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Poverty, red mud and burgers.

Our day in Asuncion with the UNICEF staff again made us think of the poor and vulnerable, lack of education and poor health often means the adults can’t care for the children as well as they would like to. The much loved little ones are carried everywhere and given lots of love but there are material needs that need addressing here in Paraguay. Hopefully the improvements to the lives of the poor that have come about through the recent government change will continue, but until then UNICEF will play a big part in improving things for the most needy.

The government has come to an agreement with a group of indigenous folk, the Guarani who have a separate language, widely spoken in this area. These folk were taking their babies to the street as a begging tool, totally poverty driven. The deal is now:: no babies or children on the streets and a “community pot” will be provided by the government. So we saw the store room of food and the huge community pot of government provided chicken, spaghetti and beans bubbling over an open fire.

Kids are wanting to go to schooling programmes as food is provided so change is happening. The filth and sewage in the streets wasn’t acceptable so lets hope some fill is brought in to clean up the tracks and hopefully get rid of the smelly puddles that breed the dengue fever mosquitoes.

Mind you with only one main sealed road though the country standards are not what we are used to. Once off the seal you are into deep red mud when ever it rains. We took an excursion into the countryside on the bikes yesterday and had to give up after 25 km and go back. This was a blessing in disguise as if we had stayed out there we wouldn’t have got back today as it rained overnight. We had a struggle getting 200metres from our hotel to the seal in the red squishy stuff.

Writing this in Cuidad del Este McDonalds, the shot-gun totting guard outside minding our bikes or maybe he is here to dissuade folk from doing a runner at the drive through. Paraguay photos here

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