We arrived safe and sound at Mennonitenheim, a lush Mennonite guest house in the heart of Asuncion, late on Wednesday night. Although the boxes were slightly ripped, the enclosed bicycles remained intact. We’ve been enjoying the intensive academic experience of lectures on Anabaptist Mennonite history as part of the May term course with 13 other students from Goshen College. We’ve heard Gerhart Ratzlaff lecture on Mennonite Central Committee’s role in helping establish Mennonite immigrant colonies in the Chaco. Victor Wall, a local Mennonite Brethren pastor, shared about the recent Mennonite experience in Paraguayan politics since 1989. As Alfred Neufeld told us, everyone is represented in the Anabaptist-Mennonite “zoo” here in Paraguay, and we’ve had the chance to learn about the German-speaking immigrant colonies, Latino congregations, and even share a meal with the Bruderhof.
Lunch breaks have provided us a chance to navigate the city and try new foods such as manioc, empanadas, and sopa paraguaya. We look forward to visiting indigenous and Mennonite communities in the Chaco and staying with host families in Menno colony. We’ll also visit Sommerfeld colony, Yalve Sanga, and Evangelishe Mennonitengemeinde.
Levi has enjoyed using his German with individuals here at Mennonitenheim, and we’ve all enjoyed learning more Spanish.
In about two weeks we’ll reunite with Matthew Helmuth over some tereré!