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.



Brazil Fellows Exchange 2008

KPP Members Lorraine Richards of Newton and Melissa Warren worked with the Georgia and Brazil Partners on this collaborative effort to host firefighters from Perhambuco Brazil in Newton, Wichita and Lawrence, Kansas.
Muito bom!

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!


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

Brazilian firefighters learn the ropes in Newton, Kansas fire departments

Firefighters hope to bring training, volunteerism ideas back to Brazil

Captains Moacir Porfiro, left, and Anderson Silvia, visited Newton last week as a part of a Partners of the Americas exchange program. The firefighters spent three days training with the Newton Fire/EMS Department.


The Newton Kansan
Posted May 12, 2008 @ 09:54 AM


Two firefighters from Brazil who are visiting Kansas want to find ways to increase the number of qualified firefighters in their country. Captains Moacir Porfiro and Anderson Silvia, both from the state of Penambuco, Brazil, have spent the last several weeks learning how the Kansas fire system works. They spent three days last week with the Newton Fire/EMS Department. “We are getting a pretty good idea of how to improve training, and we want to do everything possible to change,” he said. Both men have been in the fire service since the 1990s and have military service records. In Brazil, the fire service is state-run, and has no volunteers. Porfiro said he was interested in how the Kansas fire service uses volunteers. In Penambuco, a fire service of 2,415 paid firefighters serves 8.5 million people. In Kansas, a fire service of 3,600 firefighters serves a population of 2.5 million people. Eighty percent of Kansas’ fire/EMS force is volunteer. “The lesson that we have learned is that firefighters, the society and community have to grow up together,” Porfiro said. “Being a volunteer firefighter is a question of citizenship.” Another difference between the two countries is the absence of paramedics in Brazil. There, emergency services are divided into first responders and doctors and nurses who respond directly to emergency situations. The Brazilian firefighters are visiting Kansas as a part of a Partners of the Americas exchange. In addition to spending time with local fire departments, the two men took a fire training course at Hutchinson Community College and attended the Kansas State Firefighters Association Conference in Topeka. Porfiro said he was impressed how the different departments in the state communicated and worked together on issues of laws and public safety. The Brazilian firefighters will be training in fire, EMS, special services, hazardous materials, rescue, inspections and public education. Newton Fire/EMS Chief Gary Denny said the firefighters went out on both fire and EMS calls while the men where in Newton. “We will emphasize service delivery for a suburban size fire department,” he said. Kansas was chosen by the program for the exchange because of its high level of disaster preparedness. Both men toured Greensburg while they were in Kansas. Although Brazil is not subject to tornadoes, the state of Penambuco has an extensive coastline and is subject to flooding. “We need the same system of civil defense,” Porfiro said. “It is important that we work together and share our experiences.” The Brazilian men said they were impressed the city of Greensburg was rebuilding so quickly. Silvia said he saw at Greensburg how important a quick response was to saving lives. Silvia, who is an instructor is his native country, said he hopes to work with other emergency personnel to decrease response times. Both men said they hoped the visit to Kansas would be the beginning of continuing exchange of ideas. “We want this to be a big partnership between Penambuco and Kansas,” Porfiro said. “I think it is a good idea the Partners of the Americas has given us an opportunity for this.”

Submitted by Steve & Lorraine Richards

Newton City Commission

The five Paraguayan high school students and their adult chaperone, who are attending Newton High School this winter, got a little taste of local government when they attended last week’s City Commission meeting.

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