A Few Highlights of Sergio Jara’s Visit to Kansas

Paraguayan Sculptor Sergio Jara spent a month in Kansas this fall. Upon his return he sent pictures from his visit along with a note.

Sergio said that he was a bit nervous starting his trip to a new country, new people, new experiences and uncertain if his English was good enough.  Sergio found friendly people who opened their homes to him. He was thankful for all of the hospitality, comfortable living, interesting exchange of opinions and good practice speaking English that got better and better. He is grateful for the many new friends that he made in Kansas.

Sergio found the art facilities and professors within the Kansas universities and art institutions to be superior and a great help in his artistic training. He valued the ability to be able to choose various activities and found the opportunity to talk with other students and present his work to be extremely valuable.

Sergio particularly wanted to thank Amber Hansen and Nicholas, Judith McCrea, Eric Conrad and Yoonmi, Michael Hager, Fernando Achucarro and family, Ramiro Miranda and family, Lana Messner, Jennifer Baldwin and family, Meli Peña, Peter Haney, Miriam Mongelós and John Poertner and Edith Black and all of those people he met, gave of their time, and knowledge.

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Sergio Jara won the sculpture competition sponsored by Centro Cultural Paraguayo Americano (CCPA), Comité Paraguay Kansas (CPK) and Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP). Part of his prize was to spend a month in Kansas hosted by KPP artists and supporters. His trip was also supported by Partners of the Americas as part of their education and culture travel grant program.  Kansas artists Amber Hansen, Judith McCrea of the University of Kansas, and Eric Conrad of Emporia State University deserve special recognition for all of their efforts to make Sergio’s visit rich and valuable.


Nan Porter hosts Dr. Feltes

Long time Kansas Paraguay member Nan Porter hosted a dinner for Dr. Feltes (left in photo) and several KPP members.  Dr. Feltes is the most recent Paraguayan doctor visiting through the University of Kansas School of Medicine @ Wichita Family Practice exchange with support of Partners of the Americas and KPP.  Boots and Merrill Raber are in the center of the photo.  Merrill is the chair of the Health Committee and the KPP champion of the medical exchange.


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 slrichards@cox.net 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

Presentation by 2008-2009 KPP Scholarship Winner

Matt Hoge

Over the weekend, Matt Hoge, a KU graduate student in Latin American Studies, gave a comprehensive overview of his experiences, observations and some conclusions about the usage of microfinance in Paraguay to participants in the 2009 Annual meeting of the Kansas Paraguay Partners. Matt was selected for the 2008-2009 KPP Scholarship and worked as an intern with Fundación Paraguaya, studying microfinance as a strategy for economic development in Paraguay.

You can download and view his powerpoint presentation below.

Click to download:

Experiences with Microfinance in Paraguay by Matt Hoge, KU

News about the Asunción Zoo!

At this weekend’s quarterly meeting, Natural Resources Committee Chair Bob Klemm shared two powerpoint presentations with us about the recent improvements at the zoo in Asunción, Paraguay. This is a project that Bob has been working on for 16 years.  To learn more about the history of this project please visit click on the Zoo Link

You can view both short powerpoint/slideshows in Spanish below:

The two slides below are about the mayor visiting the zoo. In the second slide about the mayor’s visit, the photos on the left are the “before” photos and on the right the fabulous new renovations:

This second slideshow is a powerpoint of the Zoo’s recent bulletin:

(Submitted by Bob Klemm)

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.


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