Asunción, Paraguay

Yesterday we visited Mennonite Hospital Km 81. This hospital ‎was founded as a thank you project to the citizens of Paraguay in 1951 by the Mennonite settlers. It was built as a thank you for welcoming them when other countries closed their doors. Sponsored by a union of the 32 German-speaking Mennonite churches in Paraguay, the treatment and care of leprosy, tuberculosis and patients with HIV / AIDS is partially free.

KM81 Hospital plaque
A plaque celebrating the 50th anniversary of the hospital.
Ross, Dr Carlos Wiens and Wilmer talking at the hospital.
Ross, Dr Carlos Wiens and Wilmer talking at the hospital.
meeting with Diaconia ADT micro-finance program
Judh, Albert and Mary’s son in law, operates Diaconia ADT, a micro-finance program. We were able to visit one of the groups meeting in Asunción, with 15 women and 1 man as members. We were impressed with the program’s training, organization and focus.
Dinner ‎with Albert and Mary, and their daughter Mary and her family.
Dinner ‎with Albert and Mary, and their daughter Mary and her family.

This morning Albert and Mary took us on a tour of Asunción‎ before we went to the airport for our flight back to Canada. Ross and I are eager to return home to our families. However, we both agree that our time went very quickly and we saw so much. It was wonderful to experience the hospitality and love of the Hildebrand family.

Presidential palace
Presidential palace
by the river in Asunción‎
By the river in Asunción‎

Visiting Chaco, Paraguay

The Sun is coming up here in the Chaco. We are having breakfast with our pilot and the head rancher, who oversees the 50,000 hector ranch of 6,000 head of cattle with a staff of roughly 20 cowboys. Very interesting! Later today we fly to Menno Colony and then back to Albert’s home. Enjoy the photos.

Plane parked in hangar at ranch in Chaco
We took a plane to visit Albert’s ranch in the Chaco. The plane ride was 2 hour 15 minutes. By car it would have take 12 to 15 hours.
Albert's Cattle at Montenegro, Chaco
Albert’s Cattle at Montenegro, Chaco
One of the cowboys working at Montenegro Ranch
One of the cowboys working at Montenegro Ranch
Albert with the ranch's logo
Albert with the ranch’s logo
Dinner with the cowboys at Montenegro Ranch. It was delicious!
Dinner with the cowboys at Montenegro Ranch. It was delicious!
Santa Gertrudis Cattle, Albert's favourites
Santa Gertrudis Cattle, Albert’s favourites
Wilmer and Albert with the famous Bottle Tree
Wilmer and Albert with the famous Bottle Tree (palo borracho), whose bottle-shaped trunk conserves water
Wilmer sitting in the back seat of Albert's Beechcraft plane, a 6-seater.
Wilmer sitting in the back seat of Albert’s Beechcraft plane, a 6-seater. Ross was co-pilot.
Wilmer and Ross with Wilmer's long-time friends, Rosie and Gerhard Penner, at Menno Colony.
Wilmer and Ross with Wilmer’s long-time friends, Rosie and Gerhard Penner, at Menno Colony.
Mennonites built this the beautiful New Jerusalem Hospital in Loma Plato.
Gerhard took us to visit the beautiful New Jerusalem Hospital, built by Mennonites in Loma Plato.
Ross in conversation with a nurse and Gerhard at New Jerusalem Indian Hospital. Menno Colony
Ross in conversation with a nurse and Gerhard at New Jerusalem Indian Hospital. Menno Colony
Wild pigs (Carpincho) at Menno Colony
Wild pigs (Carpincho) at Menno Colony

Photo blog from Paraguay

We were scheduled to fly to the Chaco today. However, the Pilot told Albert that it was raining in the Chaco. So we spent the day exploring Albert’s different farming operations and participating in the soybean harvest. We hope the weather will allow us to fly tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some photos from the past few days.

Pharmacy on Grounds of Hospital at Campao 9
Pharmacy on Grounds of Hospital at Campao 9
Sunday afternoon with the Hildebrand family at their pool.
Sunday afternoon with the Hildebrand family at their pool.
Ross with baby Milan, Mary and Doris
Ross with baby Milan, Mary and Doris
Wilmer rode with Billy and Ross rode with Albert while combining soybeans.
You can’t keep the farm boy away from the machines! Wilmer rode with Billy and Ross rode with Albert while combining soybeans.
Riding Albert's new ferry
Riding Albert’s ferry across the lake to Three Son’s Farm
Enjoying a ride with Albert's Grandson Alex, Johnny's son
Enjoying a ride with Albert’s Grandson Alex, Johnny’s son
visiting Albert's Eucalyptus farm
Visiting Albert’s 300 Hectare eucalyptus farm. The trees in the front are 3 months old, those behind are a year old.

Sommerfeld, Paraguay

It is a privilege to be in Paraguay visiting Friends Albert and Mary Hildebrand. Janet and I have been friends, visiting in each other’s homes and traveling together for more than 17 years. Janet and I had hoped to visit Albert and Mary this year. When my friend Dr Ross Kennel learned I still desired to come to Paraguay after Janet’s death he said I never visited Paraguay. I will travel with you. He lost Jan his wife earlier this year. We are having a wonderful time. It is great introducing Ross to my friends, the history, industry and life of this area of South America.

Albert Hildebrand welcomed us on our arrival in Asuncion. On the beautiful drive to Sommerfeld Ross continued to talk about the lush countryside. We stopped and bought a traditional snack, Chipa. It was still warm and brought back memories of previous trips.

Wilmer, Ross and Albert at Igazua Falls
Wilmer, Ross and Albert at Igazua Falls

Mary welcomed us to their home with a delicious meal. We also enjoyed exercising in the pool and meeting some of their Grandchildren who also enjoyed the pool and playing with each other.

Thursday was our day to visit Iguazu Falls in Brazil. Wilmer told Ross and Albert that the falls is running stronger than on many previous trips. Many of the smaller falls were also running full. During the 1.8 Killometer walk along the falls we got spectacular pictures.

Soybean harvest
Soybean harvest

We visited Itaipu Hydroelectric Power plant, the largest in the world, is a bi-national joint venture between Brazil and Paraguay. Ross teased Wilmer for getting so excited when we visited the Hildebrand farm and watched the Harvesting of Soybeans. I guess you can take a boy away from the farm but you are unable to take the farm from him.

Today was a special day for Ross. We visited the Modern Mennonite Hospital, Luz Y at Campo 9. Albert and Mary were instrumental in it beginning. Dr Orlando Epp took us on a tour of the Hospital. We learned that Dr. Carlos Wiens was working at the Hospital. At the end of the tour we learned that he wanted to meet us. Dr Wiens is a deeply respected Dr in Paraguay having spent most of his Career at KM 81 Leprosy Hospital. He developed a way of assisting Leprosy Patients with plastic surgery.

Dr Ross with Dr Wiens and Dr Epp at Hospital Campao 9
Dr Ross with Dr Wiens & Dr Epp at Hospital Campao 9

Ross asked Dr Wiens if he misses serving the Government (he served 5 years as Director of Health Service). He said “no, I feel I can make a greater contribution serving as doctor at KM 81 and here at this hospital. This is my calling.”

We are feeling enriched having the opportunity to visit the Hospital, Schools and industry. The conversations are enriching.
We look forward to worshipping with Albert and Mary at their church tomorrow.

~ Wilmer Martin