Its been awhile, eh? Sitting down to this entry, I realize that I've been here in Itagua for roughly three weeks already, and most of you haven't heard so much as a peep from me. As a result, I went out this morning to shoot photos that I will be uploading in the following days. The first few members of a volunteer group from North Carolina arrived today along with a couple from another town an hour or so away that are good friends with Shaun and Sara. Their arrival culminated a multi-week push to renovate a building here for use as volunteer housing, and eventually the meeting place for the church here. I've been busy with other projects you will learn about in the near future, but was able to help some with patching the roof, tearing out and re-making a wall in the bathroom, and of course the final furnishing and cleaning efforts of the past few days. It's been an amazing transformation. More detailed pictures and explanations will follow (probably tomorrow) but for today, I wanted to catch you up with the details of the blog that was lost. Apologies, this isn't nearly as creative as the one that was lost... but... asi es la vida.
A few weekends ago, I had the joy of going to the national 'Expo.' Basically it's like an enormous county fair, with rides, games, and funnel cakes, but there are also enormous animal barns, competitions, and booths for any business that wants to set up. There's everything from cultural demonstrations to motocross. It's big... a sea of people. Anywho... I went with a British magician to find information on beekeeping and generally explore the agricultural end of things for ideas that could be used at the home in Itagua. One of our stops was a building dedicated to 'cunicultura' in which you could buy rabbits, gawk at 6 kilogram breeding stock, and even eat empanadas (like a hot pocket) made out of their kin. I did all three.
Seriously though... I bought a box of rabbits... 3 females and a male for $5 each. As spontaneous as that sounds... it really wasn't. We had been brainstorming ways to provide new protein sources on site for the kids through projects that they can eventually take leadership in. I have very fond memories of Dad's experiments with pastured rabbit when I was younger, and of all the options that I have considered, this one seemed the most promising. Rabbits reproduce quickly, are voracious herbivores, and are easily cared for by someone less than 100 lbs (as opposed to cows, pigs, goats, etc.) The meat is fantastic and healthy... and one of the house parents here has previous experience with them, and is therefore a resource both before and after I leave.
So anyway... the morning after the expo found me bouncing up the ruta between Asuncion and Itagua in a rickety 80's model Mercedes bus with a box of rabbits, watching Paraguay flash by my open window, and thinking what a wacky and whiz-o thing life can end up being if you pick up your feet for even a moment. Hysterical, I thought... riding a bus with a boxful of rabbits... hiking through a market in San Lorenzo to change busses and feeling the different buzz of this hive... hiking the 2.5 km between the Ruta in Itagua and the Home just out of town while motos and oxcarts bounced past on dusty stone streets... and I was happy.
But then, walking down the row of houses as curious kids came running to see what was inside the box... and watching them come alive over so small a thing as a boxful of rabbits... just torqued some little thing inside of me that I think every person needs adjusted now and then. It was beautiful in a way .... well... in a way I cannot possibly explain to you until you have surprised a child with a rabbit from a box.