OANSA: Family Day 2.0

May 17, 2012

Setting up at Primero de Marzo.

Aside from a severely poor education system, domestic instability and broken family units are my other bets as to why Paraguay persists in its developmental stagnancy. Honestly, when the country’s general philosophy seemingly lies in what I have termed the “hump and dump,” it never bodes well for progress. I know it’s probably not kosher to make these types of wide-sweeping claims for a country the size of California. But considering the fact that this is reality for nearly every single one of the kids and teenagers I work with, we will start here for context.

It seems that Paraguayan men have full liberty to sleep around as they please and it is socially acceptable continuing doing so regardless of where their seeds fall and if those seeds end up blooming. Sometimes if they father a child (or two or three or four or more) with a woman, they may choose to cohabit with her. They will refer to each other as husband and wife though more often than not, they are not legally married. This appears to be the common civil state of the majority of Paraguayans.

During the course of the “marriage,” wandering eyes and roving male parts often lead the man away to sow his oats elsewhere—usually a place where he will choose to take up new residence, carelessly abandoning a stockpile of children at home. This process may repeat several times. Eventually, when the man approaches old age, he returns to his “wife” and demands that she take care of him until the end (you know, because she has so many resources herself…). She consents.

This hump and dump phenomenon then replicates in tenfold as the hoard of children who grew up with these family dynamics proceed to emulate what they have seen and know. It’s only normal for them. Sons grow up to be like their fathers and daughters like their mothers. It is a sad cycle that fosters abuse, emotional deficiency, poverty (mothers with no jobs who have to care for nine children while a non-present father pops in occasionally for the sole purpose of taking the family’s money and food?), and all other the terrible repercussions of broken family dynamics.

All this said, Mi Esperanza attempted to pull off an event aimed specifically at getting parents to spend some positive time with their children. I had my doubts, but miracle of miracles, we had not only parents of non-OANSA children show up, but fathers, and ones who participated in the games with their kids at that.

Now try to grasp the magnitude of seeing fathers running relays hand-in-hand with their sons and daughters and exchanging excited hugs over victorious outcomes.

May this be just the start of a much-needed conversation for the sake of families and the future in Paraguay.

Mothers and daughters jumping rope together.

OANSA Primero de Marzo in a picture.

Hula hooping pro.

Futbol ahoy.

Pleased about the turnout.

Estella and Katherina.

Teresa and Tara. Love this so much.

Johana and Valentina.

Where Caleb gets it from.

Non-OANSA family!

Adopted father and son combo.

Cesar and his mom!

So so awesome.

Equipo amarillo.

Equipo rojo.

The yogurt game. Bahaha.

Good sports. Muahaha.

A race to inflate until the balloon explodes.

Tara is a champ at this game.

Simply for your viewing pleasure.


2 Responses to “OANSA: Family Day 2.0”

  1. Vivienne Says:

    I think these kinds of gender expectations are common in lesser-developed countries. Here in Africa it’s compiled with the risk of HIV/AIDS, which makes the problem fatal. Behavior change is such a difficult thing, But you’ve got a great start! Keep up the good work!

  2. […] is the preliminary redux of the aftermath of our OANSA Family Day held earlier this […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: