Tag Archives: partnership grant

Grand Finale of 30 Days of Trains!

22 Feb

Cue fireworks.

Can you believe we finished the 30 Days of Trains! Blogging Challenge?  Me either.

Read a recap about guest bloggers, page visits and money raised here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/day-28/

I plan to keep writing about the Train Station Community Center project on my blog to keep people updated, I just won’t be doing daily entries.

While 30 Days of Trains! is complete, my fund raising goal is not.  We still need to raise $765 more dollars in order to close out the grant, get to work on the train station, and for me to have access to the list of all the kind souls who donated.

What does this mean?  I can only assume that every single person I’ve ever met between my birth and age 24 has already made a donation to the project because of all of the requests I made. So, most likely the remaining donations will need to come from people I don’t know.

Can you help me out?  Spread the word to people who you think would be interested in the project!

And to really go out with style and a bang tell them that if they make donations today or tomorrow (February 22 or 23, 2013):

-With a donation of $30 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay you will receive a personalized Thank You video from the Conductors of Culture team that your donation is supporting

-With a donation of $130 dollars or more to the Train Station Community Center in Paraguari, Paraguay we will send you a LIMITED EDITION Conductors of Culture t-shirt to the United States.  The very t-shirt that the team will wear while inspiring Paraguayan youth and working at the train station.  We’ll even send you a picture of us in our t-shirts so that you can Photoshop yourself into the picture.

As always, don’t forget that donations are tax-deductible!

To be eligible for these promotions you MUST donate today or tomorrow.  Please also forward me your “donation received” confirmation email from Peace Corps to mollymreddy [at] gmail.com

Now, go tell your friends and everyone else you know!

Thanks for following along. Oh, and HAPPY 30 DAYS OF TRAINS!





The church bells just struck midnight

22 Feb


The other day when a friend stayed over she asked if my church bells rang every hour on the hour as their tones filled the air.

She glanced down at her watch, it was 5:45pm.

...and every 15 minutes before the hour?

“No, that can’t possibly be right,” I responded.  Turns out it is.  The church bells ring on the hour all through the night.  And usually 15 minutes before the hour, too, just for good measure.

These are the sounds (along with the roosters, the polka paraguaya, the old man campo yell) that I don’t want to forget, but that I also can’t seem to remember while I’m still here. All too familiar.

Anyways, I’ve been giving myself an extra 3 hours to post my daily blog by pretending like I’m in Wisco’s Central time, but I haven’t had to cash in on these hours at all during 30 Days of Trains!  Except for today.

This morning my sister Carybeth emailed me to remind me what I was doing one year ago today.  She uses this cool thing called TimeHop that reminds you what your social media statuses were one year ago today.  I myself have not signed up for the daily email, but I’m enjoying when my life events were big enough that they spilled over into Carybeth’s and she can remind me of them.

So she said, Remember when you made this awesome video?  Can you believe that was a year ago?

I couldn’t.  It’s funny to think about that time.  Scrambling all over to try and make a youth leadership camp happen in my site.  Here I am a year later and I’m scrambling around trying to make a youth leadership training program happen.

It appears I like leadership.  And scrambling.

But, I’ve definitely learned a lot in the last year and I’m pretty confident that Conductores Culturales is going to be more successful and sustainable than last year’s scramble.

So, I thought I’d make another video on this day so that my sister can send me another email reminding me in one more year.

During the making I did remember quite clearly that my computer was actually working one year ago much better than it is today– this video was quite the 6 hour headache to try and get video/quality/audio/internet, etc. all working how they needed to.

But, alas, plan to not have your plans go according to plan.  Especially in Paraguay.

Hope you like it! And if you don’t speak Spanish leave your guess of what I’m saying in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re right or wrong! 🙂

Oh, and don’t forget to donate!  Only $765 to go! https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009

Growing Up Trains

11 Feb

While writing my 30 Days of Trains! blog entries I feel like I’ve been learning a lot about trains– the way they run, their history, and sub-cultures related to trains like model railroading.

Lots of people talk about the way trains influenced their childhood– inspiring a future love for model railroading, the constant chug of trains passing near their house, or Paraguayans running to the train to hear about national news.

I never thought of my own childhood as being defined by trains, but the other day I realized the trains of Waukesha made frequent cameos in my young life.


The trains were always around– causing you to arrive 8 minutes late to dance class, whizzing by covered in interesting graffiti, or seemingly always malfunctioning for extended periods before your eyes.  I can’t count on two hands the amount of times I saw a train almost pass entirely by, stall, start to reverse in slow motion, and then chug forward once again.  You were better off factoring in extra travel time for the train crossing you were bound to encounter.

In Waukesha there are also old train cars that have been remodeled into a great restaurant, La Estacion.  It’s a delicious Mexican restaurant, that to my family’s great dismay is generally too spicy for my palette.  I will admit that they do have great horchata, margaritas, and ambiance!  After spending so much time with other volunteers cooking who are seriously missing spicy food (Paraguay is lacking in the spicy department) I think I’ve been training my taste buds to fully enjoy the glory that is La Estacion by the time I’m back.  I’m sure my family will be thrilled.

How did trains affect your childhood?  Want to write a guest blog?  Let me know!

And don’t forget to donate to the train station of Paraguari! https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009



Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down on the Train

8 Feb

Improv Everywhere began organizing a No Pants Train ride that became so popular it was replicated around the world.  It’s too bad there aren’t still trains that run in Paraguay because I would love to watch Paraguayans reactions to this situation.

Don’t forget that you can make a $15.00 Donation TODAY and I”ll send you a postcard from Paraguay.  Donate in the next 11.5 hours to receive a postcard!  Be sure to send me your address to ensure it arrives. (Peace Corps doesn’t give me a list of donors until I’ve fully closed my grant)

Want a free postcard from Paraguay?

7 Feb

No problem, I’ll send that right over.

But first, today is the 15th day of 30 Days of Trains!  We’re halfway through people, and that is something to celebrate!  It’s also my sister Emily’s birthday today.  So, there are double the reasons to celebrate!

In honor of this milestone if you make a donation of $15.00 or more to my Train Station Community Center today or tomorrow (February 7 & 8, 2013) I will send you a personalized postcard from Paraguay!


I know all long you’ve been wondering, What’s in it for me?

And here you have it:
-A postcard!
-A tax deduction!
-An autograph! (Let’s be honest, there’s approximately a 4.3% chance that I will become famous during this lifetime, so I’m offering you an excellent Early Bird Special rate!)

Thank you in advance for considering making a donation and for all of the people who have donated along the journey so far!  I can’t wait to have sore hands from having to write so many postcards 🙂

To ensure that your postcard arrives make your donation right away (only $15.00+ donations made on February 7th and 8th will receive a postcard)!  Please also send me a Facebook message or email that includes your address. (Peace Corps doesn’t provide me with the names of donors until after I’ve closed out my entire grant)

10 for 10!

2 Feb

It’s the 10th day of 30 Days of Trains! Can you believe it?

To celebrate the milestone I’m requesting that 10 people share this project with 10 people they know who would have an interest in learning more.  Let me know that you’re one of the 10 by leaving a comment on this post.

Late to the game?
Read the first post about the project here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/help-molly-help-paraguay/
First day of 30 Days of Trains!: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/30-days-of-trains/
More information about Conductors (a specific program the grant will support): https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/conductors-of-culture/
A great post explaining the history intertwined with the train stations: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/biking-the-distance/

10 for 10! Help me reach my goal by sending an email like this:

Hi! My friend/sibling/niece/etc. is currently a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in the South American country of Paraguay.  Her small town is remodeling the old train station into a community and cultural center, as currently there isn’t one.  Supporting the train station will provide a key learning and social space for children and young people, a meeting place and institution of historical preservation for adults, and a tourist attraction for visitors!  The majority of the grant funds will be used to train youth as cultural guides at the train station in order to help develop it’s potential as a community space.  Youth will be paired with mentors and complete six months of weekly service in the train station to provide programming and events for the community.  This program is being run with local partners to ensure future sustainability of the project.

Help Molly reach her goal and be part of her story! You can follow along on her blog here: https://mollymeg.wordpress.com/

She’ll happily answer any questions you may have.  Let me know if you’d like me to put y’all in contact.


Other ways you can help:
-DONATE! 🙂 https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009
-Post about it on Facebook
-Leave comments on the blog entries
-“Like” my Facebook posts with my blog entries so that they appear in more people’s Newsfeeds
-Send me ideas/feedback/suggestions
-Do a quarter “drive” at work
-Have a school group or some other group that loves competition, do a penny war!
-Make a donation in honor of your valentine.  Nothing says love like a restored train station in the “heart of South America” (Paraguay’s nickname)

Paraguayan Rail Map, 1952

1 Feb

Paraguay Rail 1952

Source: World Railways, 1952

What´s with all of these touchy-feely stories Molly? I want some cold, hard facts.

Ok, ok! I never have been anyone´s girl for strictly facts…I just love me a good story!  But, I understand that truths and histories have their time and place, they certainly do!

However, Paraguay is missing a lot of written history, especially in English, and especially on the internet.  Pablo (the author who was interviewed yesterday on my blog) mentioned that he´s looking to publish about his experience internationally in order to raise consciousness about the history of Paraguay.  Lots of particulars about trains, the Triple Alliance War, and just Paraguay in general are very unknown’– both inside of Paraguay and out!

Donating to projects like this train station in Paraguari will ensure that a historic space is reutilized and remains open, creating the environment and correct conditions for people to do research and preserve past histories (Surely there will be fact collectors around and visiting).

A big thank you and shout out to all of the donors so far and especially to a recent, particularly generous one.  He self-identifies as a train buff and says that he´s learned that if you don´t preserve train stations by finding a different way to use them, they´ll just get knocked down.  Closed doors means also closing the door on opportunities to rescue little bits of history floating around out there unrecorded.

Help support the preservation of these facts and these stories! https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009

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