Meet My Community: Ña Ester and Family

“All you need is love. ” – The Beatles

August 9, 2014

I’m excited to share with you the story of Ña Ester and her family. This 47-year old woman has been a loving supporter of my service from the moment we met. She’s been patient and forgiving with my language shortcomings, always has a smile for me, invites me to new meetings she thinks I might find interesting, is encouraging and open-minded when I want to introduce new concepts, calls or sends messages every birthday and all holidays, and is always sending me home from my visits with plenty to eat. She’s a strong, take-no-shit woman, rare in my community, and such a great model for the others. Most women here are submissive to the men except in matters of child rearing, cooking, and activities related to cooking like how much of each crop to plant. In other families, the man rules the house. In hers, she wears the pants and they are loud.

Ña Ester had a birthday this week and invited me to the house to partake in the feast of BBQd pork, sopa bread and cold rice salad. All of her four children were present, ages 14 to 29. Three of them live in Asuncion and generally only make the trip to the campo (countryside, where we are) 2-3 times per year for the holidays so this was a big deal. I referenced this family’s invitation and hanging pig carcass in an earlier blog this week called Friendship on Every Doorstep where the daughters and I had some great conversations. This is a beautiful, loving family whose care, love, and ease with each other is palpable as they move through the house doing the work of the day, braiding nieces’ hair, taking turns watching the toddlers, preparing food, setting the table, catching up on stories.

 

Recently, after she finished building her family’s solar food dryer with me (which allows them to use the sun to make dried fruits, veggies, and meats), super guapa (means ‘hardworking’) Ña Ester shared her bread recipe with me, which I encourage you to try. Find it In The Kitchen.

 

Na Ester (background) and her sister Na Olga and Olga's daughter Sofia making solar food dryers. Materials supplied by a grant.

Na Ester (background) and her sister Na Olga and Olga’s daughter Sofia making solar food dryers. Materials supplied by a grant.

Her oldest daughter, Rumi, works from home sewing uniforms for Paraguay’s military personnel; the other, Maria, is a stay-at-home Mom. The oldest son, Jorge, is an electrician (who was installing wiring in the new addition before lunch on this day), and the youngest son, Gerardo, is a go-getter-blossoming-leader like his mom who participates in my Kids’ Club, excels in English, is skilled in practical matters of living beyond his 14 years and who I see “taking names” every afternoon on the soccer field. The husband, Elvio, is a character who LOVES the camera and can be seen returning their cattle from grazing near the river late each morning. Whether walking barefoot or riding his bike, he always looks for me at my house and gives a big smile and friendly wave hello. At any event where he and my camera are both present, he’s happy to sit for a photo.

 

I’m grateful to have this warm family in my community and to call them my friends. They have worked hard to make me feel welcome in this tiny town and are part of what has made my service so satisfying here. Gracias a todos!

 

The family of Ña Ester y Don Alvio with grown kids home for the semana santa holiday, one of the most joyous weeks of the year for Paraguayan families.

The family of Ña Ester y Don Alvio with grown kids home for the semana santa holiday, one of the most joyous weeks of the year for Paraguayan families.

 

PS- If you haven’t yet voted in the Peace Corps’ Blog It Home contest – YOU HAVE ONLY UNTIL TOMORROW!! Click here and “LIKE” my photo to place your vote. Thank you for reading and voting!!!!

Categories: Peace Corps Paraguay | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Meet My Community: Ña Ester and Family

  1. Andy Montgomery

    Hi Wendy,

    My wife and I are RPCV’s (St. Lucia ’90-’92) and we lived in Brazil in the late 80’s. Our oldest son just arrived in Paraguay for a gap year before he starts college in fall 2015. He is there through the AFS Community Service program. He is in Santa Rosa de Mbutuy, a tiny little town north of Coronel Oviedo.

    He’s only been in Paraguay for three weeks or so, but all is well so far. I don’t think he is going to communicate too much with us (which is okay…no news is good news…), so I’m grateful for your blog. I look forward to reading it and learning more about Paraguay and the experiences Jake is having there.

    Thanks.

    Andy Montgomery
    St. Charles, IL

    • Hi Andy! Thanks for the lovely note. Nice to hear from RPCVs! I think your son will enjoy Paraguay. As So America goes it’s one of the safest countries he could choose, if that’s any peace of mind for you. 🙂 Tell him he’s welcome to contact me if he has questions about the country, language, customs, etc. I’d be happy to help until I COS in November. Also, let me know if there’s a particular topic you’d like to hear more about here on the blog site. If you have questions you’d like to ask offline, send me a message using the form on my The Adventuress page which goes straight to my email and doesn’t show here on the blog. Best wishes to you all and thanks for reading! 🙂

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