Friday, July 31, 2009

I bet you have never seen this before....

Walking a turtle on a leash

In the jungle Jayde had pet turtles. This one is Franklin. He was not named for the cartoon character Franklin the Turtle, but rather President Franklin Roosevelt. We were studying FDR in history class at the time and this turtle had a bum leg for awhile.

Franklin and Jayde went everywhere together.
Quite a sight!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Things I See

La Feria / Produce Market

My daughter took these lovely photos!
Keepin' Sane with Littles

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exotic foods

People often ask me about the foods we eat while living over seas. Americans seem to be very interested in our food choices. They usually ask if we have eaten anything 'exotic'. I know that when they use the word 'exotic' they really mean 'gross', and I am unsure as to how to answer such a question!

The difficulty lies in the fact that everything is relative to where you are and what is available. I have eaten many things that most Americans have never tried and most would NOT try, but I would only classify a few as gross. And while you might think eating live worms is an exotic dish, in the jungle it was merely fast food!

Live earth worms collected by Jungle Mom and friends

I have eaten goat, which I do not considered gross, especially when prepared in a coconut sauce. Pigs stomach, tripe, would be my personal choice for the one of the grossest thing I have had to eat overseas. Or maybe intestines cooked while containing half digested food. This delicacy was once served to us by a church congregation as we were seated in the center and everyone else stood and watched us eat. I had a hard time getting it down without showing disgust on my face. It was served us in love and I tried to think of all that love as I chewed and swallowed, breathed deeply through my nose, chewed and swallowed. That meal took the most effort of anything I have ever attempted, including natural childbirth!

I have also eaten monkey, but unless it is smoked whole, it is fine. It tastes fine even when smoked but it does resemble a small child and...well, you can imagine.

A missionary friend purchases smoked monkey for dinner

Then there are the rodents we ate in the jungle, including the world's largest rodent, the capybera, but they are quite tasty and make a good home made breakfast sausage as well. However, the wild boar is delicious!

The Mighty Hunter, MissionaryWalt Mutti

Grub worms are not too bad, very greasy, but they fry up nice and crisp, sort of like bacon. Earth worms are best eaten smoked, so if ever asked your preference, remember, go for the smoked, not the raw or live worms. Think you can remember that?

Palm Grubs

Then there are the insects. Termites, ants and such are common in hot sauces and really add no taste just a bit of texture, so it's all good! I have not eaten tarantulas myself, but they are said to taste like shrimp!

Tarantula on a stick
(thanks to the Jank family for the photo)

I've eaten gator which is quite tasty. I even tasted jaguar, which grosses out the Ye'kwana indians. I never ate snake but I have watched it be eaten with relish by indians. It seemed yucky, but who knows?

'Nails'and the Mutti boys home from the hunt

Since living in Paraguay, I can not recall eating anything too exotic. Some of the food is great, some is bland, but it is all quite edible. I think the worse food I have had here was a hamburger served to me at Burger King in Asuncion. So far anyway...

I easily can recall the most exotic (gross) food I have ever had to eat in my life. It was when my grand mother made me eat pickled pigs feet once while visiting her in West Virginia!!!!

What is the most 'exotic' food you have ever eaten?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Product of Missions

This is a trues story of a family, personal friends, working in India with our mission, BIMI.

The history of their family is incredible! I am sharing it with you , as told by David himself. It reveals the long reaching effects of missions and the fruits of missionary work. I hope you will be encouraged to get involved in missions in some way.

A Product of Missions!

by missionary David Divakar

Our story begins in British-India in the year 1890. A Hindu guru (teacher), in the small town of Sandoor in Southern India, sat under a Banyan tree teaching his disciples as he did every afternoon. This guru was a “Janghama” who came from a high cast and was greatly respected among other gurus. His name was Bassaiah. In a society where the human feet are considered unholy and therefore never allowed to touch another person’s feet, Bassaiah’s disciples would wash his feet. They would then drink that water as holy water because they worshiped him as a god and considered his feet holy.

One day, Bassaiah was reading from the “Kodaykal Vachanayagollu,” which is one of the religious books in Hinduism. As he read and explained each verse from this book to his disciples, he came across a passage that said, “All religions will ultimately be done away with, but a religion started by a carpenter will survive.” For the first time in his life, he was at a loss for words because he had no explanation for this passage as he did not know the meaning himself. He thought Hinduism was the greatest religion in the world. For this reason he was a priest in that religion, but now his own book told him otherwise. Carpenters were not considered of much affluence because they were of a lower cast. The words from this book troubled him because he did not understand them.

In another part of the world, a missionary with the London Missionary Society said good-bye to friends and relatives as he and his family boarded a ship for India. India was a world away for a man and his family to leave their comfortable lives in England and go to a hot desert climate. However, their hearts burned with a desire to tell the masses of India about Jesus. The Lord in His mighty way brought this missionary to Sandoor and burdened him to preach the gospel. The missionary poured out his heart to the people. He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ without fear or compromise. The Indian people around him were interested in what this Englishman had to say because it was something they had never heard before. However, they were very reluctant to accept what he had to say because it was too bizarre for them to believe. Their religion expected them to do a lot of work in pleasing their various gods before they could even hope of having a chance to get to heaven. However, this man was preaching about a God who did all the work for mankind and the only thing man had to do was to believe. Day after day the missionary preached faithfully, but no one turned to Christ.

One day Bassaiah happened to be listening to the missionary. While the missionary was preaching, he alluded to the fact that Jesus Christ was a carpenter by trade before he entered his three years of public ministry. Suddenly Bassaiah realized that what he read in his book and what the missionary was talking about were probably one and the same. The missionary saw the old guru and knew that he was the most important person in that town. Out of respect for his position in society, the missionary invited Bassaiah to the place where he was staying. The guru accepted the invitation very reluctantly because he was considered a holy man in his society. Any association with a non-Hindu would be unacceptable. Nevertheless, Bassaiah went with the missionary. The missionary presented the gospel to the old guru. The old guru was awestruck by the fact that God cared enough for him that he would take upon himself the form of man and die on the cross to save him from his sins. This was the first time the old guru realized that the God who created the universe cared enough to love him and shed His blood for a sinner like him. This concept of God loving man was so new and yet so wonderful! The old guru bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his heart and save him from eternal condemnation.

When Bassaiah’s disciples heard that their guru had become a Christian, they threatened to kill him and his family. With his family and all the luggage they could carry, Bassaiah left the town. They left behind their home and many acres of land. They never looked back. The townspeople made the missionary leave town that very day. He did so with a very sad heart. The missionary had labored so earnestly, yet there was only one soul that came to know Christ as personal Savior. Although he was happy for that one soul, he left Sandoor a disappointed man.

What the missionary never knew was that Bassaiah’s son would later pastor a church for forty-five years and that he would have a son who would retire from the police department and become an evangelist. Also, he could not have known that the evangelist would have a son who is Edwin Divakar, BIMI missionary in India, and that his son would be me, David Divakar.

I am the fourth generation after Bassaiah Divakar to be privileged to be called to serve our Lord in the land of India. I praise the Lord for that missionary from the London Missionary Society. No one alive, today, knows his name or whatever became of him or his family. However, their legacy will live on until Jesus comes back. On that glorious day when I bow my knee to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, if I get a chance I want to say, “Thank you, Lord, for sending that missionary, and thank you, missionary, for being willing to go where the Lord led you.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Things I have recently learned ...

Remember that when it is really cold, one should not use electric heaters as they are dangerous to your health. Heaters are to only be used when it is cool, but not too cold. If it is really cold, just wear more clothes.

I need to buy a knitted hat and gloves to wear in the houses since we can not use the heaters.

Cocido (a form of yerba mate) is only to be drunk at certain times of the day and do NOT, I repeat, do NOT suggest otherwise!

Paraguayans do like to eat chocolate cake in large quantities.

Everything, including hamburgers, taste better with a fried egg on top!

Soft drinks should never be consumed directly from the can or bottle but always with a straw. To do otherwise is ...unsightly. Everyone will tell you about Pres. Bush drinking directly from the bottle on his visit here.

Paraguayans are very good at soccer and volley ball but will never quite get basketball.

Birthdays are extremely important in this culture. I am still unsure as to why this is so, but even grown men will be offended if you forget to at least text them a birthday greeting.

Do not laugh at the girls at the supermarket wearing tight clothing labeled ,'BIMBO'. Bimbo is merely the brand name of the bread products she is distributing. Really...

Learn to speak in a hushed voice which is barely audible, especially on the phone. To speak loud enough to be easily heard is a sure give away that you are Argentinian...or Venezuelan.

Be glad Paraguayans are so kind and only smile understandingly when you do act like an Argentinian , or Venezuelan, in public. (although I am sure they say interesting things later in private!)

Get used to being a little bit out of sync with the culture, eventually, you will do better. It just wont be today. Or tomorrow. Or next week.

Maybe next year?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Things I See

In Paraguay, or at least in the town of Luque,

You do not need to own a Harley to have a Hog!

Read about the photo here at Luque Life!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gone Climbing

This blog has been temporarily unavailable for worth while postings due to the recent disappearance of the blogger known as Jungle Mom.

She was last seen attempting to scale a mountain of indescribable heights. This is quite a challenge for a woman of her age but one she felt the need to overcome for the well being of herself and her family.

She is even now climbing to incredible heights with the hope of reaching the summit sometime this evening. If successful, we expect her descent to be much quicker and she should be able to begin regular blog posts by tomorrow evening.

The mountain is a phenomenon that has been occasionally encountered by housewives upon the return of the family from a trip such as Jungle Mom and her family's recent trip to camp in the country of Paraguay.

This mountain is composed of dirty laundry and has been named
Mt. Never-Rest
by Jungle Mom and family. Please wish her well on her excursion and that no untoward injuries will befall her as she climbs Mt. Never -Rest with the welcome help of her husband, Yekwana Man.

The deer god

One of our concerns in the jungle was making sure we had enough protein in our children's diet. In the early years, before the solar panels, generators and battery powered refrigerator, we were constantly searching and trading with the Indians for fresh meat and fish.

One meat that the Indians were usually interested in trading with us was liver. Deer liver and tapir liver. We were glad to get it! We always pretended it was STEAK! The most yummy, prized, sought after cut of meat in the jungle! OH ,yes, my children, you get to eat LIVER! Poor children in America rarely have this opportunity! Aren't you all lucky! WOO HOO!

Since my kids were really isolated in the jungle...the ruse worked! They all ate liver with gusto! But our favorite was deer liver as it was more tender.

One day, Jorge arrived and asked if we liked liver. My husband assured him that we liked liver very much. Then, dear hubby said, in very clear Ye'kwana, " We love to eat deer liver! Our children all love to eat deer liver. Can we buy or trade for some of your deer liver????"

Jorge, opened his eyes and repeated, "Deer liver?"

Hubby says, "Oh yes! We would be glad to trade whatever you might need, for some of your deer liver for our children."

Unfortunately, the Ye'kwana word for 'DEER' is 'CAWAADI' and the Ye'kwana word for 'GOD' is 'WANAADI'. Very similar to a new language learner.

My husband had been asking to purchase a bit of 'God's' liver for our children to eat!

Wanaadi...Cawaadi.. God ...deer... a big difference!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm not really here

That's right, I am scheduling this to post while I am away from home. We are helping in a Camp for the church kids. This is our winter break here in Paraguay, so schools are out. While I am away for the next few days, I have a request for all my readers.

It has been suggested that in order to promote my book and use this blog as a platform, I should post a few of my most popular posts in my side bar. This would allow all new readers a rapid way in which to get a glimpse of what the book will be.

I have gone back through my posts and according to my site meter, the following are some of the most popular posts here at The Jungle Hut. I ask that each of you take the time to read them over in my absence and let me know if you think these give a balanced look into what I am all about. Perhaps you may remember another post which was a favorite for you, if so, let me know which one and why.

I look forward to your input!

Monday, July 13, 2009


The first time I had my finger prints taken was in Venezuela when I applied for my first national identity card. I remember doing so begrudgingly because in my mind only criminals were finger printed.

It's a messy job. They role a thick, black, tar like ink across your fingers and sometimes, even your whole palm for a complete hand print. They will next roll each finger tip, one direction, onto cards which have boxes labeled as to which finger print is being recorded. After this is done, in most places, you are expected to be able to miraculously clean this gunk from your hands without staining anyone or anything.

My husband had previously been finger printed by the Marine Corps for a security clearance and he only laughed at my disdain in having to have my finger prints taken.

After that first experience with finger printing, I became quite used to the process. By now I have been finger printed more times than I can recall. I must have my prints all over the place. I am just glad that I have never been required to give my foot print or ear print like some European countries require! People speak of the US draconian immigration laws, they ought to see what it is like to immigrate other places!

The Venezuelan government has my prints on file (paper) and also digitally as I had to have them scanned the last few times they took them. The FBI has them. Interpol has them. The Paraguayan National Police has them.

I am now an expert on the process! I make sure to take my own liquid soap and wash clothes for the clean up and am never surprised when asked to be finger printed.

In Venezuela finger printing was required for just about any thing, it seemed! Even voting.

What about you? Have you ever been finger printed?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Who let the dog out???/

We had a pet dog for many years in Venezuela. This little mutt of a dog has lived in and seen many parts of Venezuela where most Venezuelans have not even seen. This little dog, named Short Stop, lived in Cuidad Bolivar with gringos, then moved to a Yanomami village, Parima, then a Piaroroa/Gringo/Yanomami/Ye'kwana village, Tama Tama, and then with us in ChajuraƱa, for ten years. We took her to the large city of Barquisimeto and when we left Venezuela she went to live with Brazilian friends in the town of Acarigua. A smart little dog! Well traveled!

But, while in the jungle, Short Stop would follow us everywhere. She was one of the most faithful church attenders! She would walk with us and sit outside the door to wait for the service to end in order to accompany us back home.

The Ye'kwana churches always open up the service so that anyone who would like to share anything at all, may have the opportunity to come forward and do so. Some people may share a verse of scripture, others a testimony or prayer request. This is culturally part of every meeting as each member of the tribe may speak his thoughts at the round house and so in the church, each member also has a chance to speak if desired.

Usually, anywhere between 5 - 20 people might share something before the pastor would bring the message. Makes for a long service, but they enjoy it!

Except one Sunday morning. It seemed no one had prepared anything to share on this morning. The pastor asked yet again if anyone at all would like to share but no one responded.

Short Stop must have decided that having lived with so many missionaries for so many years, she was as well prepared to lead the worship service as anyone else. So ...she walked right in the front door, slowly up the center aisle, directly up onto the platform. 100 eyes followed her as she turned to face the audience and, head high, let out two resounding barks, turned, walked slowly back down the aisle and out the door to await the end of the service!!!

I have never seen anything like it!

All the Ye'kwanas looked around with wide eyes and smiles and my husband decided it might be a good morning to share about Balaam's talking donkey!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

26 years ago...

Our Wedding Album.
July 9, 1983

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Things I See

Modified Motorcycles

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My life as an alien

(Or ' Adventures in Immigration')

The following paragraph is my husband's actual memo of the latest events in regards to our immigration process .

Got our police check with the national police. Now we need the police check from Interpol, and to be fingerprinted by the Alien Registration Office. Then we can finally get the paper from the local community police station that says we are Aliens that live here in Asuncion.

I wonder if they will want us to register our space ship?

I'm not going to tell them we came through the Star Gate. Then they would want the 7 character address to our home world! I don't think they are ready to have access to such advanced technology!

Live long and prosper and may the force be with you!

Nano! Nano!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Slash and Burn Agriculture

Indians cutting gardens (conucos) in the jungle

Cutting gardens in the Amazon

The Indians of the amazon are mostly slash and burn agricultural farmers. The main food is the yucca plant which is the root used for making bread and even drinks. Each family will have two to three gardens in various stages at any given time. Every year the village comes together to cut new gardens as each clan will need to cut several acres of virgin forest every dry season.

Canoe loads of people leave each morning to cut a new garden. The men will take their axes or machetes and the women will carry along water pots and cooking utensils.

Women preparing yucuta, a drink made from the yucca plant ,which will be given to the working men for refreshment.

Serving men drinks from gourds.

The cool drink is welcome, as the temperature is over 95* and in the virgin forest, the atmosphere is like a sauna.

Each man begins working on cutting down his own tree.

Pastor Victor keeps an eye on the work of the younger men. Each year someone will be injured, snake bitten, or killed during the conuco cutting time. But without the garden, they will starve.

Victor's son, Carlos begins work.

Taking a break from the hard work.

Ready to get started!

Making progress!

Nearly there!

Seeing the finished work. Now the women will cut the trees for fire wood.

Heading back to the canoes.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

From Bach to Broadway

Tuesday night my husband and daughter were able to enjoy an evening concert at the Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano. They met up with a friend and his daughter for the concert which was a joint effort of American and Paraguayan musicians.

They all enjoyed their Father/Daughter evening and the next day, look what we found in the ABC Diario. (a major Paraguayan Newspaper)

A friend and Jayde

We have been trying to take advantage of as many opportunites for these events as possible while we are living here in Asuncion. It has been fun to live somewhere with these possibilites, especially for Jayde who loves all things musical.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Things I See

On the road...

Horses and bikes

Motorcycles and horses

Horse carts

and more horse carts...

grazing horses

cows being herded

Motorcycles, bikes and pedestrians

and even more horse carts

My husband and a friend pushing my son in laws truck.