Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday and Phobias

We managed to get out of the house for a bit today and go somewhere besides a doctor's office or hospital. We took the bus tour of the Itaipu dam, the worlds largest hyrdo electric plant.

 I am claustrophobic, Clint forgot about the tunnel. 

I don't like bridges or causeways.

 As we drove over the dam, holding back the water on one side, the guide told us if the dam were to break it would flood all the way to Buenos Aires.

 After facing two of my phobias, we parked the car and I waited while Clint ran inside for Jayde. The transformer above the car exploded and caught on fire!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Jayde singing on Television

This is poor quality as we recoded it with a camera off of the computer screen. Jewel and the grand babies and I enjoyed watching Jayde sing on national television today!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Life as a Fairy Tale

The People of the Enchanted Forest

Once upon a time there was a land of great wealth and prosperity in the north, and in that land two people were born who were destined to be together. One was a young knight, Marinus who was in the service of his King and country, and the other was a young Lady, Roseus who was waiting for her knight.

Marinus was sent to serve his land in a band of mighty warriors who were the first to fight and were under direct orders of their King. He was of the few and the proud who were the first line of defense of that great land. They were known to be always faithful to that duty. Semper Fidelis was their standard.

As these things usually come about, the two met and were joined in holy matrimony having a great, pure love for one another. Their love would pass the test of time and they would live happily with their four children.

When his days of service to the King were over, young Marinus was released from his duty and the young Knight felt called upon to serve his God in a far away place where His name was not known.

Marinus, Roseus and their children began a journey to the south, the land of a great forest. Some even believed the great forest to be enchanted. In that land of forest and rivers there dwelt a people who had not heard of the ways of God . Marinus was determined to find them and show them the glory of God that they might know it for themselves.

And so they set out upon a long and adventurous journey, their highway was the river and their steed was a dug out canoe. After many days of travel through the enchanted forest, they arrived at a small village and were invited to rest and share the food with the people of the enchanted forest.

The people asked them to stay and share with them the great mysteries of the unknown God. Marinus began to learn their ways and their words. Roseus worked to understand and befriend the women and children of the enchanted forest.

And they were busy. They taught the people of the forest how to mark their words upon white leaves so that their words would never be lost. They taught them to decipher the marked leaves and read the words of others. And they taught them of the ways of God.

Marinus and Roseus shared their knowledge of medicine and healing with the people of the forest, caring for the sick and elderly. Many children were born to the village and their strength was improved. The village became the mightiest in that region.

Roseus helped the elders to gather the children together daily to teach them at a young age how to make the markings upon the white leaves, how to do the ciphers, how to care for their health.

Marinus taught them of God. He showed them the word's of God written upon the white leaves and they could now understand God's words for themselves. Many an evening the elders would sit around the fires and read aloud the words of God to others. Soon so many were eager to hear these words, the people decided to build a large meeting house just for that purpose. It was a place of Hope.

All seemed well in the enchanted forest. The people were happy, Marinus and Roseus were happy, but outside of the Enchanted Forest a fear was growing among the people of the cities. A new leader had arisen.

This leader was known as Thugo the Tyrant and he spread his hate and venomous teachings through out that Land of Grace. The numbers of Thugo's followers grew and violently took the land. It was as if a wave of red hatred grew in the hearts of many and spread to the hearts of all those with whom they spoke.The wave of red flowed forth to encompass more and more of the land, but the enchanted forest was far away and still untouched by Thugo or his red thugs.

Slowly, the rumors arrived that the wave of red was ever growing nearer to the enchanted forest. Alas, some of the enchanted people were washed away with the wave of red anger and hatred. Thugo's grip was growing ever nearer, but things were still calm in the village were Marinus and Roseus lived happily among the people of the forest.

Until one fateful day, a decree went forth through out the whole of the land. Thugo the Tyrant spoke and declared that all those who lived in the enchanted forest as emissaries of God must leave and leave at once. Thugo's red thugs arrived to put fear into their hearts. The red thugs began to do evil in the enchanted forest and cause harm to the people ever threatening Marinus and his family.

Marinus and Roseus attempted to seek justice from the peoples of the city. They went into the Palaces of Justice, showing their works were not evil but good. It was to no avail. Thugo the Tyrant would not listen, Thugo's red thugs had lost the ability to see and think on their own and were now completely entranced by Thugo and his evil spell. They would not listen and so, Marinus and Roseus left the enchanted forest with sadness.

They left their friends, the people of the forest, and all were heart broken. Many cried on that day. Marinus beseeched them to never forget the ways of God, to continue to follow in His path and Roseus hugged and cried with the women and children of the forest. But they must leave, and leave they did.

As time went by, Marinus and Roseus moved to a new land and were happy once again. But a part of their heart remained behind in the enchanted forest, a longing and a calling they could feel most everyday, to be with the people of the forest. They learned to trust God with their care.

At times they would receive messages from the enchanted people. Their words marked on white leaves so that Marinus and Roseus might know of their friends and how it went in the enchanted forest. The words were good. The people still followed the ways of God and declared His glory through out the forest, spreading it from village to village. God remained among them even after Marinus and Roseus had been forced to leave them. They had known that He would, but it was a comfort to read the markings.

And so, the people of the enchanted forest were well and Marinus and Roseus were happy. And all lived happily ever after until they would one day be reunited in a beautiful city of lights to live together for all eternity. A place where all was enchanted and the likes of Thugo the Tyrant and his Red Thugs would never be able to reach them again. A place of true peace and rest.
The End

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Things I See...

Bottled gas delivery man...or...suicide bomber?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Good Friday in Paraguay

 Today I share a  friend's post. I am still learning just HOW different Paraguayan and Venezuelan traditions can be. I think I broke every tradition and cultural rule today, all while trying very hard to behave.

Yep, Semana Santa is in full swing here.  Well, that makes it sound like something's really happening, but what's happening is a lot of nothing, on purpose.  WHAT?!  You see, today is Good Friday, and that means the whole country has shut down in order to contemplate the crucifixion.  This day is treated with much respect.

A few rules I've learned in the 4 Easter seasons we've enjoyed in Paraguay:

  • Cook in advance, including the traditional asado (grilling out) Thursday night and chipa throughout the week.  This will sustain you on Friday, when you must not cook.
  • Don't try to take a bus on Thursday because everyone is going to the home of their relatives who live in rural areas--"the campo."  Buses are crowded on a good day here, but there's no way to describe the scene on the day before Good Friday.  Incidentally, there aren't buses today, and I've not even heard a motorcycle pass by.
  • Wear mourning clothes.  I learned the hard way that there are certain colors that are appropriate for wakes, funerals, vigils, and other such things involving the dead.  Of course, dark colors such as brown and black are fine, and white and gray because they are neutral.  However, blue, green, pink, purple, yellow--considered "party colors"--are totally inappropriate.
  • You must not raise your voice on Good Friday.  No yelling at the kids or calling the cows home.  Many choose not to listen to the radio or watch tv, but if you do these things, they must be at a volume level that only you can hear.  
  • No work today.  Not only does this apply to the place of employment, but don't work around your house, either.  Yesterday, the women in my barrio were cleaning like mad because there'll be no mopping, dish-washing, or sweeping today.  Oops.  We broke this one.
  • The day is to be spent in quiet meditation and reflection.  Unfortunately, most people are sleeping off last night's party.  But for those who choose to actually reflect on the meaning of this day, they will have the peaceful tranquility to do so.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Have you ever seen a Drunken Chicken?

(A friend requested that  re-post this old story!)

One morning the children and I were starting our home school day, Yekwanaman was starting his language studies, when we heard such a terrible sound! I can not describe it very well. It was weird.

Now, we were accustomed to hearing strange sounds in the village, witch doctors, old Sanema ladies fighting, children running and screaming, but this sound was unique! We all went out to investigate. The sound was coming from our chicken pen.

We tried several times to raise our own poultry. We did. But...between the ocelots and the vampire bats...we were not very successful at it. It seemed we were raising chickens to feed all the wild kingdom of the jungle but ourselves! Still, we tried!

Upon arriving at the chicken pen, we saw our rooster strutting his stuff! He was crowing like it was dawn, only, really off tune!!! And Loud. All the poor hens had their chicks off in a corner under their wings! Daddy Rooster was acting strangely!

We stood and watched for a half hour as this guy, danced around in circles, screaming his head off in what seemed to be a riotous crowing, until... he suddenly jerked himself straight, and toppled over! Stone cold!

We thought he had died of a heart attack! But, no, a few hours later, he was up on his feet, but a bit wobbly. Every time the other chickens clucked, he would bellow in rage! As much as a rooster can bellow!

It seems another missionary working with us at the time had decided to give our chickens a rotten pineapple. Fermented, none the less!

Have you ever seen a drunken roster?

The next day, we heard the rooster once again crowing loudly in the middle of the afternoon. We saw the other missionary walking by the pen with more scraps for the chickens. This time there were no fermented pineapples, but the rooster seemed quite eager to receive one!

After pecking through the scraps, he indignantly, clucked about angrily. I swear I saw him looking out of the corner of his eye with an, "I'll get you!" look at the other missionary!

From that time on, that missionary could not enter the chicken pen without being attacked! Unless he had a pineapple!

I am embarrassed to say that someone in my family would purposely save pineapples and allow them to ferment, just to see the rooster get drunk! Grant it, it was great entertainment for the whole village to watch the drunk rooster! But I always felt a bit sinful, aiding the guy in his binges!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Holler

 No words  ever evoke such memories of childhood for me as do these two words. My parents are both from West Virginia and the same holler.  My Dad moved the family out to California before I was born and later the family would relocate in South Carolina and Florida, but the one place where I always felt at home and had an amazing sense of belonging , was in that holler. Every summer we would go back and the country roads would still be there. The grand parents and Aunts and Uncles with the many cousins would all be there, seemingly as if time had stood still in my absence and now the art of real living would begin for me anew after my a long delay.

 Those were the days! Long, hot days full of adventures and games in which a child could delight.   The day would begin with the slow opening of my eyes and the quick dawning of the realization that I was in the holler with my family. I would bolt up into action as no time should be wasted in sleep while in this paradise!

Breakfast would be waiting and it would be eaten under the watchful eyes of one of the aunts. A large plate filled with the fluffiest biscuits, smothered in butter and homemade jam, and lots of milk gravy.  My dad taught us to cut this all up and mix it together into something he called a 'rock pile'. This dish may not have scored high points for presentation, but the flavor was there!

 As soon as humanly possible, we children would scramble, barefooted , out the door.  And now the real day could begin. Cousins were conveniently located close by, all within  walking distance, and all of whom were more than willing to come out to play. Our little gang would grow as we went tramping from house to house until we would gather 10 - 15 cousins. A nice number to play just about any game.

Usually we would run around and climb trees  or do anything which would get us covered in dirt and sweat requiring a trip to the slow moving creek. This creek was a second home to us youngsters. We would start collecting rocks in order to build a dam to trap the water enough to form a swimming hole. We knew if we worked hard enough, one of the uncles would see our efforts and join in to help get the job done. These swimming holes would last us all summer!

Lunch was usually eaten on the run. Someone would run into a house and ask the aunt for a bologna sandwich. Then we would all ask for one and there seemed to be a loaf of white bread and a package of thick, sliced bologna in every kitchen. I do not recall ever being denied this request.

Once our stomachs were contented and we had drunk our fill of the slightly sulfur smelling water, we would be back out the door and off to play. The long afternoons would often be dedicated to our favorite games. Red Rover, Red Rover, Statues and one game which involved calling out 'rotten egg' or 'salt' and 'pepper'. I can't remember the rules of this game which would be supervised by one of the unmarried aunts.

As the sun would slip down behind the ridge of the mountains,  we would slow our play and sit around talking and sharing our childish dreams with one another. Slowly, the air would cool and the sun would disappear into its nightly bed.

 Eventually, we would see, coming slowly down the dirt road, the forms of the uncles. They would be returning from a long day of work in the coal mines. I would be mesmerized by their dark forms. Strong men covered head to toe in the black, coal dust. Their helmets on their heads and their miners lights pushed atop.  Each uncle would have a large metal lunch box swinging on his arm.

As they approached us, we would see that the only part of their faces not blackened by the coal, was around their eyes, creating a mask looking like a negative copy of a giant raccoon.  As tired as they were from working in the dark bowels of the earth, they would play the game we all expected. They would come lumbering towards us  with a wild, bear like growl  and chase us around the yards. This game gave me such a delicious  fear. The  hair on the back of my neck would stand out and a scream of delight would escape my mouth as I ran to hide under the porch.

Once the full darkness had settled upon us, we would run back inside to bring out our collection of old jars. We each had a jar of our own in which we kept a variety of insects. Every night we would collect these critters and fully expected them to live but they almost always died. Oh well, we would catch more. The best thing to catch were the lightning bugs which twinkled around us in the evening. Once we had a jar full, we would begin to be terribly cruel to them, I am afraid to say. We would pinch off the lighted parts and smear the yellow, glowing goop on our arms, wrists and necks to make  jewelry which would shine brightly for awhile. Of course the boy cousins were not interested in jewelry, but they would make grotesque mask of glowing war paint upon their faces. Sometimes we would catch chunky june bugs and, begging a spool of thread, we would tie this onto a leg of the bug allowing it to fly around in circles above our heads without escape.

Eventually, some adult, usually one of the aunts, would call us in for bed. We would all claim that we were not in the least bit sleepy and we had so much more to do. We could usually postpone the inevitable bed time until we were caught yawning and then, we had to go inside. And beside, we would be ravenously hungry by now. Good food was always to be found at the kitchen table of one of the aunts.

Since we were visiting, we had no permanent beds and would end up sleeping on the floor on a cozy pallet made of old quilts. I was always sure I would not sleep at all and would be surprised to find my eyes opening in the morning to the light of day! Where had the night  darkness gone? I had only closed my eyes for a moment!

In those long gone days, many of the houses had no indoor plumbing. This was convenient during the day as we could easily run into any of the out houses without worrying if we were tracking in mud or dirt, something the aunts did not like for us to do, but at night, it was not so convenient.

 Every house had a small, white, enameled pot which was politely referred to as the 'chamber pot' but which we children dubbed the' pee can'. This perhaps explains why I have never been fond of pecan pies as I assumed the ingredients came from the chamber pot. Evey morning one of us would be told to take care of the contents. This involved carrying the nearly full vessel slowly, so as not to have it slosh upon our feet, to the out house where it would be dumped. Then we would take it to the creek for a quick scouring and leave it in a sunny spot as we were told the sun would sterilize it. I loathed this chore.

And then, a new day would begin which would follow the expected routine of the previous day. Lest you think we found this boring, I must tell you that each day was full of its own fun and we could never get our fill of the glorious days of summer in the holler.

As things must be, we all grew up and began our own families and lives.  Although most of my cousins still live in the vicinity of the holler, I would be transplanted to South America where I have lived for the last 27 years. I do not get to go back to the holler as often as I would like and I have  feeling of regret that my own children did not get to spend their summers in this wonderland. They did enjoy some visits and did many of the things I had done as a child and now I wish to take my grand kids to the holler to experience the wonderful thrill of a summer's day in my mountain home.

Even to this day, I know, without a doubt that I could walk up the path to any of the homes of my aunts and uncles or of my cousins who are now adults, and knock on  the door and be accepted. I would be invited in to 'rest a spell' and visit. After the rounds of hugs from young and old alike, the inevitable question would be asked, " Have you eat yet?"

 My answer would be unnecessary for whether I was starving or had just left another table, food would be placed before me. I could almost  be guaranteed  to find a plate of pinto beans and corn bread for starters. And as I ate this I would hear one of my cousins in the kitchen  cooking away. Eventually, newly made food would make its way to the table. Probably  fresh biscuits, fried potatoes, sliced garden fresh tomatoes, and if I was lucky, a side of greens. Then there would be a fried pork chop or two, and maybe a cobbler for desert. If at Aunt Carol Jane's I knew a slice of moist home made yellow cake would be available. She always made them and wrapped each piece in plastic wrap which kept them  deliciously fresh and on hand for days. Little Debbie's  Snack Cakes have nothing on my Aunt Carol Jane!

 And I would be home. The warmth of love and belonging would  be such a sentiment that it  would be almost physical; Just as the comfort  one feels when slipping into a warm tub after a cold outing, the warmth of belonging would creep into my soul and light a fire of love that neither time nor distance could ever quench.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Super Size, Jungle Style

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( Yekwanaman with Sanema friend)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Things I See...

Last night we celebrated  the 70th Anniversary of the Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano here in Ciudad del Este. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

In honor of Paraguayan women, on their day.

I am re posting this in honor of today's Paraguayan national Holiday. It is the Day of the Paraguayan Woman.

This year Jayde tied for  first place in an international folkloric competition held annually here in Paraguay.
Winning Female Soloist ~Festival del Takuare'e de Guarambaré

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

20 years ago...My first coup.

To remember that day and what it has brought about in Venezuela.

A few years ago, I posted my memories of the day Chavez attempted his failed coup.

20 years ago, I was awakened by the phone ringing. We were told to cancel our trip to Maracaibo as there was a military coup underway. We spent the morning listening to the news. The footage of the dead soldiers tore at my mother's heart. They were boys. Most had been deceived and told that they were defending the constitution, it wasn't until there that they realized THEY were the coupsters.

We heard a loud sonic boom and ran outside! And then another! It was the military jets chasing Broncos. They bombed the airport. You could feel the earth shake. A friend of ours called . He had served in Vietnam and was here visiting family. He said, "I know what that was! They are using carpet bombing. I remember how it felt in Vietnam."

We saw shadows, then heard the jets. Somehow, it felt safer outside. We took our 3 small children at the time and sat out in the yard. We saw a Bronco hit, and the pilot parachute out.

Joshua was a little boy at the time. I remember the male excitement in his eyes and voice as he said, "Mommy, one day can I do that?"My heart stopped in my throat...he didn't know what was happening it just looked and sounded exciting, but I knew my boy would one day be a man. Would he need to fight for his country?

I remember it all so well because it was the day before my birthday and we couldn't celebrate but had to stay home. I remember thinking what cowards they were to have attacked the residency where the president's grandchildren were at the time. I remember the face of the Lt. Col. as he was taken prisoner.

Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.

I remember him saying,"We have failed. Por Ahora.( For now)"

The thing which impacted me most that day was the awareness of the fragile nature of liberty. One generation may fight and die to provide liberty and freedom for the next, but if that next generation is not diligent to keep their freedom, it can disappear almost before your very eyes.

My husband recalls,

I was called by another missionary. He knew I had to go to Maracaibo that day, which was the only city where the coup had been successful. I needed to take some medical supplies to the pastor I was training, he had just come out of a kidney transplant surgery and the kidney was rejected and had died. He needed some of the supplies he had in his home, because the state hospital was out. He would die if he didn't get them.
I asked the missionary how the heck he knew there was a coup and then an F-16 flew over our house chasing one of the rebels who had bombed the airport.
I spent the morning and afternoon listening to the news, I couldn't travel until we heard they had surrendered in Maracaibo. I left first thing the next morning. They were checking papers like crazy all along the road and inspecting vehicles for extra riders. Having the Dialysis medical supplies raised a few eyebrows but they let me pass and I arrived without major incident. That trip was also before cell phones so Rita wasn't too happy about the trip either.
(The following is a collection of memories some of my friends wrote three years ago.)

Februray4, 1992. A few of my commenters were also in Venezuela at the time and left their own memories in the comments of that post. I thought that I would post their memories here on the 17th anniversary of that fateful day.

My friend Liz, in Caracas remembers this:

I awoke before sunrise to make breakfast and go to work. The first thing I did was to turn on the TV and realize that we were in the middle of a coup. I alerted my husband... but the silence in our neighborhood was amazing! He wanted to go to work anyway (he's one of those souls that went to work during 'el Caracazo', drove his car in the middle of bullets shooting; we used to joke saying that maybe the country would come to a complete halt if he didn't go to work).

The 3 of us spent the day watching the news, receiving and making phone calls. My friend's parents called from Italy, very nervous! She was too!! she thought that maybe she couldn't emigrate some days later.

My memories are a bit fuzzy, (like Julia, I get confused between Feb. 4 and Nov. 27). I just recall the next days... We had to work and return home very early, there was a military curfew and we had a tank parked in our street! The soldiers -each night- used their fire arms and made us turn off our lights. They shouted orders all the time to intimidate us (a dormir! apaguen la luz!). I was very happy that my apartment was facing the back of the building!

The interesting part of this is that the coup had failed (chavez and company were imprisoned). These soldiers were the 'good ones'! My neighbors in the front of the building saw them drinking while making the rounds around the block.

To this day I despise anything military... and today chavez is celebrating his failure!! Because 17 years ago he was captured under a desk at the 'Museo Militar'. There was NO victory that day, just dead soldiers and civilians

Another friend, Firepig, who now lives in the states shared this:

JM, i lived in Caurimare, right on top of the hill looking out on the military airport of La Carlota.I first heard constant sirens for about an hour.Then canon fire.My children were asleep so I ran quickly to the guard station at the entrance of our neighborhood, and as I approached, I heard( coming from the guard's radio):
"they are taking Miraflores"
I will never forget the terror.Later our neighborhood featured nightly searches, and sometimes when I looked out my bedroom window, there was an army tank rolling down the street, often with the cannon pointing our way.

In a private note from another Venezuelan now living in the US, I received this along with his permission to post it. From Jose Roman Duque:

pues si, yo estaba ahi. en la madrugada mi amigo Vicente llamo a casa para decir, prende tu TV, golpe de estado...

y vi las acciones de los soldados y cuando el tanque trato de entrar al palacio blanco en frente de miraflores..

llore, y me dio rabia...

hate thinking about it....
you want to hear something bad?
one of the coupsters was my mom's cousin..
Hernan Gruber Odreman, a Colonel, ...needless to say, my mom and him dont' talk anymore..

I wish I could write better memories than yours, but I cringe at the thought of seeing my country the way it has become.

I think of my granpa, a typical Merideno, very dry and more dry but a great man, he was Jose Roman Duque Sanchez, and my dad perhaps you've seen him on tv many times during the time you were still in Venezuela, always speaking against Chavez. Roman J. Duque Corredor

feel free to use their will show your English readers that we have great minds who love freedom, and respects the lessons that can be learn from the USA.

Rita, I wish we could have met in Venezuela, despite our religious differences :-) your love for Venezuela is breathtaking

isnt' it true, that Venezuela is the strangest place on earth?...I miss the colors and my family. feel free to browse over my photos.... I'm proud of my family , and I miss them dearly, but I know I could never go back to live there...
got used to a functional and stable country such as the States.

hate thinking about it....

this all hurts me big time, my My family was involved in the building of the democracy in venezuela, starting with my grandfather, who was close friends with Romulo gallegos, Betancourt, Caldera, he became the Governor of Merida after Perez-Jimenez, then went to practice law privately with Shell corporation until he went into de Supreme Court, and so my dad, he was a judge, and became a supreme court justice..

I'm just a poor musician and want nothing with politics or public office...but I had a understanding of what is at stake and what have been lost in Venezuela....people like my dad and granpa...simply dont' exist anymore


adds her memories.

No one stopped it

JM has requested me to write my memories on February 4th, 1992. On that day, our actual president: Chavez, leaded an army coup against the democratically elected government of Carlos Andrés Pérez. Not exactly the nicest government my country can think of, but still I’m not sure if it justifies an army rebellion. The coup failed. Chavez appeared on TV for like 5 minutes admitting the defeat and went straight to jail. Before February 4th Chavez was no one, and he instantly became a sort of leader for many that very same night when he admits the defeat on TV. Quite shameful, I know. The events that followed that day and of whom now we are suffering the consequences are hard to explain and even harder to understand. I may give a space on this blog to think about them, but for now, I will just do my task: to remember what happen on that exact day: February 4th, 1992.

I was eight years old. I don’t want to put my age as another dramatic ingredient of my story, I’m just telling you my age because since I was so little, my memories are a little bit blurry and they often confuse with another coup attempt that happen that very same year, on November.

We lived in a neighbourhood called “La Floresta”. The neighbourhood is separated by a highway of the military airport called “La Carlota” so this could explain why we felt all the events so close.

I woke up at dawn hearing planes and random gunshots (first time I heard those). In Venezuela every kid is used to hear explosions: on Christmas eve and New Years are simply non- stop. But these explosions sounded drier, I knew they were no fireworks but I wasn’t sure of what it was until my mom screamed “¡Tiros!” (Gun shots). Still half awaked in our pyjamas, we all went to my parent’s bed to watch the news on TV. I asked if we were going to go to school and the whole family give me this ironic look back “Yeah… sure…” Then we heard more airplanes and the gunshots seemed to be closer. My mom screamed all of the sudden: “¡Al suelo!” (“To the floor!”) and we all lay down immediately, I think my sister made me lay down but I’m not sure.

My parents made us go to a small room that connected all the bedrooms and closed the bedroom doors. The “Al suelo!” screams became more frequent, and the explosions and planes simply didn’t stop and were quite annoying.

I think it was near noon when my parents decided that that room where we were laying, on the top floor, was not safe anymore and the only safe place remaining in a house filled of doors and windows was a small bathroom we used for the visit, located right under the stairs. I think the six of us (my brothers and my parents) somehow ended inside that bathroom and when they decided that it was safe to go out, I didn’t want to. My moms made me pasta and try to give it to me but I refused, I was sort of shaking.

At some point of the day I saw my mom argument with someone outside from the balcony of her room “They can’t be here!” – She said. My dad made her go back inside. Apparently they were a few soldiers hiding in our garden or near by.

The rest of the day was nothing different: non stop explosions, stories here and there, and airplanes all the time.

The next day my mom was afraid of sending us to school so we spend the day in the garden, looking for bullets. We find a lot and I think they are still saved somewhere.

It is odd but right now, as I write this, I’m hearing airplanes. They are probably practicing for the celebrations Chavez is going to held because of that day. And that sound is probably the sound that better reminds me of that day. It’s like going back 17 years, and to see myself covering my ears with my hands and asking my mom if she could make it stop.

It’s the very same airplanes but 17 years later. Sometimes I think that I’m still covering my ears and lying in the ground, since no one has still been able to make it stop.

Also check out these two blogs written by two young Venezuelans:

I just wanted to share the human story. The fact that families and lives have been harmed and changed by the actions of this man. If any other of my readers were in Venezuela on that day, would you please share your memories with us as well?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Its summer time in Paraguay and the temperature is around 100F everyday. The way we combat this heat is to drink a lot of  tereré . Yerba mate is consumed in  neighboring countries, but  here in Paraguay it is consumed cold and without sugar, daily, during our summer months. I was told that the habit of drinking the yerba mate as  cold tereré began during the Chaco War. In order for their soldiers to not be discovered by the smoke, or remains left behind from fires, they began to drink it cold and now we can not imagine drinking it any other way on a hot day!

These are our KITS. We do not leave home without one.
A Kit is the thermos, cup and filter straw used for tereré .
Kits are usually personalized.

This is our newest guampa and is made from a bull's horn .

Here you can see the silver filter straw used for sipping the tereré.
It is called a bombilla.

The yerba mate dried leaves are placed in the guampa.

Cold water is carried around in the thermos and special tubular bags of ice are made for placing in the thermos.You can buy this ice just about anywhere, but often people will give it to you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Human Problem

Our Moral Rebellion is at the root of our Human Problem. Human misery is neither a result of Avidhya (Ignorance of our Divinity), nor it is a product of Kama (desire) & Karma ( Past life deeds). It is a result of human refusal to live under the moral authority of our Heavenly Father.
_ from the book, Legacy Of William Carey... Author, Vishal Mangalwadi

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Planking in Paraguay

 WHY? It annoys my adult children.