A wonderful side benefit to what Mike does is the extraordinary people he meets, and since I’m with him this time, I get to meet them too! We had dinner with Anni – the professional interpreter (among other things) and her husband, an orthopaedic surgeon who have lived in South Africa and the U.S. They are both Maxwell certified coaches and have run Marriage and Finance Seminars here in Paraguay, their native country. A wonderful couple who are compassionate and generous.
One evening we went to the home of Patricia (President of the Columbia University where many of the meetings are held) and her husband Gustavo. I told her story in my ‘Stories’ blog a few blogs back. We followed her to the house that was behind a high solid brick wall on the corner of a street. Gates opened and we both went in to park our cars. Beautiful gardens, a pool, plenty of room to park several cars to the one side, an oasis of peace from the clatter of the outside world. It felt like we were in the country not in the heart of the city. The home is the 90 year old traditional style house of her grandparents that they refurbished and added onto with a modern kitchen, foyer and bedrooms on a second floor. But it’s the old house that was amazing! Twelve foot solid wooden doors and shuttered wooden windows, beautiful tile floor weathered perfectly with age, and the walls decorated with gorgeous original design borders.
When they restored this old house they took off 5 layers of paint and discovered the original designs. It took 3 months of hand painting to refurbish these beautiful original patterns. Amazing!
We ate outside on the lovely sprawling porch with a large table and plants all around.
The meat was cooked on a built-in BBQ that had a lever on the side to raise the grill up or down. The huge columns and wide steps so full of tradition and history took us back in time. It was all so beautiful. We talked about politics and history, vacations and their beloved Paraguay, and had fun joking with their 3 girls, such a pleasant evening of conversation and friendship.
Thank you for allowing us to step into your private lives and see a slice of Paraguayan culture.
I celebrated my birthday here and received a gift from Adan’s 79 year old mother.
Adan, who works with the Transformation team and accompanies Mike on all of his appointments, is a wealth of knowledge about everything Paraguayan. He was showing us around Asunción one Saturday and agreed to take us to his house so I could thank his mom.
Were we in for a surprise! This spry lady was an inspiration and entertainer all in one. She has written several books of poems in both Spanish and Guarani and recited with enthusiasm one of each. Even though we couldn’t understand Guarani, she had so much passion that it almost brought tears to our eyes. She showed us her many pictures of winning the Paraguayan traditional dance competitions year after year where she twirled bottles on her head while going down into the splits and back up again without loosing those bottles!
One year she went on to compete in the Latin American traditional dance competition, which she won and then went to Europe to compete in the international competition and won there as well. She even won the 3rd age category which is over 60 just 11 years ago! She sews and still runs her own business and was a total delight. Her secret? Stay active, don’t sit around, and be positive. She has lived in the same house in downtown Asunsción for over 40 years.
Another inspirational story is Joseph the barber. He owns several hair style shops around town, one being 4 stories high and half a block wide. He has 700 employees and will introduce values with the round tables to them all. He was one of 12 children in his family and grew up in the country with dirt floors. He moved to the city and got a job cleaning a bakery. Everyone told him he would never make it in the city, he wasn’t good enough, had no education and had no money, but he had heart. He worked hard, had a positive attitude and a dream. He started cutting hair in a barber shop and then moved out on his own. He did well and hired an assistant. The rest is history. He says if someone isn’t talking he can cut their hair in 15 minutes, but if they are successful businessmen, he engages them in conversation and takes an hour to do their hair. This is where he’s gotten his education! The President and his wife as well as many high profile people in the city go to him to get their hair cut. We are going to book an appointment in the New Year and see what he can do with our mops! A wonderful rags to riches story.
Everyone is unique and has value!