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Old 06-04-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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Ask the Field Researcher in Asuncion, Paraguay

So, hola! Coming to you live from Paraguay. I am (finally! ) completing my field research in the "villa miseria" (ie, shanty towns), studying how land privatization has impacted the indigenous peoples here for my PhD. What bascially occurs is that you have to have legal written title to own the land here, which is a lingistically and culturally foreign concept to the indigenous peoples, to whom the land is a Mother, not something you own. Hence they get kicked off, "resettled" by the government to the inhospitable and the large export-oriented cotton and soy farmers end up with the best lands. Meanwhile, the indigenous peoples lose their cultural lands, and their access to food and water!

I only have intermittent access to email, but wanted to share. Fire away if you have any questions. I'll do me best.

Love and peace or else,
SD
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:06 AM   #2
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no questions at the moment sherryD, but congrats on finally getting down there! Your explaination is def clear.

"villa miseria" how apt

I wish you good, helpful encounters.

and as our 2nd B-man {Bruce being first by chronological order} would say...."stay safe tonight" {and in the daytime , too, SD }

be well, go well & send us updates as you can!
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:53 AM   #3
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Good to hear from you, SD! Hope you can keep us updated!
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:16 AM   #4
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Thanks Angie and Dazzled! I will send along reports from the field (watch out Anderson Cooper! ).

Peace,
SD
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:25 AM   #5
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hope all is going well!

will think of a question soon.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:48 PM   #6
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Sherry,

Very fascinating study. I hope things are going well and you trip is safe and productive.

How do the indigenous peoples react to the concept of owning land? As a treasured Western benchmark of "making it", I wonder what the reaction is to owning a "piece of the mother".
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:10 AM   #7
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Cheryl

Great to see you´re doing your thing!

What´s the name of the main groups of indigenous people in Paraguay, how do they call themselves? Are they organized in tribes? Will you also see the countryside on your research trip or are you doing most of your field work in the shanty towns?

Do you feel safe? What is the mood in Paraguay like, at teh moment - the political mood, the social mood?

Is it hot? Dry season right now?


Have a wonderful time.

Spread the love.

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:42 AM   #8
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Doug, hi! You've hit the nail on the head, based on what I've learned so far in my interviews. You don't own your Mother, you honor and care for her. I was especially struck by this one interview I did with a priest/anthropologist here who has worked with indig. folks for basically longer that I've been alive. I asked him if he thought groups were marching and demonstrating more for land, or to protect their cultural identity. He said they don't even seperate those concepts!

Hiphop, hi! There are 17 different indigenous groups in Paraguay, mostly of the Guarani family. No, I won't make it into the rural areas this trip. I don't have another 6 weeks, so I really need to focus. Too bad, the countryside is lovely!

No, now its the middle of winter (which in Paraguay means it's about 80 ).

Currently the predominant mood in Paraguay is that the REALLY want to win their 2nd game in "el Mundial" (the World Cup) tomorrow. OMG do these people love them some "futbol". Seriously I"ve been told not to even try to schedule a meeting tomorrow afternoon.

xoxo,
Cheryl
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:39 PM   #9
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Interesting to see the similar global response due to the World Cup - when a country's team is playing, a huge fan base ceases the regular routine to watch.
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Old 06-14-2006, 04:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling



Currently the predominant mood in Paraguay is that the REALLY want to win their 2nd game in "el Mundial" (the World Cup) tomorrow. OMG do these people love them some "futbol". Seriously I"ve been told not to even try to schedule a meeting tomorrow afternoon.
so last Saturday the country stopped doing anything for their first game?

and Sunday was a day of mourning?



i heard Costa Rica declared a national holiday last Friday for their first game...
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Old 07-01-2006, 02:49 PM   #11
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What a week! I have finally, officially talked too (and arranged
to continue talking to) a couple of local indigenous leaders and
communities. One was just luck. I went back to INDI (the
government's Indigenous Ministry) for a follow up interview and my
translator and I started talking to a man (you could tell by looking
at him he was clearly indigenous) waiting with us in the office. He
was in from "el interior" to talk to the President of INDI about a
crisis his community was suffering from a land invasion by some local
farmers who said they owned the land, even though the legal title
belongs to the indigenous group. He talked to us for almost an hour!
His story was amazing. A few years ago, his family was attacked
and he was shot at in the process of others trying to force them off
their land. (He showed us some knife scars on his arms, too.) It was
at that point, he said, that he realized he had no option but to
fight. Heavy stuff!

I was also treated to a horse-and-cart ride (so bumpy it almost
knocked my teeth out, but a lot of fun!) to a little indigenous
community just outside of Asuncion, called Lambare. It's understood
when you say "Lambare" that these are the indigenous communities near
the massive trash heap the "Municipalidad de Asucion" runs. It also,
of course, contains recycling, and what the indigenous peoples will do
is pick through the trash looking for recyclables to turn in for some
money. Very very sad--but the "never say die" spirit that I
encountered is amazing too. The two community leaders that Krista
(the local Peace Corps Volunteer who arranged the visit for us) and I
talked to have build a school and a community garden. They need tools
for it, though, and of course, books. And teachers, for that matter.
Impressively, the two men run a program about the Guanani people and
their culture, values, needs. He stated explicitly that its purpose
is to educate Paraguyans, especially the Munic. de Asuncion, about
them. I plan to go talk with him again next Thursday.

So--things are going well. I plan to keep on talking to as many
people as I can, and try to volunteer some at Santa Ana Communitario
(the school where the LearnServe Paraguay Program is based that I
described in my last email) if time allows. It's going by so fast!!

Questions? Post 'em if ya got 'em. If not, hope you enjoyed the field report.
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