Thursday, April 30, 2009

No Questions ?

I was rather surprised that not many of you asked me questions about the food choices on my post yesterday. I expected to be asked what different foods tasted like.


Tapir tastes much like beef. The tapir is actually related to the horse and I would suppose it tastes like horse. Having never eaten horse, I can not verify this!

(Photo by Michael Dawson)
Also, did anyone spot the sloth in this photo?

Roasted Monkey

I prefer to use it disguised in soups and cut into small fine pieces. The roasted whole monkeys turned my stomach as they resemble babies. I have often served monkey to visitors unaware. If it was the only meat I had. If ground and cooked in chili or spaghetti , they never knew!


Macaw is a dark meat and TOUGH! No, I mean, TOUGH. You can cook it forever and a day and it will still be tough. You can cook it in a pressure cooker, and it will still be tough. It's just TOUGH!

Palm Grubs

Grubs are very oily. If you fry them, they crisp up like bacon but with the flavor of the palm oil which they eat. Not my favorite.

Earth Worms

Taste like rubber bands with sand in them. Unless they are smoked over a fire, then they taste like Slim Jim's!


I have only eaten these with the indians on a dare. I do not like to be dared! All I recall is that they were crunchy.


The tail of the gator is very good. I would cut it into small bite size pieces, batter and deep fry it. Served with honey mustard sauce and the kids thought they were chicken nuggets from McDonald's!


I have never eaten one. I have heard they steam over the fire and POP their exoskeletons. Some MK's have told me the legs taste like shrimp. I will take their word for it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's on the menu?

Here is a collection of photographs of some of the things I have eaten during my time in the jungle. (I did not take all of the photos myself. Some were shared by friends. Thanks to the Dawson, Findley, Jank, and Mutti families.)


(Photo by Michael Dawson)

Roasted Monkey

(Photo from the Findleys)


(Photo from Michael Dawson)

Palm Grubs

Earth Worms


Gator (caiman)

(Photo from Jacob Mutti)


(Photo from Jank's)

( This is the only one I have not tried, but thought you would like to see it anyway)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Señor Topocho

In Venezuela we were introduced to various types of bananas. From the cooking plantains to several varieties of eating bananas, the small 'manzano' to the 'topocho'.

We were delighted to discover a topocho banana plant in our yard. We found this banana which is short and a bit rounder than the more common ones, to be sweet and delicious. When the banana plant gave its fruit, a nice large bunch of bananas, we enjoyed them greatly and determined to keep the topocho plant alive so that we might enjoy its fruit yet again. ( Los que saben, ya están reindo!)

Unfortunately, the plant began to ...droop! We noticed it seemed to be wilting and drying out. So my husband decided to try to save the plant. He found some rope and tied the plants stalk up to a pipe. But it continued to droop, now in another direction. We were very concerned because we really wanted to save the plant so conveniently located in our own yard!

So Yekwnaman added another rope to pull the stalk in the opposite direction. This continued for a week or so. Each day we would notice the banana plant drooping in a new direction, so we would add a rope trying to support the plant. It seemed as if a drunken spider had spun a web in our yard, with ropes strung in every direction!

Finally, we asked for help. A friend who worked in gardens came by to see what was ailing our poor topocho banana plant. He stopped, looked at the plant being held up by rope, glanced at us with a bewildered look upon his face, and laughed !!! He laughed, and laughed and laughed!

He finally said,"Your topocho is dead!"

We sadly asked, "You mean, it can't be saved? We really wanted more topochos to eat!"

"No", he said "Once a banana plant gives fruit, it dies! You can't save it!"

"But... we liked the topochos! We want more!"

And then he proceeded to explain the mystery of the banana plant. Each plant gives fruit and then dies. BUT... not to worry! The plant has off shoots (hijitos) which had already sprung up around the base of the dying stalk. These would provide a continuous supply of topochos for our eating pleasure.

oh...we didn't know ...

And from that day forth, my husband had the nickname of 'Topocho' in Venezuela! Even when called on the ham radio, people would ask to speak to ' Señor Topocho' much to his chagrin.

I found this photo essay of how to harvest bananas!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Niguas / Shichas

(The following was written by my youngest daughter Jayde.
Let me just warn you that she is quite the character!)

Shichas. They are horrible little creatures, and I haven't the faintest idea why God invented them but He must have had a reason.

These little shichas were little tiny flea-like bugs that lived in dirt and would climb into your foot and make a nest of baby shichas IN YOUR FOOT. The only way to get rid of one, was to poke it out with a needle. This, as you can probably imagine, hurt. And the fact that I ran around bare-foot, made me come home with little nature presents in my feet nearly every day.

Mom was the shicha remover. She was the mom, thus, she had needles and therefore, was the one who dealt with the problem. She would await us in the room, like she wasn't happy to have the privilege of holding our jungle feet and picking disgusting shichas out of our foot. What an honor! I can't imagine why she wouldn't be thrilled...

It would start with HER. Spotting us limping as casually as we could manage, (which wasn't very discreet.) The shichas ITCHED LIKE YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE while they were in your foot. They squirmed around and built nests all inside your foot. So, trying to walk in a casual manner was NOT as easy as it may sound.

We weren't overjoyed to have someone pick at our feet. It hurt and tickled at the same time, if you can imagine that. Dad was the funniest whenever he had a shicha in his foot. It was family-time. We'd all gather around as Mom prepared the foot. She would place it on her lap, needle in hand, and one of us kids holding the Somergan lotion. Somergan would kill the little devil, hiding in our foot. Mostly what mom would do was poke a big hole and DOUSE the fellow with Somergan.

Dad would sit there. Holding on to something. Usually he clutched the chair so hard that we all feared it might fall apart.
"Ready?" Mom would ask.
"OOkaay.." And with that, she could pierce the needle into my Dad's foot and--
"YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! OUCH OUCH OUCH!" He would yelp, and he would move, and Mom had to point out that if he moved again, it would hurt him even more.

Dad sat still for maybe two more minutes as Mom poked and prodded around in his foot. If he had a nest in his foot this process could take hours. We would beg Mom to leave it alive.

We kids were evil to them. Once we took them out, we'd steal Mom's needle, the Somergan, the matches and begin the torture. We hated shichas. They made us look like idiots for scratching our feet during Sunday service. It was FINE if the Indians did it, but if we did it, Mom would take us out of church and home and then pick it out and we'd go back to church feeling relieved.

One night, we had an experiment. We wanted to see just how tough Demon, (that's what we named it) was. We filled a cup with water. He swam around. He was smaller than a flea. Then he JUMPED out of the cup and we dashed for him. We didn't want to kill it, because we weren't done playing with it yet. Josh finally caught him, digging into our cat's tail. The cat took care of it, and then my brother Josh pried it away from Maxine. He held it in a napkin.

Next we burned it. Over the gas stove, we speared it with the needle and roasted him like a marshmallow. Only...we didn't eat it.

We tried soaking it in a bowl of Somergan, and we tried to flush it down the toilet. The toilet worked, and we had to go to bed.

The next day, someone, I won't say who, used the restroom and ...well...we'll leave it at that.

We enjoyed shichas. Part of life. And we dealt with them appropriately and enthusiastically!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Funny

Jungle Mom had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man
in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: 'Stop! Acts 2:38( Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. Jungle Mom calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: 'Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.'

'Scripture?' replied the burglar. 'She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!'

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons!

This is Jungle Mom on a diet...

I have been on the Cabbage Soup Diet this week.( Cabbage Soup Diet Reviews) I am sick to death of the smell of cabbage and may never eat it again in my life, but it is working! So, dieting being very much on my mind this week, here are a few diet tips for you all.

1) Get a doctor's approval before beginning any diet!

2) Be accountable to someone for your caloric intake!

3) Don't worry too much!

4) Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables!

5) Experiment with new recipes!

6) Don't weigh yourself AT ALL!

7) If you feel you must weigh, use this method only!

8) Remember to exercise!

9) Take advantage of any exercise equipment available to you!

10)It helps to own a gun!

But all joking aside, I am proud to announce that I have manged to lose over 30lbs since Christmas and am actually lower than my pre-furlough weight. That would be pre- furlough #5 weight. I do not think I will ever see pre- furlough #1 weight, as that was 110lbs and, well, it just
aint gunna happen!

Do you have a diet or exercise tip you wish to share with us?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Things I See

A couple of important facts you should know in case you ever come to visit me down here in Paraguay.

(photo by Jackie)

First! You are NOT allowed to ride your bicycle upside down!

(Photo by the Schell Family)

Second! If you need to 'GO' ,make sure and use the appropriate spot which is clearly marked for your convenience!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Drama, the Drama!

We folks here in Paraguay have been living with a lot of drama the last few weeks. I mean, BIG TIME, there- is -nothing- else- to- talk -about, DRAMA!

Our politics here are more like a Soap Opera these days. One just never knows what dark secret may emerge on any given day! It's intense, the people are passionate, it's all on the news! I even get interesting text messages about it!

What is it?

Well...listen my child and you shall hear!

Last August, in a historical election, Paraguay elected the populist candidate Fernando Lugo, affectionately called Lugo, to the office of Presidency. People have placed a lot of hope for change on this man. He is an ex-priest, actually, an ex-Bishop, of the Catholic church here.

Last week a young, very young, woman came forward claiming Lugo as the father of her baby. Originally, many denied it, but as the DNA test proves her to be correct, the President graciously acknowledged the child as his own. About two years after the fact, but at least he did the right thing.

Of course, this means the affair happened while Lugo was still a priest. Scandal!!!! I thought the scandal was in response to his fornication but it turns out, more people are upset that he did not use some form of birth control and THIS is sending a wrong message to the youth of the country. It is puzzling...he sinned against the Church by not remaining celibate, but would not sin by using protection?

Once the President acknowledged the child as his own, things seemed to be calming down, when...ANOTHER woman came forth making the same claim! Once again, it seems her child is truly the off spring of the President.

The opposition law makers are, of course, making a lot out of this. One stood up in the Senate asking the President to please go ahead and acknowledge all of his illegitimate children and allow the legislative body to return to law making, rather than deal with all of this.

And things calmed down...until TODAY!

Now a third woman is making the same claim!

Could it be?

And now I hear, not three, but six women are making the same claims!

Who knows???? but it will keep us all talking for a few more days!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Venezuelan opposition leader has formally asked Peru for political asylum.

The Rosales Children
(10 in all, the oldest is in Spain I beleive)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My kitchen

More of my amazing house in Paraguay!

Welcome to my kitchen!

The baskets above the cabinets are all made by the Ye'kwana indians.
There is also a small wooden bench which was made by a Sanema indian.

The china cabinet is a built in left by the owner.
The table was made by my husband in the jungle.
It is made of cedar.

He cut the tree, milled the planks, and built the table.
This table represent our family life as we ate, played games,
did school work and had many a meal with friends sitting at this table!

(You can also see my laundry on the line through the door)

The mess in the corner is my 'spot'.
This is where I keep my home school materials
as well as my Scrap booking supplies.

I also write many blog posts in this corner!

The kitchen and dining room in The Jungle Hut!

My husband's pride and joy!
This coffee maker was a gift from a supporting church and it gets plenty of use!
I wish you all could come and sit in my kitchen with me to share a cup of coffee!

What do you suppose we might chat about??

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Waiting Room

I have recently been spending a lot of time in various waiting rooms here in Paraguay and in one particular waiting room, I realized something. Paraguay is a unique kind of place.

I walk into the room, a small room which only seats about 10 people and on the walls and doors are signs and advertisements in Spanish. One would expect this. We are in the capital city of a South American country, after all.

Spanish looks like this: John 3:16 - Spanish
Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.

After taking a seat, my husband and I each reach for magazines. The one he picks up happens to be in Portuguese. There are many Brazilians living in Paraguay and in the last office I was in an irate Brazilian woman was having a difficult time making herself understood. She would have enjoyed a Portuguese magazine, I suppose.The rest of us would have liked for her to have had a magazine to read!!!

To entertain ourselves, we read the Portuguese magazine. This is fairly simple to do as the written Portuguese resembles Spanish. I can understand some written Portuguese and did develop an ear for the language in the jungle because the only radio station we could pick up was Brazilian.

Portuguese looks like this: John 3:16 Porque Deus amou o mundo de tal maneira que deu o seu Filho unigênito, para que todo aquele que nele crê não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna.

After working our way through that magazine, my husband gets up to inspect an open Bible on a stand across the room. This is a Christian doctor who is attached to the Baptist Hospital, so it is not surprising to find a Bible here. However, it is a German Bible. That makes perfect sense here because there are many German Mennonite immigrants and many frequent this doctors office as he is Mennonite as well.

My husband returns to his seat and begins to look at my magazine which also happens to be in German. We do not do as well in translating the German as we had done with the Portuguese. We give up and begin entertaining one another with outlandish possible translations of words which remind us of something in some other language.

German looks like this: John 3:16 - German
Denn so hat Gott die Welt geliebt, daß er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, damit jeder, der an ihn glaubt, nicht verloren gehe, sondern ewiges Leben habe

During all this time, it is quite common to hear a word or phrase of Guarani thrown around by the others in the area.

Guarani looks like this: John 3:16
Tupf ¥andey ra ohayhu etere¡gui yvyp¢ra ku‚rape, ome'† va'ekue Ta'wra petexet‚, opa umi hese oyerovi va ani haguf o¤ehundi, oguereko haguf uvei pe tekove tapia guarf.

Finally, we are ushered in to see the doctor, where we converse in English, as he is Canadian.

The small waiting room was a microcosm of the country of Paraguay with all its various peoples, languages and cultures.

English looks like this: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We LOVE Passion Fruit!

My oldest daughter, Jackie of Keepin' Sane with Littles wrote this a few years ago while we visited Paraguay. Things have been a little busy around here of late leaving me little time to write so I decided to re post it. Have a laugh on us!

Passion fruit juice is my favorite juice of all time. It is called "parchita" in Venezuela, "maracuya" in Costa Rica, and both "mburcuya" and "maracuya" in Paraguay.

No, not confusing at all.

Whatever it may be called, I love it! It's always in season in Venezuela and I grew up drinking the stuff. It cuts your thirst like no other juice. In Costa Rica it was known for lowering blood pressure, and in Paraguay they tell me it makes you sleepy. Passion fruit juice makes you sleepy? I had never heard that, however, I recently learned that if you drink gallons of it at one sitting then, yes, it will make you sleepy.

When my parents were here visiting in November we took them out to one of our favorite restaurants, La Paulista. It's a Brazilian style steak house and the food is really good. So is their passion fruit juice. They bring the juice to you in small glass pitchers. Each pitcher holds about two servings of juice. We can chug the stuff down pretty fast, because we're all passion fruit (or parchita, or maracuya, or mburucya...) fanatics. My parents loved the food and juice so much, we went back another day with my two sisters.
"Oh, you just have to try their passion fruit juice!" We told the girls this many times on our way to the restaurant.
After being seated by the very kind waiter, we all placed our orders for "The Juice." Imagine our dismay when he said they were all out.

"You're out?"
"Yes, sir. We're all out."
"You mean you're out of The Juice that comes in glass pitchers? Cold and frosty? Ya know...when you bring the small pitcher to the table...?"
"Oh! That Juice. No, we have some. I will bring you a pitcher of juice."

And off he went. We were happy. He returned with a glass pitcher of The Juice which we basically inhaled.

"We want four more pitchers, please."
"Four, sir?"
"Yes, four more pitchers. Please."
"Yes. Four more pitchers of The Juice."
"You want FOUR? But there are only six of you."

By now we're wondering what is wrong with this guy. Each pitcher is about two servings of juice. We can all easily drink that. Finally, the point was made and he understood that we wanted Four, yes, FOUR, pitchers of Our Favorite Juice Of All Time.

We all ate contentedly, stuffing our faces with the delicious food, getting more full by the minute and wondering where our Juice was.

Then it came.

Four HUGE pitchers, full to the brim, of The Juice.

Gone were the cute little personal glass pitchers, and in their place were four tall, pitchers of juice with about two liters in each pitcher. That's 8 liters of juice...for six people.

Who are already full.

However, these six people are not your regular run of the mill people. We have blazed jungle trails, had babies at home, built houses out of duct tape, lived overseas, survived military coups, and WE CAN DRINK THE JUICE!! All of it! Because there's no way on this earth we're going to admit being wrong to the waiter. He did try to warn us, after all.
For a while we sat in awe. Each one of us estimating how much room there was left in our stomachs...Not much considering we had eaten a considerable amount of cow, chicken and pork.
Brian poured us all a glass, and it began.
We chugged down the first glass. Not too bad.
Then the second...then the glass number four our we're all taking dainty little sips, and glancing at the waiter our of the corners of our eyes. We didn't feel stupid. Not one bit.

As we drank glass, after glass, after glass of the juice I thought I heard something...a tiny voice...turns out it was my stomach pleading for mercy. I ignored my stomach's pleas and said to myself, "Must. Drink. The. Juice!" And I drank some more...

Finally, the mission was complete. The Juice That Never Ends was gone. Every last drop.

We paid our bill and tipped the waiter with a cocky sense of "Ha! We showed them!" I think I may have heard them laughing as we walked out the door. "Hey, Pablo! Did you see that group of Yankees that were dumb enough to order FOUR pitchers of juice !!! (Cackle,cackle)

Then began our trip home. The roads in Paraguay are known for being, um, AWFUL. "Bumpy" is an understatement, but it's the word I will use for now. I had never noticed how bumpy the roads really are till I had a stomach full of liquid. With every bump, our stomachs sloshed. With every slosh, we groaned.

The road home went something like this:



"Grooooaaannn...." by six very "sloshy" people.




At one point during the ride home some brave soul asked, "Why didn't we just leave the juice?"

The car got quiet. What exactly were we trying to prove? Maybe we just wanted to give the waiters something to laugh about that day. Maybe we feel like good stewards for not wasting the juice. Maybe we just needed a funny story to remember. Who knows?

What I DO know is this: The Paraguayans are right. Passion fruit juice makes you very sleepy. We all went home and crashed on our beds...well, first we stood in line outside of the bathrooms, THEN we went to take naps.
Maybe it was one of those "you had to be there" kind of things, but it makes us all chuckle and therefore, it must be blogged about!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Funny

A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,

was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.

Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,

"Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the King James Virgin ?"

Thanks to Mighty Mom at My Wonderful Life

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversay

My parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage today.

Sadly, they are celebrating in the hospital as my Mom had major back surgery Friday.

For a full and complete update on Mom , read my
sisiter's blog!

Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday Morning Cartoons! Oops! A little late...

Random silliness form around the web...mostly from my friend Skittles, who never leaves me comments any more!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Things I See

All over Paraguay, even in down town Asuncion,
horse drawn carts are very common.

Sometimes we even see carts pulled by oxen. One day we were stopped at a busy intersection waiting for the traffic light to change. Next to us was a horse, alone. The horse had become separated from his cart and driver but still stopped politely at the red light.He stayed in his lane and patiently waited for the light to turn green. He then sauntered on down the avenue with the rest of us. Sadly, I had no camera on me that day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Personal Update

Good Friday Evening Service

Things have been very busy here. Good, but busy. I find I have not been able to visit many blogs regularly. I try and get around to everyone's at least once a week, but am not always able to.

Ministry wise, things are going well. We started the small home Bible Study here at the house for married couples and it has grown from 4 couples to 8 couples. It is fun to host them here at the house. We have one couple that has only been married for a few weeks and others ranging up to old married folk of over 20 years.

Couples Bible study at our house.

The back patio is perfect for the group.

Clint has also been able to continue with his outreach to the Paraguayan Air Force. The Commandant has asked him to begin another series of seminars on Saturdays for all the enlisted men. This has brought many good contacts. One of the men in the church is and officer in the Air Force and has been able to help with this tremendously. 38 men have placed their faith in Christ! On Sundays several people with cars go and pick as many up for service as we can, but not all are ever able to make it, so they come in turns. Easter Sunday several of these men, and others, were baptized by my son in law.

Sunday Morning Service.
You can see an entire aisle of the servicemen in dark blue uniforms.
They crack me up as they stand at Parade Rest during each and every song.

Clint has enjoyed the time with the military guys and was invited to watch the paratroopers jump. He has been offered a chance to jump as well as the rest of the family. The girls will probably do it but I don't think my back would handle it too well. BUMMERS! This is something I would truly love to be able to do!

The other church we have been helping has also increased in attendance of late. Clint was able to speak at a family camp for them and also the three day revival during the Easter week. There is a lead on a possible pastor for them which would be great!
Clint preaching.

A session at family camp.

Sunday School class.

Jayde, Jewel, and a friend before church .

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm NOT Catholic

Which will be quite obvious after this story!

When I was newly married, my husband and I worked part time as janitors in the evenings, to pay our school bills. One of my first jobs was to clean a Roman Catholic church. Prior to this, I had never stepped inside a Roman Catholic church! The only Catholic I knew was an uncle and we only spoke of that in hushed, pained voices. I come from a long line of Baptists and am the fifth generation of Baptist preacher's kids...we just never met many Catholics .

On my very first day, I was diligently vacuuming the multi purpose room which was where Mass was held and also used for other meetings including Bingo on the weekends. They had a rather ornate communion table with red velvet curtains which fell from the table top to the floor. Striving to do a thorough job, I pushed aside the curtains to vacuum under the table.

The sight I saw under the table turned my blood ice cold! I saw a pair of lifeless, bloody feet! I threw my hands up and screaming, ran off the platform into the arms of my husband! The priest and a nun came running to see what the commotion was all about.

I told them! There was a dead body stashed under the communion table! You should have seen their faces! Apparently, the church had a life size crucifix which they hung on the wall during Mass, but hid under the communion table during Bingo, not deeming it proper for Christ to look down upon such activity.

Oops! My bad. The priest was very kind when he realized my ignorance and he chuckled a bit about it.

A few weeks later, I decided to clean a small basin I had noticed. It was gold plated and a bit scummy to my eyes. I scrubbed and scrubbed and rinsed and rinsed until it shown!

Then I was given a lecture about Holy Water and how it had to be procured and blessed by a Bishop as it was the only water to be used for baptizing. It seems one does not wash it down the drain!

Oops! My bad. The priest was very patient as he explained but he did not find it funny at all.

The final straw happened a few weeks later. The church had a small break room and the priest had told us to help ourselves to any food there. Often we would find donuts or pastries and being poor college students, we did help ourselves! But on this day, there were no snacks out...except for a box of some kind of strange wafers. My husband and I both grabbed handfuls of the crackers to snack on as we worked. They did not have much flavor but did have a curious texture and way of melting on your tongue.

This time the priest was not even polite. I guess one should not snack on the Lord's body! For these curious wafers were the Host. In our defense, they were very different from the unleavened bread used by baptists in our communion services!

Oops! My bad. We never were sent back to clean that church but were reappointed to a bank.

I wonder if that priest remembers me?

(This is my light hearted attempt to remember this event which recounts my true ignorance at the time. I mean no offense to anyone and certainly no disrespect to the Communion or Lord's Table or even the Priest as he was truly kind to me.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Seeing your own reflection for the first time !