Paraguayan Art in Newton!

The art exhitition, “Images of Paraguay”  is currently running in Newton at the  Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Kansas, along with the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton.  Both galleries  will jointly host a special exhibition of art from Paraguay from

February 27 through May 23, 2010.

“Images of Paraguay” explores the diversity of Paraguay’s people and the depth and challenges of the country’s history. Contemporary works, many of which feature images of political protest and social justice, will be on display at the Carriage Factory Gallery in downtown Newton.

The  Kauffman Museum, on the Bethel College campus, will focus on ethnographic and folk art ranging from Ayoreo feather body ornaments to fine lacework introduced during the colonial period. Pieces in the show are drawn from private and public collections in Kansas.

The Newton exhibition of “Images of Paraguay” follows the highly successful 2008 exhibition of Paraguayan art shown at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka. Dr. Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Washburn professor of art history, organized the Mulvane project for the 40th anniversary of Kansas- Paraguay Partners.

KPP members are cordially invited to attend two special events. The grand opening celebration will be held at the Carriage Factory Gallery, 128 E. 6th Street, Newton, on February 27 (time to be announced). At 3:30 pm on March 14,

Dr. Janzen (pictured below)   gave an illustrated lecture on the arts of Paraguay at Kauffman Museum’s Sunday- Afternoon-at-the-Museum series (27th and North Main, North Newton).

Other programs are being planned. The joint exhibition is supported by grants from KPP and the Kansas Arts Commission.

For more information visit the museum’s website.

Contact Rachel Pannabecker at Kauffman Museum (316-283-1612),


Emergency Preparedness FAQ

       Nearly all fire protection and emergency services in Paraguay are organized

through volunteer organizations. Local volunteer fire companies are linked by

the National Corps of Voluteer Firefighters of Paraguay (CBVP).

      CBVP coordinates communication, training and resources. About 150 volunteer

companies scattered over an area the size of Kansas and Nebraska serve a

population of 6.5 million. These volunteers are extraordinarily dedicated and

effective in spite of resources that are extremely sparse by USA standards.

Paraguayan firefighters have observed and consulted with counterparts in

Kansas communities. Plans are pending for Kansas firefighters to travel to

Paraguay. Topics have been identified for research in Paraguay that may yield

significant benefit to Kansas counterparts.

     Some resources have been shipped to Paraguay. Plans are pending to collect

and ship significant quantities of surplus equipment. The Paraguayan National

Corps of Volunteer Firefighters will arrange for shipment of filled containers of



Significant needs for the next stage of the project include:

• Assistance to cultivate and solicit donations of equipment.

• Technical assistance for proper cleaning, packing and perhaps limited repair

of donated equipment.

• Identification and support of appropriate Kansas firefighters to travel to

Paraguay for short and intermediate term cultural exchange.


Ways to Become Involved


KPP Emergency Preparedness Project Needs

Volunteer Involvement

KPP Emergency Preparedness Committee needs more volunteers to develop

this project. Connections and expertise with emergency services are welcome!

Equipment Needs

There is an acute need for “almost any type” of usable equipment and supplies.

In addition to firefighting and personal protective gear, there is a wish list for EMS

related items. Ultimately, vehicles in serviceable condition are also sought.

KPP seeks donations through appropriate surplus channels and priorities that will

be usable in the Paraguay context. Simple, low-tech, and sustainable solutions

are highly desirable.

To see the complete FAQ document for this Emergency Preparedness project,
please download the two-page summary of specific volunteer and equipment needs:


Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet


Kansas Paraguay Partners welcomes opportunities to develop appropriate

collaboration with Kansas fire, EMS and emergency response agencies.


To offer donations or inquire about involvement or details,

please contact Steve or Lorraine Richards

at or 316-284-2042.



A Big Thank You to KPP!

A Big Thank to KPP!This top photo is a big thanks from the kids for their books because many of the books were shipped down with funds from the last KPP annual fundraiser.–this photographic thank you  is for the Kansas Paraguay Partners!

Beth Chronister has returned from her Peace Corps stint in Paraguay. She sent us a note with the enclosed photos from the library which KPP helped build with our donation of books. The  photo below is  of the “ribbon pulling” ceremony.
From left to right: Beth Chronister, the Peace Corps Director, the U.S. Ambassdor Liliana Ayalde, and the local school’s

(There are more photos of the library in the Rincon VIP section of our website)

Ribbon Pulling Ceremony

Here is Beth’s note:
I have returned from Paraguay upon completion of my two years of Peace Corps service at the end of April. Before I left many exciting things happened with the school library project that Kansas Paraguay Partners supported. The last few months of my service was full of fund raising and construction as we built a classroom (supported by a fund from Peace Corps and money/materials from the community) to house the library collection which almost reached a 1000 books starting from 0! This all came to a culmination with a wonderful building dedication that was attended by the Ambassador of the US to Paraguay and the director of Peace Corps Paraguay. From my communications since with the community, the library is being used weekly for check out to the homes, cared for by the principal, 6th grade teacher and new volunteer.

The library, Arandu Rekavo (a place of learning and discovery roughly), is located in a compania of La Colmena in Paraguari (about 3 bus hours from Asuncion). It is a community of about 500 people, 100 homes and the elementary school has approximately 90 students. It is a rural community, largely based on agriculture and animal husbandry, though there are also people working as teachers, nurses or sending money from work in the capital or from other countries. The building was built Feb-Apr 2009 with a grant from US Aid through Peace Corps, and supported by the community through donated supplies, labour and fundraising. The collection was made through donations from here in Kansas and from within Paraguay.

I would say most importantly, before the creation of this library, there were hardly any books in the community. Books in Paraguay are too expensive for the majority of the population and generally there is not a culture of reading. But once the library began circulation– over 200 books were going into the homes and classrooms each week! These are not only read by the students, but also their older siblings and family members. It was incredible to see a love of reading being begun in the community. I hope that the books serve as a spark to a sustained ability and desire to read, research and expand the mind for the rest of the students lives.

Here is a copy of the plaque that was unveiled at the dedication that recognizes the donors including KPP.

Placa de la biblioteca

What am I up to now? I am currently living between Lawrence and Topeka and preparing for entering graduate school in 2010 to pursue a masters in divinity. I am also spending my downtime the same way I did in Peace Corps, with my Paraguayan cat and drinking terere 🙂 I miss the people very much and am fortunate that there are now ways to continue communications. I hope I will be able to visit within a couple years.

And once again, gracias, thank you, aguje for all the help and support to the make the hope of a rural library a reality.

Submitted by Beth Chronister

Guide to the Kansas Paraguay Partners Collection, 1970-1989

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas is collecting materials about Kansas Paraguay Partners. 
So far, they have one box of  general materials about our organization.

Repository: University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kansas 1450 Poplar Lane, Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
Phone: (785)864-4334

Collection  Website:

Abstract: Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) was founded in 1968, based upon the relationship of Mennonite communities in Kansas and Paraguayans. A volunteer organization, the KPP promotes cultural exchange between citizens of the two areas.

Language(s): English Spanish

December 6th, 2008 Quarterly Meeting Minutes


John Poertner called the meeting to order at 9:30. All board members were present plus Nan Wilson ex-officio and guests. John introduced Ben Weems who was the coordinator from 2982-1988. Many guests were present including Robert and Lois Kreider, Hugo Boschmann, Howard Snider, Justine Neufeld, and Crystal Somkueza (Kansas Paraguay Youth Ambassador Coordinator for Newton High School).

The minutes of the last meeting were approved as corrected.

Dave Schafer gave the Treasurer’s report. We have $8,510.21 in the general fund. A motion was approved to ask the Executive Committee to look at accounts with no activity and consider closing them and putting the money in a special grants fund. Their ideas are to be presented at the next meeting.


John gave the President’s report. The Chaco Water Project didn’t happen. Richard Porter said his gift could be used any way. John has not heard back from the church. Alice’s son was asked for his legal opinion about the directer and board member insurance and it will be referred to the Executive Committee for decision. John Neuman came to the annual meeting last year and was interested in a Paraguay trip. He’s very busy right now but thinks the Brown and Gold Organization might be interested. He met with the head of their travel committee. They are a group of people 55 and older who like to travel and use their own travel agency thru Johnson County Community College. They have over 4500 members. John suggested considering a trip in 2010.

He next discussed the travelers on POA grants. Steve Penner , M.D., gave an interesting account of his trip and involvement with the family practice residents in Paraguay. Lillian Rodriguez had requested a small grant for an accompanist thru Arlo Kasper. The small grants committee has not seen the request. It was approved with the condition that the small grants committee approve. (Klemm/Newton). Arla will add the form for grants to the e-mail page.

Liliam Rodriguez, Arla Kasper, Victor (Liliam's Husband)

Donna Schenck-Hamlin requested travel expenses to Paraguay.It was approved.(Schafer/Sagehorn). The catalog Archives project is finally moving. Donna and her assistant plus one other have been approved for access to the portion of the documents on disappearing citizens of Paraguay(CDyA) that have been discovered.

Committee Reports

The nominating committee presented a slate of officiers and board members for the next meeting. The following will serve until March 2010.

President – John Poertner

Director – Bob Carlson

Director- Kim Kreicker

Director – Jay Newton

The following nominations are submitted for election in March 2009

Vice-:President (2 yr. term)- Steve Richards

Secretary (1 yr. term )-Nan Porter

Treasurer (2 yr. Term)-Dave Schafer

Director (2r. Term)-Mary Bradshaw

Director(2 yr. term)-Bob Klemm

Director (2yr.)-Alice Sagehorn

Director (2 yr. term) Norm Schlesner

Director ( 1 yr. term)-Merrill Raber submitted by Gene Ernst, Charley Stansifer, Nan Wilson

Education Committee

Arla Jones requested a small grant for the 10 Youth Ambassadors . It was decided to reimburse for travel expensews for students and friends from airport to hosts.

(Sagehorn/Schafer). They will be here from Feb.25th – March 7th. A motion was approved to give 2 scholarships of $600 each from the private donation

fund. (Kreicker/Jones). Alice Sagehorn reported on the teacher/student exchanges. There will be 3 teachers here, 2 at Pittsberg and one to Frontenac.

Submitted by Edith Black, Kim Kreicker, Arla Jones,


Bob Klemm reported that there are 125 members, with 19 new members. He passed out copies of the new directory.

Reach Out- Kim Kreicker, Arla Jones , Bob Klemm

The new brochure was passed around. It was approved with changes in categories: . (Klemm/Schafer). The decisions on cost , color, black and white will be made by the executive committee. Arla said the web site had 9000 hits this year.

Emergency Preparedness- Steve Richards, Lorraine Richards

The shipping container has arrived! It is at the Wichita Fire Dept. training ground. Steve has been working with Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell.

Next steps include moving equipment to the container, cultivating additional donations, obtaining supplies for storage, and getting more committee

involvement from emergency service personnel and KPP members and friends. Lorraine reported on the Georgia Pernambuco Partners. She traveled to Recife, Brazil to help Georgia connect with Recife emergency preparedness people. She consulted as a followup to two American Fellowships. There is a request for books to start a library at the fire department in Petrolina, Brazil. Lorraine is helping connect Chief Blackwell and his books to the people in Georgia.

Natural Resources – Bob Klemm

Bob reported on the good news fir the zoo. They are putting a perimeter fence around the zoo,have an office for maria, plus have money for other necessary things. Bob will go this summer to see how things are working out.

Kim Kreicker reported that the newsletter will go out in early January. A wreath was donated to Shelter Inc. in Lawrence for auction as a fund raiser for the Shelter, Inc.

Old Business

The annual meeting will be in April in Lawrence. Melissa Birch has been trying to geet Borda but doesn’t know yet when and if he can come which may determine the date.

New Business

Alice discussed the Villarrica sister City project .

Health – Merrill Raber

Merrill introduced the parents of Crystal who lived in Paraguay. Also he introduced Hugo and Mary Ann Boschmann (Faith and Light Bookstore), Lois Freisen,

and Liz Reid who works for the Mennonite Central Committee. He then introduced our speaker Dr. Robert Kreider. Dr. Kreider discussed the history of the Mennonites especially in South America.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:20 and we departed for a tour of the museum.

Respectfully submitted

Nan Porter

KPP participates in Lawrence Holiday fundraiser

KPP Wreath KPP members in Lawrence put together a “Paraguayan” Holiday wreath for the annual Christmas Tree and Wreath auction to fund The Shelter, Inc.

Progress in Paraguay


Much progress has occurred in Paraguay in the years since the establishment of the Paraguay Conservation Action Partnership, headquartered at Sunset Zoo.  Recently, the Escuela Agricola San Franciso in Paraguay was named a finalist for the British Broadcasting Company’s (BBC) World Challenge 2008.  The World Challenge ’08 is “is a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. World Challenge ’08 is brought to you by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell, and is about championing and rewarding projects and business which really make a difference.” 

Though Sunset Zoo is not directly involved with the Escuela Agricola San Franciso in Paraguay, Dr. Bob Klemm, our Conservation Officer visited the school in 2004 as President of the Kansas-Paraguay Partners of the Americas and made these observations: “It is an outstanding school…students have their own compost piles and garden plot, all fertilizers are made on site, students once graduated get a one-time stipend to establish a farm crop for their own profit, they run their own store and every faculty member of the school is REQUIRED to have a garden plot that mirrors the “green” protocol used at the school.   At the time, at least, it was one of only TWO Agricultural Schools worldwide that was completely self-sustaining-  the other one (I believe) was in California…”

Learn more about this breakthrough conservation initiative in Paraguay at:

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