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!

Gabi

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!

Gabi

2009 Youth Ambassadors Arrive in Wichita!

2009 Youth Ambassadors Arriving in Wichita

Pictured here are this year’s Paraguayan Youth Ambassadors at the Wichita airport where they arrived yesterday to begin their stay in Kansas. Five students will be going to Newton High School and five will be going to Riley County High School. They are also accompanied by two adult sponsors, Cristina Escriba and Graciela Ocampos from Asunción.

Read more about the students:

LESLY NOELIA ARAUJO PINO
Lesly is 18 years old. She recently graduated from high
school and would like to study medicine. She attended
Santa Teresita High School in her hometown, Luque. She
studies English at the bi-national center, the Paraguayan-
American Cultural Center (CCPA). She can dance to typical
Paraguayan music with three bottles on her head and also
with a pitcher (or “cantaro” in Spanish). She was President
of her class and also captain of her handball team. Since
2007, Les has been a dance instructor who teaches typical
Paraguayan dance and ballet to children with special
needs.

ROMINA MONTSERRAT CABRERA RUIZ
Romina is a 17 year-old student from Asunción. This year,
she will graduate from Tecnico Javier Technical School
where she has been class president for two consecutive
years. Romina is an actress who loves theatre and poetry.
She can recite lines from plays in both official languages of
Paraguay, Spanish and in Guarani. She has been studying
English for 4 years at the CCPA. She worked with the
organization “Saka” (meaning transparent in Guarani) by
observing and monitoring voting stations during the 2008
Paraguayan presidential election.

CAMILA RAQUEL FERRES NAVARRO
Camila is 17 years old and lives in Lambare, a city near the
capital of Paraguay. She attends Johannes Gutenberg High
School, a polytechnic school, where she is in her third year
of high school and has been elected class president
several times. Since 2006, Camila has been studying
English at the CCPA. She loves cooking and can prepare
typical Paraguayan food for an afternoon cookout, like
“sopa paraguaya” and “chipa guasu.” Camila aspires to
become an English teacher.

REBECA MARIEL FLOR GRANADA
Rebeca is a 17 year-old student from Asuncion. She is in
her second year at Dr. Luis Alberto de Herrera School. Her
school’s emphasis in health sciences has motivated her to
study medicine. Rebecca was elected president of her
student council. Since 2006, she has been studying
English at the CCPA with an Embassy scholarship. As part
of her community service work, she takes part in a project
called Organic Orchard in which she helps orphans at the
Our Lady of Asuncion Center improve their eating habits.

ALMA CAMILA GAONA FERREIRA
Alma Camila lives in a village called Conavi in the city of
Ypane, near Asuncion. She attends Dr. Eligio Ayala
School in Fernando de la Mora city and is in her second
year of high school. She will graduate with an emphasis in
health sciences. Alma is 16 years old and has been
studying English for two years at the CCPA with an
Embassy scholarship. She has participated in a community
project that monitors health conditions to assist the central
government in their quest for sanitary solutions. She enjoys
singing in Spanish and Guarani.

FATIMA MARIA MORYS BARRIOS
Fatima is a 16 year-old young musician from Asuncion. She
attends Virgen de Nazareth School. She studies music at
the National Conservatory of Music and is a member of the
Orchestra. Fatima plays the violin and piano and loves to
sing and dance to traditional music. Fatima also teaches
English to her classmates and has been studying English at
the Ministry of Defense’s Institute of Languages. She was
elected President of her class for three consecutive years
and is a member of her church choir. With her choir, she
got the opportunity to visit Brazil and Australia and meet the
Pope.

DAVID RIVEROS GARCIA
David is an 18 year-old student from Hernandarias, a city
located in the Alto Paraná Department. He finished high
school at Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia Technical
School and is studying to become an engineer. He has
been studying English for 3 years at the English Language
Center. David is a member of Alto Parana’s basketball
team where he participated in two national tournaments. He
was vice president of the student council last year and
class president for several years.

HANSELL ROJAS ROTELA
Hansell is 17 years old and hails from Asuncion, where he
finished high school at Cerro Cora Technical School.
Hansell is now studying to be a computer science engineer.
He has been studying English at the CCPA for three years.
His social work includes a project called “Color of Hope” in
which he was the coordinator of the Music Club. Hansell
taught children, from very low income families, how to keep
busy through recreational activities during their free time,
by splitting the group of kids in clubs of music, paint, dance
and theatre. The project won third place in a competition
called Gabriela Prize.

RONALD ALEJANDRO VON KNOBLOCH VON BARGEN
Ronald is a 15 year-old student. He was born in
Encarnacion, a city in the Itapua Department, but has lived
in Asuncion since the age of six. He is in his second year at
American High School, a bilingual institution. Ronald is a
young and talented musician who sings in the school choir
and plays the guitar very well. He has also composed his
own songs and made a music video. He is an actor and
loves theatre. Ronald has participated in many cultural
festivals, notably with some recognized Paraguayan
personalities, and competed in many cultural contests at
school.


GABRIELE ALANA WENTZEL KNAAK

Gabriele is 16 years old and was born in Naranjal, a city in
the Itapua Department. Presently, she lives in the town of
Hohenau, where she attends Concordia High School and
expects to graduate this year and pursue the study of
medicine. She has been studying English at the CCPA
since last year. Gabriele plays the keyboard, sings and
plays the violin at the Symphonic Orchestra of Itapúa. As
part of her community service activities at church, she
teaches music and participates in the Communitarian
Orchard project. She was elected class president for two
consecutives years.

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