The Paraguay Chronicles: I don’t want to go home!

It’s time for the second entry of The Paraguay Chronicles! DeMaree, another student from Azusa Pacific University, tells us about her first impressions of Asuncion, Paraguay. 

Written by DeMaree Scobey

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Meeting a school teacher and a few students

During my first car ride in Asuncion, Paraguay, I noticed that the roads were very bumpy. There were no speed bumps but large bumps on the road every five seconds (sorry buttocks!). There are SO many cobblestone streets, which is very different from the roads back home. The country is very old-school, which I love.

First we went to Aregua to visit a school, and I noticed that the kids play soccer and other games with each other all day long. It is very refreshing to see that instead of kids staring at technology constantly.

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Meeting the children at the school in Aregua for the first time

We drive through the streets often and I have found that the country is very artistic because there is a lot of street art. It is less graffiti, and more art. There was a gorgeous mural of some kind in the first hostel we stayed at and it had many graffiti influences. There are also a lot of pottery and art shops along the sides of most roads. On every street there are plenty of trees and plants. The cities are very green. Asuncion is a very colorful city and everything is appealing, even when it’s not meant to be. For instance, the broken down building next to the hostel we stayed at in Asuncion was beautiful.

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Graffiti art at our first hostel in Asuncion

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A house just down the road from the school we’re working at in Aregua

Even though Paraguay has many issues with waste management, my first impression of the people was of complete happiness. You see parents playing with their kids while surrounded by dirt and trash, but they are still completely happy. I feel as though they are more thankful for what they have here in this country.

To be honest, I have loved every second here in Paraguay. I honestly don’t even want to return to the United States.

 

Interested in learning more about our volunteer opportunities? Visit our website!

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WHY I GIVE: Meet Nelson

We’re so excited to share our new blog series with you, WHY I GIVE! In these blog entries, you will meet donors and volunteers who support our projects, and learn what inspired them! 

First up, meet Nelson, an avid runner who has been supporting Good Neighbors projects since 2013.

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Running for Team Good Neighbors at the 2014 LA Marathon

“It’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return.”

My name is Nelson, and I am from El Salvador. I’m an assistant manager at an oil change shop, where I have been for the past 9 years. I first heard about Good Neighbors through my cousin, who was working at a cafe in the same building as the organization. She saw a flyer advertising that Good Neighbors was running the LA Marathon, and told me about it, so I contacted them. I was really excited for the opportunity to run it because I had been wanting to run a marathon for a couple years but still hadn’t had the chance. I quickly joined their 2014 team to support their Project Cookstoves. In 2015, Good Neighbors was running the LA Big 5K, so I joined that team as well, in support of Project Good Sisters!

Through running with Team Good Neighbors, I soon learned about their Child Sponsorship program. I was very interested, and I’m so happy that I now sponsor Juan!

Juan Pedro, the child Nelson sponsors

The Child Sponsorship program interested me because I was raised by a single mom, and she always taught me to be generous with other people. My mom is an amazing example, because she has been sponsoring my nephew for quite some time, and the help that she has provided has helped him to be the boy that he is now. I want to be an example for Juan, just like my mom is for my nephew.

Since I’m on my own, I thought I might as well do something good. If you’re able to help out anyone else less fortunate than you, then you have to. I believe in helping your brothers and sisters; and they don’t have to be blood-related. I like to help by giving with the little bit that I have.  It’s not a sacrifice, nothing mandatory, it’s just from my heart. I feel good doing it and I’m blessed.

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Nelson and his family

People ask, “why do you do it?” Well, because  it’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return. Also, knowing that you’ve actually made a difference in someone else’s life is amazing, because hopefully that person will grow up and think, “I had help once.” And later on, since he had help once, he may be able to help somebody else.

My favorite part of sponsoring Juan is when I receive his photos and letters.  He seems really happy, and that makes me happy.  You never know where he was before being sponsored, how he was living, or whether he had something to eat. It makes me happy to know he now gets food everyday, and goes to school.  It feels amazing to help other people, especially someone that you know can never repay you. But as long as you know they’re having a good life for themselves, you feel happy.

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I would totally recommend the Child Sponsorship program to my friends. I really value what I am doing for Juan’s future.

Thank you, Nelson, we know Juan appreciates you too and because of you, he will get a childhood full of education and happiness! Are YOU interested in learning more about our Child Sponsorship program? Visit our website here

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The Paraguay Chronicles: Meet the Team!

We recently sent off a volunteer team from Azusa Pacific University to Paraguay, where they’ll be working on community development projects for a month! Throughout their trip, they’ll be updating us through this blog, so make sure to keep reading. First up is Emily introducing the project to us! 

Written by Emily Thorlakson

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My name is Emily and I am leading a group of student volunteers to work with Good Neighbors on a waste management project in Aregua, Paraguay this June. My team is from Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, California. I just graduated in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. I plan to get my dual Masters in Public Health and Business so that I can work in the healthcare administration field.

We’ll be spending a month in Paraguay, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

Waiting for our flight!

Waiting for our flight!

Off to Paraguay!

Off to Paraguay!

Our waste management project will consist of cleaning up waste around a school in Aregua, painting murals and then building a playground for the kids out of recyclable materials. My team is volunteering for this project because we want to support waste management and proper public health in Paraguay. We also are very excited to help build something sustainable for the community to enjoy. Good Neighbors is doing a wonderful job serving their community in Paraguay and I am so glad to be a part of it. Some members of my team have volunteered in other countries before, but none of us have served in Paraguay until now.

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We’ve arrived…. and so has our luggage!

Here is a bit about my team members, who will also be blogging about our volunteer trip:

Anna-Kate is my co-leader and she is a fourth year Psychology and Biblical Studies major. She is obsessed with tea!

Kendyl is a fourth year Biblical Studies major and is a spectacular baker.

Sabrina is a second year nursing student. Her family is from Switzerland and she loves to visit there often.

Demaree is a second year Psychology student. Her dream is to one day be an actor and her Plan B is counseling. Fun fact: she’s a twin!

Aaron is a fourth year Psychology major and hopes to become a Neuropsychologist one day. I can’t believe it, but he used to have a mullet!

John graduated from APU this past May with a BA in Sociology. He loves sloths and wants to visit a sloth orphanage. Also, his spirit animal is a sea turtle.

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The team!

My team consists of people from many different backgrounds and majors. We did not know eachother before this team was formed, but we know we will work well together. We are a crazy bunch, but I love it!

Stay tuned for more blog entries documenting our trip…. Now, let’s get to work!

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WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD LABOR

June 12 is World Day Against Child Labor, and this year’s focus is on the importance of education as a key step in tackling this horrific issue. Read the facts below, and learn how you can support us in our mission to ensure children have better futures by visiting our website.

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Meet Sweet Paty

In our new Child Sponsorship series, we will be introducing you to the children around the world in our Child Sponsorship Program who have amazing sponsors to help them with education, food, medicine, and more! First, we’d like to introduce you to Paty from Guatemala!

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Hi! My name is Juana Patricia Miculax Martin, but I like to be called “Paty.” I am 9 years old and I live with my parents and 7 siblings. We live in the village of Caman, which is located in the community of Patzicia, Guatemala.  Here are a some pictures of my community that I’d like to share with you!

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A beautiful view of Patzicia

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Patzicia Daily Market

In my free time, I like playing with my toy dishes, listening to music, reading stories, and painting. I also love helping my mom at home. When I grow up, I want to become an Elementary school teacher. I want to teach other children that dreams do come true.

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Patty soccer

The Good Neighbors Sponsorship program has been an awesome opportunity that I love being a part of. It has tremendously helped my family and me by providing everything I need to fulfill my education. For example, Good Neighbors provides me with school supplies, food, shoes and clothing, among many other things. With the help of my sponsor, I have realized that my dreams can come true! I’m really thankful to have a sponsor that cares for my education.

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I just wrote this letter to my sponsor!

Hello Friend,

How are you? I am very happy.

I would like to let you know that I would like to meet you very soon. I would love to go out, play, walk, and have fun with you until we get tired.

I say goodbye with infinite thanks to you for all the love and support that you have given me.

Thank you and never forget that I love you so much. Kisses!

Sincerely yours,
Juana Patricia Miculax Martin “Paty”

What a sweet letter from Paty to her sponsor! If YOU are interested in being  a part of the life of a child like her, visit us here to get more information!

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News + Notes from Our Corner of the World