So we arrived safe and sound in the Tapyta Reserve in the Atlantic Forest. After giving a few talks yesterday, and visiting an Indigenous community, (see previous post about Poverty,) we were finally able to have some down time to relax, shower, and prepare for dinner. Dinner was only meant to be shared by 5 of us, but in typical Paraguayan fashion, friends were invited and we ended up being a group of about 10. Luckily, there was enough carne, mandioca, and fresh cut tomatos to go around. Yes, if you were wondering if we had an asado, we did.
Along with our asado, (which was delicious!) were some beautiful Paraguayan voices singing well-known songs in both Guaraní and Español. I can’t tell you how nice it was after such a long and trying day to sit around in a group of Reserve workers, eating delicious food, sharing wine and beer and maté, and listening to them play guitar and sing. I don’t think this is the kind of thing you would find at a typical American BBQ – a bunch of men sitting around a table alter a few beers serenading each other with childhood favorites. Woman, maybe.
Anyway, as per usual custom, they insisted on hearing me sing an “American Song” you know, the Beatles! After putting it off and putting it off, I finally gave in for a round of “Hey Jude”. For the first time in my life I sang solo, accompanied by only the guitar, and sang sang, (as opposed to yell sang which I usually save for karaoke nights and clubbing, exclusively.)
It was definitely a nice change of pace from the rest of the world. Also, the longer I am in Paraguay, the more I realize how human we all are. How human emotions, though complex, are really all the same – and that it doesn’t matter whether you are male, female, Christian, Jewish, rich, poor – people relate to the world and their environments in a similar fashions. When someone thinks something is unique to only their culture, maybe it is, but more often than not, it’s a common human sentiment hidden beneath the disguise of “nationality”.