of them has a fun and fascinating story about life here. Everyone in the community has been extremely welcoming, hospitable, sweet and, most of all, understanding when I cannot speak Spanish very well. Our project involves us working at the local school and we have really gotten to know the kids as well as the teachers. They are all so excited to see us everyday and are always ready to talk to us, play with us, and even help us work. We have heard stories, legends, and dreams from so many different people here and it has brought us so much joy. More often than not, many kids say their dreams are to be in the World Cup because futbol (soccer) is extremely popular here.
Another popular part of their culture is clay work. Walking along the streets of Aregua, you can find hundreds of handmade clay sculptures and pots for sale everywhere you go. Along with pottery, there are often hammocks for sale. The people love hammocks and it has also been one of our favorite things to enjoy here at our hostel with our host. We’ve also visited the beach down by our hostel and see some beautiful handmade crafts.
We’ve also learned a lot about the Paraguayan culture through sight-seeing. We visited the local church in Aregua, which was beautiful, and we also visited Aregua’s famous castle. We have encountered beautiful fruit trees and broken down railroads, and cobblestone streets. We also toured the capitol, Asuncion, and saw the house of the President of Paraguay.
Our experience in Paraguay has been nothing short of amazing. The people, the language, the food, and the sights have been wonderful. Everything here is definitely shaping my outlook on life and culture. I’m looking forward to the many more adventures I know we’ll have during the rest of our time here!
Are YOU interested in volunteering for Good Neighbors? Visit our website here to learn more!