Tag Archives: partnership project


11 Feb

30 Days of Trains! continues and I have to say I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude at people’s out pouring of generosity.

Unfortunately, I won’t see the final donor list until I’ve completely closed out the grant (just like I won’t get any of the grant money until I raise all of the money).  So, I can’t give appropriate thanks where thanks is due for a few more weeks.  In the mean time, for everyone who has donated or supported this project in some way, THANK YOU!

In addition to all of the support from readers, my great friend Brittany put me in contact with Gabrielle, someone she met through her blog.

Gabrielle McNichol is a current high school senior with future aspirations to become a Peace Corps volunteer.  Seems to me like she has the perfect self-motivated and optimistic spirit to make a great future PCV!  Gabrielle is currently collecting books and art supplies items to donate to the train station.  I hope to cross paths with her in the future, but until then I’ll let her tell you about herself and her project:

I came up with the idea of wanting to help out PCV’s because I want to join the Peace Corps myself and I thought, ‘Why does anyone I tell this to not know what the Peace Corps is?’ It came to my attention that a lot of people are ignorant towards the Peace Corps– I think that should change. In my opinion PCV’s are heroes and soldiers abroad. Just like the ones you see in the Army except they don’t fight. They use Peace.

So, I was sitting back one day thinking of how I could help get the Peace Corps more known and how to help the volunteers serving. There’s always collections for the Army, whether it be food items, personal items, or even money, they get a lot of support. Now, I’m not saying PCV’s don’t get support by any means, but I’m saying a gross majority of people don’t know about the Peace Corps and I think it’s time for PCV’s to be recognized and gain just as much support as say the Army. Everyone needs help!

So, I started looking at PCV blogs and sent out emails to see if they would like help or for me to send them things off their wish lists. To show that there are Americans out there who care and appreciate what they’re doing and would like to show support for them in some way.

I talked to my advisor of the Students In Action club in my school and asked if we can hold a drive during lunches for people to bring in items for a PCV, spending a week prior to publicize our project. Another girl and I are taking action and spreading the word of the Peace Corps! (Which is my goal) To remind PCVs WE DO CARE AND APPRECIATE THEIR SERVICE!

I would like to keep doing this for PCV’s as I call my project “Operation: PCV Angels”. Aside from just gaining donations of miscellaneous things in school, for my birthday, I asked everyone to bring something from Molly’s wish list as “my gift”. (What a great turn out!) As well as putting it in my towns newspaper and having them drop it off at a location where I can pick them up at and having a collection at my church! I can’t tell you how many people went from thinking the Peace Corps was just something that wasn’t serious or even the people who had never heard of the Peace Corps… I (we) have changed their train of thought and expanded their minds! People in my community are more accepting to support PCV’s now that they know who they are and what they do. I even presented a presentation in my English class about it!

Thank you, Gabrielle (and everyone else working on and donating to the project) for your service!  Thank you for supporting Peace Corps volunteers and the train station of Paraguari!



A Short History of Paraguayan Trains

25 Jan

At the orders of then-president Carlos Antonio Lopez, between 1854 and 1856 Paraguay began to do studies and make plans to lay steam engine rail through out Paraguay.  It took five more years before the first train made its inaugural journey from the station to the port of Asuncion.  A disputed title, the train in Paraguay was among the first to function in South America.  However, according to most Paraguayans they can confidently say they were the first!

The government hired a team of English engineers to head the rail project in Paraguay, with the specific Asuncion-Paraguari leg led by Englishmen George Paddison.  The rails arrived to Paraguari on October 6th of 1864.  Sadly, further extension of the railway was then interrupted by the deadly Triple Alliance War against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay between 1865 and 1870.  During this war 90% of Paraguay’s male population was killed and existing train stations had to be used as makeshift hospitals.  The Triple Alliance War left deep scars that can still be felt culturally today in Paraguay.

According to an article by FEPASA, the current entity managing restoration efforts of the Paraguayan train, they returned to making daily trips between Asuncion and Paraguari after the war.  This trajectory took between 4 and 10 hours, depending on how many stops had to be made for track maintenance along the way.  Today, my bus ride between Asuncion and Paraguari can take anywhere between 1h15min and 4 hours, depending on how many stops have to be made for engine maintenance, traffic jams, or tasks such as moving the inventory of an entire store in the cargo hold of the bus.  Would I be better off taking the train?  It certainly would be more scenic!

To get a better idea of what it looks like, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyFZ_wK_QUQ

So much of Paraguayan culture is the nostalgia for a different time, different place, different government, different transport system.  Help us transform nostalgia for the past into preserved cultural history, as well as create a cultural center with programming and opportunities that give people reasons to look forward to the future:  https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=13-526-009

Did I mention that this dream is tax-deductible?  

All aboard!



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