Landfill Harmonic to be Featured at Tallgrass Film Festival

Kansas Connection to Oscar Candidate Featured in Tallgrass Film Festival

The story of Landfill Harmonic has built viral anticipation for this documentary that will be featured at Tallgrass Film Festival. Music inspires hope and accomplishment amid poverty and disaster in a story that continues to unfold.

Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. This Paraguayan musical group is composed of kids living next to one of South America’s largest landfills. The unlikely orchestra plays music with instruments made entirely out of trash. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. With the guidance of their music director, they must navigate this new world of arenas and sold out concerts. However, when a natural disaster devastates their community, the orchestra provides a source of hope for the town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.

Proposed by Paraguay as its candidate for an Oscar nomination, this heart-warming story has connections to Kansas. The Recycled Orchestra sprung from a project supported by Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). KPP members carried donated instruments to Sounds of the Earth, founded in 2002 by Luis Szarán, Paraguayan orchestra director, composer and musical researcher. Both Sounds of the Earth and Recycled Orchestra serve to build educational and social success in children who have very limited resources.

Landfill Harmonic will be shown on Fri, Oct 16, 3:15 PM at the Orpheum Theatre and on Sun, Oct 18, 1:45 PM at the Garvey Theater 1.

The Kansas Paraguay chapter of Partners of the Americas (Partners) has been active since 1968. Partners connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting friendships. KPP project areas include education, health, cultural arts, emergency preparedness and natural resources.

More details may be found at the following links and contacts.

Landfill Harmonic at the Tallgrass Film Festival Kansas Paraguay Partners

Ann Burger



Steve Richards


Tallgrass Film Association

Cara Kliewer


13th annual Tallgrass Film Festival

October 14-18, 2015 in Wichita, Kansas

Sergio Jara – Paraguayan Sculptor

Sergio Jara won the 7th Annual Young Artists competition sponsored by Centro Culture Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). 

As part of his prize Sergio spent a month in Kansas visiting artists and shared his work in Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka, and Emporia. HIs travel was supported by POA, KPP and CPK

Eric Conrad a sculptor and Emporia State University professor assisted with the judging of the contest and traveled to Paraguay through a Partners of the Americas (POA) Education and Culture grant.  Eric is one of Sergio’s artist hosts along with Judy McCrea and Amber Hansen.

Sergio Jara

Sergio Jara

At an early age Sergio knew that he wanted to be a sculptor.  It was a natural path since his mother is an artist and his father is an engineer.  Sergio’s academic training in sculpture was at the Instituto Superior de Bellas Artes in Asuncion obtaining the title of Professor of Art.  This is Sergio’s contest winning work.

waiting for the son

Waiting for the Son.

Sergio has received international recognition for his work being invited to participate in the 8th International Art and Wine festival (2015) in Tarija, Bolivia. Here is the piece that he created.

Bolivia - Sergio

In 2014 Sergio was invited to participate in the International Wood Carving Workshop in Sichuan China to celebrate World Wood Day.  The artists were shown a pile of roots and asked to select one to make their sculpture.

Raw material

Raw material

Resulting work.

Sergio - china

Prior to Sergio’s work in China he was invited to participate in the 11th World Cultural Art Symposium in South Korea.  He was presented with a large piece of granite and asked to create a work.  Here is the result.


Comite Paraguay Kansas and Kansas Paraguay Partners are Promoting 4H/4C – Again

I am reprinting (below) an article written by Katie Allen of the Kansas State Extension Service about Deryl Waldren helping Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) and Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) promote 4H in Paraguay where it is know as 4C.  One advantage of a long term partnership like that of KPP/CPK is the opportunity to revisit opportunities from the past.  In the 1980s Lois Redman and Clara Dubbs took leadership in promoting 4C in Paraguay.  As a result Paraguayan youth attended Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University forging life long friendships. One of my fond memories living in Paraguay for a year was waiting for the bus one morning and a pickup truck pulled over and asked me where I was from.  When I said Kansas the driver replied that he graduated from Fort Hays and he would be happy to take me to the city center.  The driver was Anibal Fanego who at the time was a high level official in the Paraguayan Department of Agriculture.  When KPP took a tour of Paraguay in 2005 Anibal was sure to stop our hotel by and great Lois and Clara as did many other Paraguayans who were hosted by these two KPP leaders.  It is great to see that more of these types of relationship will be forged in the coming years..

Northwest Kan. 4-H specialist focusing on youth program in Paraguay

As part of his trip to revitalize Paraguay’s 4-C program, similar to the 4-H program in the United States, Deryl Waldren participated in several interviews with media, including a live radio interview in Spanish in Limpio, Paraguay.

K-State Research and Extension

COLBY – All 4-H members in the United States know what the four Hs represent – head, heart, hands and health. Similar youth programs exist across the globe but are known by other names. In Paraguay, the program is called 4-C, with the Cs standing for cabeza, corazón, capacidad and cooperación. These mean head, heart, capacity and cooperation.

“There has been a strong partnership with Paraguay in Kansas through the Partner of the Americas program,” said Deryl Waldren, 4-H specialist for K-State Research and Extension’s northwest area in Colby. “Kansas and Paraguay were linked up, because they are similar in that both are relatively flat, have no mountains, have good agricultural land and don’t have access to water.”

Waldren completed a two-week trip to Paraguay in August to perform a needs assessment of its 4-C program. The program was started in 1949, he said, and has gone through many changes over the years. Many in the country want to revitalize the program and make it more accessible and relevant for youth throughout the country.

Waldren started by meeting with stakeholders, including some of the country’s top agricultural leaders, and 4-C clubs to observe and answer questions. Among the top areas in which the 4-C clubs wanted to engage members was service learning projects that benefited local communities, such as community gardens.

“A lot of these gardens that I observed were attached to the schools, and that was helping with food security – making sure families have enough to eat,” Waldren said. “If there’s excess food, they were able to sell it to the community and make money for the school or to do more for 4-C.”

Other service projects of interest to 4-C clubs, he said, depended on a local need. One club did some landscaping and beautified a local park to make it a place where kids would want to go. Another club plans to build an athletic field. Another built fishing ponds that will be stocked to grow fish to sell to members of the community. This project also teaches entrepreneurial skills to members.

“We like to see kids learning that they need to give back to the community in community service projects,” Waldren said. “The best way is to look at the local needs and develop a plan or a project that will give back to the community what that community needs.”

“Obviously 4-H around the world is based on local needs, but there are certain things we hope 4-H is teaching, which is life skills through these and other projects,” he added.

Two organizations helped organize Waldren’s meetings in Paraguay, including Committee Paraguay Kansas (Comité Paraguay Kansas or CPK) and the Center for Information and Development of Resources (Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarrollo or CIRD). CPK is a volunteer organization that promotes development between Paraguay and institutions in Kansas, while CIRD is a non-governmental organization that facilitates programs and grants to develop Paraguay.

The work continues

Waldren, who has also worked in youth development programs in Australia, Asia and Europe, said it’s important to understand other programs similar to 4-H worldwide. The relationships can create great learning opportunities and be mutually beneficial.

Specifically in Paraguay, he hopes more extension staff will join him to meet three proposed goals based on expressed needs. The first is to train extension staff in Paraguay in positive youth development and how to implement more 4-C clubs. The second is to find relevant, succinct curriculum materials they can use within the clubs that could be easily translated to Spanish. The third is to match Kansas 4-H clubs with Paraguay 4-C clubs to increase the exchange of information and help one another.

“We look forward to having more communication to see what their needs are and putting together different ways and more people to help them,” Waldren said.

He added that it’s also important to have representatives from Paraguay visit Kansas to see 4-H in action. Two representatives from CPK will be at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday, Sept. 12, to see 4-H exhibits, meet 4-H members and their families, and visit with 4-H staff as part of an eight-day tour of Kansas.

Books headed to San Marcus School in Luque

Nine boxes of books are on there way to establish a library at San Marcus Elementary School in Luque Paraguay.

This project is a collaboration between Wichita Public Library, Trees for Life International and Kansas Paraguay Partners.  Patty Silva volunteers at the school and was visiting Kansas with a teacher exchange program sponsored by Kansas Paraguay Partners.  She mentioned that the school had a room for a library but no books.  In August and September of 2014 the Wichita Public Library set up boxes for donations of new or slightly used books in Spanish. Donations to cover the cost of shipping the books were received through Trees for Life International.  The book drive was a success and the books were shipped earlier this month. 

There were also ten boxes of books donated by retired Wichita State University Professor Ed Flentje.  Professor Flentje donated many books from his political science library to Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano in Asuncion. The books will be available to Paraguayans in the Roosevelt Library at the Center.

Winner of Paraguayan Youth Painting Contest

Manuel Vera of Villarrica is the winner of the art contest sponsored by the bi-national Paraguay United States Cultural Center (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP).  Manuel will receive free English instruction at CCPA before traveling to Kansas to visit with Kansas artists. The theme of the contest was lost childhood. The photos below show Manuel and a paintings he created to respond to this theme.  Judith McCrea a professor of art at the University of Kansas and long time KPP member and supporter participated as a judge in this contest.

This is one of several art contests aimed at young Paraguayan artists and sponsored by CCPA, CPK and KPP. Previously there has been a photography and a sculpture contest. Amber Hansen of Lawrence assisted the judging of the photography contest and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University assisted with the judging of the sculpture contest.

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Paraguayan Art

Kansas Paraguay Partners and Comité Paraguay Kansas have had both visual and performing artist exchanges for most of its existence. Recently there is a special visual arts project between KPP, CPK and the Paraguayan Binational Center (CCPA).  Amber Hansen and Eric Conrad have traveled to Paraguay to judge art contests and we await the visit of Sergio Jara the Paraguayan winner of the sculpture contest.  Paraguayan photographer Teresita Gonzalez has also visited Kansas recently.  All of this is to say that Paraguay has a vibrant visual art tradition.  KPP supporter Arla Jones sent this link to Paraguay’s participation in the Venice Biennale.  Take a look at some great work.

Kansas Paraguay Partners Tribute to Mary Miller

Mary Miller and Charlie Stansifer

Mary Miller and Charlie Stansifer

Mary Miller passed on Wednesday April 8, 2015. Mary was active in the Kansas Paraguay Partnership for many years. One of her successful projects was with the Citizen Participation Committee. This project illustrates one of the strengths of Mary and long-term partnerships like Kansas Paraguay Partners. A significant change in the Paraguayan government presented an opportunity that KPP could successfully take advantage of because of the long-term relationship that had been developed over many years.

In the 1990s as Paraguay was developing democratic institutions after decades of dictatorships Mary Miller and Nan Wilson undertook a several year project in voter education with our Paraguayan partners at Comite Paraguay Kansas. Mary and Nan were active in the League of Women Voters and helped Paraguayans understand how a non-partisan and non-governmental organization could educate its citizens about democratic processes.

This was a several prong project that involved Mary traveling to Paraguay in 1993 to gauge interest in democratic elections. She found eagerness to move forward and get involved. With assistance from the Nation Association of Partners of the Americas (later Partners of the Americas) and USAID a youth conference was held in Asuncion on their roles in a democratic society.

A group of Paraguayan women from Mujers por la Democracia also traveled to Kansas to learn how the League of Women Voters engaged in voter education. While in Kansas they attended city commission meetings and participated in the League Day at the Kansas legislature.

Upon returning to Paraguay three women engaged women in Mercado Quatro that is one of the larger markets in Asuncion with primarily women venders. These women identified issues important to them that related to the municipal government. Once the issues were identified they held public forms around the city and asked candidates to address the issues. These forms attracted 100 to 150 people each. Mujers por la Democracia also used these events to educate people about voter registration and the voting process.

Mary reported on the progress of this project to the Department of State, the Advisory Committee for USAID and the staff of Senators Dole and Kassebaum.

Mary was also an adventurer. 


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