El Chaco

We decided to go on a trip. While choosing a region to go to, we discovered that our parents had only once been in the occidental region or the so-called 'Chaco Paraguayo'. At first, this seemed somewhat strange since it makes up more than half of the country. Then I remembered that I read something about it in some of the information I looked up before hopping on the plane. A dry, hot region with very few rain mostly inhabited by foreigners. And so began our adventure in 'El Chaco'.

The beginning of the trip was normal. We left the house with some clothes, food and a lot of water. We already knew the roads to our destination (a city called Filadelfia) were in quite a bad condition. It began with a good, asphalted road but as we went deeper and deeper into El Chaco, the road started to become more and more damaged, with lots and lots of holes in the road.

After 6 hours of driving we arrived in Filadelfia. We entered the supermarket and at first I was quite surprised because it had been a while since I saw that the majority of the people were European-looking. The people didn't even look anymore when Emma passed with her extreme-blondness! From there on, we went 19 km further north to our first hotel 'Estancia Iparoma'. When we arrived there we were welcomed by the Russian couple that was running the 'estancia'. It was a farmhouse with around 600 hectares of grounds surrounding it. We ate some delicious dinner and then Andreas said he would show us around. The rooms were not special nor bad. Emma and I would sleep in a small house that was close to the 'tajamar' which is a reservoir that collected the rainwater.

The next day we got woken up at 6:30am by Sandra to go watch the magnificent sunset. After that Emma and I went for a swim in the reservoir, discovered a dead 'jarara' (the most venonomous snake in the whole Chaco), used the waterslide and saw a flying fish. After that we went to visit Filadelfia. We went to a few musea about the tribe of the Guaranies, the local flora and fauna and about the colonies of menonites. The menonites are people who moved from Eastern- and Central-Europe to the Chaco. They were given the grounds for free because nobody wanted to live there because of the climate. They started to cultivate the fields and by doing that they made the Chaco a wealthier region. But from what I've heard those actions also have a huge, dark shadow behind them. There was a lot of incest in the Menonite community which resulted in children having psychical disabilities. The native people were also abused during those times (this has improved a lot but still is a problem). Even the people from their own homeland can't go to the same school, to the same church as they do. That is because they have to pay a huge amount of money to even enter in the community. All the grounds in Filadelfia are also not the property of the man/woman who build their house on it. They can cultivate/build on the ground but that very same ground is still property of the corporation, a select group of people in the menonite community. Because of that, they can't even sell that ground.

The day after we returned to our house, stopping a few times on the road to look at some things. We saw a group of 20 ostriches, an armadillo and a lot of other things. Definitely a great and underestimated region to visit if you like nature!


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