We got up early to leave Villemi and head to Olimpo. Two girls who’d been missing their luggage since day one were reunited with their bags, finally! The trip to Olimpo involved riding on small speed boats with 4 or 5 passengers each for about 3 or more hours up the Paraguay River. This was an exciting experience for many, including some teams that actually disembarked on the Brazil side of the river. For others, it offered a time to connect with teammates over music and talking, or to chat with the boat drivers. Francois from Canada, who was on one of the boats that actually got off in Brazil, said “it was worth the $950 fee just to take that boat ride.” Once all teams had arrived at the church center in Olimpo, we headed to a school that was a mix of middle and high school to meet students and divide into groups to plant trees near the center. We were all glad to finally be getting to the work we’d all been looking forward to since our arrival in Paraguay.
The teams spent a joyful day planting trees and trying to get to know the Paraguayan students, despite language barriers. Some of them spoke only the indigenous dialect, Guarani, so even those of us with Spanish skills had a hard time communicating. Still, it was clear that friendships were forming as new trees were being planted. The day ended with a community game of soccer between the international trip participants and the local Paraguayan students, which was a milestone for the community because there had never been such a game at the church community. We look forward to another day of service with the locals tomorrow.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!