Kansas, Paraguay and Partners of the Americas participate in a Nationwide Art Contest

Kansas Paraguay Partners, our southern partners CPK and the US-Paraguayan binational center (CCPA) are working together to conduct a national Paraguayan art competition.  The focus is on young Paraguayan artists in the areas of painting, printmaking, sculpture and photography.  The winner will receive English instruction (if necessary) through CCPA, travel to Kansas through an education and culture travel grant and work with artists in Kansas.  Amber Hansen a Lawrence artist, University of Kansas instructor and KPP member traveled to Paraguay through a POA travel grant to participate in the judging of the contest.  Below is a poster for the event.


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More Fire Equipment Photos from Paraguay

Our southern partners (CPK) sent more photos of the fire equipment. Read the previous post for the story of the equipment. In the first photo the third person from the left is Ramon Grange one of the key people in getting this project to become a success. Enjoy

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Donated Fire Fighting Equipment from Kansas Arrives in Paraguay

Kansas Firefighter Equipment Delivered in Paraguay

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A container of firefighting equipment has landed in Paraguay and has been delivered to members of Comité Paraguay Kansas (our counterpart) Emergency Preparedness Committee headed by Steve Richards.  This nears the end of a 7 year saga that began with a cultural exchange to Kansas by Jorge Martín.

In 2009 Steve and Lorraine Richards along with several other Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) attended a Partners of the Americas (POA) regional meeting in Chicago.  At this meeting we all learned about the Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners remarkable ability to ship donated firefighter equipment to Nicaragua.  Steve came away from this meeting with a smile and the name of the Denton Program.

Steve and Lorraine were the lead KPP members on the Emergency Preparedness Committee and envisioned sending donated equipment from Kansas to Paraguay.  Under a POA travel grant Paraguayan firefighters had been to Kansas and indicated the need for updated equipment.  But why would Kansas’ fire departments donate equipment to Paraguay rather then to the many small rural communities in Kansas? There are standards for firefighter equipment and with technological advancement the standards change and fire departments must update to the latest equipment. This means that Kansas fire departments must get rid of old equipment.  Steve and Lorraine were glad to help out.

Now KPP had an interesting problem.  Steve’s basement was soon out of space to house donated equipment.  Under Steve’s leadership KPP bought an old shipping container and Steve arranged for it to be housed on the Wichita Fire Department’s property.  This storage and work space also came with the beginning of Scott Fromme’s involvement in KPP.  Scott is a Wichita fireman with lots of international experience.  Under a POA travel grant he traveled to Paraguay to make certain that the donated equipment could actually be used rather than sit in some warehouse because it didn’t work in Paraguay.  Scott visited lots of Paraguayan fire departments and learned a few words of Guaraní that helped forge a bond with Paraguayans.

Donated equipment kept coming in and Steve was learning about the Denton Program. Here is how the Department of Defense describes the Denton Program.

The purpose of the Denton Program is to allow U.S. based non-governmental sources to transport humanitarian aid at little or no cost to the donor, while simultaneously putting the extra space on U.S. military transport assets to good use. This program is jointly administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DOD). Transportation is generally available to close destinations such as Latin and South America; however, the availability of transportation to particular countries is affected by current military and political situations. Transportation can neither be scheduled nor guaranteed; and therefore, cannot be used to meet urgent needs or deadlines.

Steve met the challenge of satisfying two government agencies and KPP was approved.  This is far from the end of the story.  I will let Steve tell more of the story.  Please click and enjoy.

 The Rest of the Story

Jorge Gattini

Here are a couple of nice photos from our southern partners (CPK) that feature Jorge Gattini.  Jorge recently presented a special program for CPK.

Jorge received a masters degree from Kansas State University and is now the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for the new Paraguayan president.

Just another example of hundreds of Paraguayans who studied in Kansas and returned to Paraguay.

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Daily notes: Youth Ambassadors in Newton, Kansas

Gabriele Wentzel, one of the Paraguayan Youth Ambassadors in Newton, has been writing notes on her thoughts and experiences while she is visiting the U.S. I thought some might enjoy reading what she has written, so I am going to post them here:

by Gabriele Wentzel
Hosted by Jeannette, George and Megan Leary

Day free to walk around Newton, and have fun!

The sun was shy, with almost imperceptible heat … the gray and the cold dominated the space.

We got up a little late … Well, today was a different day for the Newton High School students .. as everyone knows, the world economic crisis, is now the most commented subject anywhere in the world and at any time … because this problem is affecting the American youth … today we had no classes because the teachers had to meet to discuss issues related to “how to maintain the normal operation of the school” because the state is reducing costs, and these reductions will certainly affect all state schools in the USA.

At 10 am, Megan, Martin (my brother) and I, were invited to a brunch (breakfast + lunch) at the house of a lady who attends the same church that my host family. I found several people from the high shool, and also run into Rebecca and her sister Leah. What did we eat? a sort of baked tortilla (eggs, ground beef, tomatoes, flour) delicious! toast, coffee, juice, etc … In addition to learn about what is known as brunch we had fun showing on a map to the owner of the house where Paraguay is, and also talking with some of our brother’s friends .

Then, Rebe, Leah, Megan and I went shopping in downtown in a second-hand store clothes (very cheap!), and also buy some Kansas souvenirs. It was lots of fun ..!

At 1PM, Rebecca, Leah and her sister, Lesly and her sister Katie, Hansell and his sister Kelsey and I went to the Newton Medical Center, the hospital in Newton. Impressive! Actually, when we entered the place, we realized that we are in fact in a developed country. Despite Newton have just over 20,000 inhabitants,, this hospital is equivalent to the best hospitals in our capital Asuncion, in terms of size and available resources (considering good quality and technological innovations in the clinical area). And, the most fun was to find a Paraguayan who has been living here for over 40 years and works as a biochemical laboratory at the hospital … A very nice and kind man, who can still pronounce some words in our second language, Guarani ..!

Later, I went with Rebecca and Leah to have dinner and to see the house where she is living. Very nice indeed. Ate a special bread made by the Mennonites, It was really tasteful!

At school, it was a special day … Seniors day, because those who graduate from high school this year are presented and receive gifts and honorable mentions from the school. This event happened during a basketball games in the stadiums of the School … The Newton City vs. Arka … The first game was females, and the second males, in both our school won! It was fascinating to attend to a basketball game here ..!

At the night, and with aunt Graciela, all of us the Youth Ambassadors, coordinators and our brothers ans sisters went to a bookstore, where we attended to a Bluegrass concert (a typical rythm) played by Newton group of youngs. They sang very well and were very fun ..! We had a great time and had the opportunity to sing to the audience too … A paraguayan song called “Mi TierraLand” with Hansell playing the guitar …

Later on, we went to a restaurant, with our sisters and some friends from school … We played UNO! a card game .. super fun! and also teach others some famous games we play in Paraguay ..

My day was fun! I met many people, new places and tried new foods, visite the hospital, talk to a compatriot, and learned a lot !

I want to know more about this culture and share what I know and is in my soul, I am proud to be Paraguayan.

I want to take advantage of every minute of this dream, that came withouth notice and has opened many doors for me in my life, and if God concents, will continue opening.

When I return I want to share the lessons learned, and say that all the effort was worth it !

I want to see all young Paraguayans, and from Latin America are agents of change, to make our nations better places were all have the same opportunities.

Because we can change the world!


En español:

Dia libre en Newton para pasear, y divertirse!

El sol aparecio timido, y su calor casi imperceptible… el color gris y el frio dominan el espacio.

Nos levantamos un poco mas tarde…Bueno, hoy fue un dia diferente para los estudiantes del Newton High School.. como todos saben, la crisis economica mundial, actualmente es el tema mas comentado en cualquier lugar del mundo, a todo momento… pues este problema, esta afectando a la juventud americana… hoy no tuvimos clases, porque los profesores tuvieron que reunirse para tratar de temas relacionados a “como conseguir mantener normal el funcionamiento del colegio” porque el Estado esta reduciendo gastos, y estas reducciones afectaran con certeza a todos los colegios estaduales en USA.

A las 10 de la manana, Megan, Martin (mis hermanos) y yo, fuimos invitados a un “brunch” : breakfast + lunch (desayuno + almuerzo) en la casa de una senora que asiste a la misma iglesia que mi familia aqui. Alli encontre varios companeros del colegio, y tambien a Rebeca y a su hermana Leah. Que comimos? una especie de tortilla al horno (huevos, carne molida, tomates, harina) delicioso! tostadas, cafe, jugo, etc… Ademas de haber conocido lo que es un “brunch” nos divertimos, mostrando al dueno de la casa donde se encuentra el Paraguay en el mapa, y especialmente conversando un poco con los amigos de nuestros hermanos…

Luego, Rebe, Leah, Megan y yo fuimos de compras en el centro… en tiendas de ropas de segunda mano (muy baratas), y tambien por algunos souvenirs de Kansas. Fue muy divertido..!

A la 1 y media de la tarde, Rebeca, y su hermana Leah, Lesly y su hermana Katie, Hansell y su hermana Kelsey y yo fuios al Newton Medical Center. El hospital de Newton. Impresionante! Realmente, cuando entramos en el predio, nos dimos cuenta de que estamos en un pais desarrollado, a pesar de Newton poseer poco mas de 20.000 habitantes, tiene un hospital equivalente a los mejores hospitales de nuestra capital, en cuanto a tamano y recursos disponibles (de buena calidad y considerados innovaciones tecnologicas en el area clinica). Ah, lo mas divertido, fue encontrar a un paraguayo, que vive aqui mas de 40 anos, y trabaja como bioquimico en el laboratorio del hospital… Un senor muy simpatico y amable, quien hasta sabe pronunciar aun, varias palabras en nuestro idioma, el Guarani..!

Mas tarde, fui con Rebeca y Leah a cenar y a conocer su casa. Muy linda por cierto. Comimos un pan especial, hecho por los menonitas, It was really tasteful!

En el colegio, era un dia especial… Pues los Seniors (los que se graduan del HIGH SCHOOL este ano) son presentados y reciben regalos y menciones de honor del colegio. Este evento fue marcado por la realizacion de juegos de basketball en uno de los estadios del predio… El Newton vs Arka City… El primer partido fue femenino, y el segundo masculino, en ambos nuestro colegio salio vencedor! Fue fascinante, asistir a un juego de basket aqui..!

Durante la noche, ya con tia Graciela, todos los jovenes las coordinadoras y nuestros hermanos nos dirigimos a una libreria, donde asistimos a un concierto de Bluegrass de un grupo aqui de Newton (un ritmo tipico) los chicos cantaban muy bien y ademas eran muy divertidos..! Pasamos bien, y tuvimos la oportunidad de cantar a los espectadores tambien… una cancion paraguaya titulada “A mi Tierra” con Hansell en la guitarra…

Mas tarde fuimos a un restaurant, con nuestras hermanas y algunas amigas del colegio… Jugamos UNO! un juego de cartas super divertido..! y ademas ensenamos otros juegos famosos en Paraguay..

Mi dia fue divertido! conoci muchas personas, lugares y probe comidas nuevas. Visite al hospital, hable con un compatriota, y aprendi mucho alli!

Quiero conocer mas sobre esta cultura ecantadora, y compartir lo que se y lo que llevo en mi alma, el orgullo de ser paraguaya.

Quiero aprovehar cada instante de este sueno, que vino y sin darme cuenta abrio muchas puertas en mi vida, y si Dios permite, continuara abriendo.

Quiero, cuando volver al Paraguay, compartir todo lo aprendido, y decir, que valio la pena todo el esfuerzo!

Quiero ver que todos los jovenes paraguayos, y los latinoamericanos seamos agentes del cambio, para tornar nuestras naciones, lugares sonde todos tengan las mismas oportunidades.

Porque nosotros podemos cambiar el mundo!


Pittsburg Hosts Teachers in Annual Exchange

Local students study different culture


The Morning Sun
Posted Jan 31, 2009 @ 10:30 PM


This year, as in years past, teacher from Paraguay have traveled to southeast Kansas to spend a month learning about America’s school system.
The exchange program, Pittsburg-Paraguay International Teachers for Tomorrow, is a result of the Partners for America initiative put into place by President Kennedy in the 1960s. Through Partners for America, each U.S. state was partnered with a country or region in Central and South America. Kansas was partnered with Paraguay.
This year, Paraguayan teachers are working at Frank Layden Elementary School in Frontenac, as well as Lakeside and George Nettels elementary schools in Pittsburg. But while they are here learning about our culture, the teachers also are teaching American students a thing or two about theirs.
On Friday, approximately 80 fourth-graders at Frank Layden participated in the school’s first Paraguay Culture Day, an activity aimed at teaching them about Paraguayan culture. The students rotated through four stations: Introduction to Paraguay, Geography of Paraguay, Paraguayan Foods and Flag, and Paraguayan Dance and Music. The Paraguayan teachers served as special guests for the event.
Debbie Restivo, fourth-grade teacher at Frank Layden, said the activity was conducted to help the local students learn about a culture other than their own.
“Activities like this give our students a chance to widen their window on the world,” she said. “The more they learn about Paraguay and the more they learn about another culture, the more they learn that people from another country have many things in common with people in Frontenac, Kansas.”
The program that brought the Paraguayan teachers to southeast Kansas dates back to 2000, when Dr. Alice Sagehorn and Dr. Sandra Greer from Pittsburg State University, traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay to interview dual language and bilingual schools about participating in teachers exchanges. The duo met with six schools and all expressed interest in sending teachers to Kansas. St. Anne’s Colegio, a K-12 dual language school in Paraguay, volunteered to host PSU teachers candidates.
Teachers from Paraguay spent time in Kansas schools in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 and again this year. In 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007, PSU teacher candidates visited St. Anne’s Colegio for two weeks.
This year’s PPITT teachers are:
• Maria Nilda Martinez Aleman, who owns the Sunflowers Bilingual School in Encarnacion, Paraguay. She is hosted by Frontenac Spanish teacher Erin Douglas and is working with Debbie Restivo in the fourth grade at Frank Layden Elementary School.
• Olga Beatriz Anastasia Estigarribia de Ribeiro, an art teacher at the Pan America International School in Asuncion. She is hosted by Gustavo Acquino and Rossana Martinez Delgado and is working in the art classroom and ESOL program at Lakeside Elementary.
• Maria Bethania dos Santos Miranda is a sixth-grade teacher at Liberty School in Asuncion. She is hosted by Paloma Perez and is working in second grade at George Nettels Elementary School.


2008-2009 Scholarship Winners Announced

Matt Hoge, a KU graduate student in Latin American Studies, has been selected for the 2008-2009 KPP Scholarship. Matt is an intern with Fundación Paraguaya, studying microfinance as a strategy for economic development in Paraguay.

Jazmín Ramirez, a senior in political science at Pittsburg State University, was selected by the CPK to receive their portion of the 08-09 scholarship.

For the Nelson DeBarros International Student Scholarship Fund at Kansas State University, the Comité recommended Cesar Caballero, in the Master of Food Microbiology Department, to receive the balance remaining in the fund.

Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients–bien hecho!


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