Settling In (Paraguay Farmlife 3)

This post has bloody images.
This post shows photo’s not corresponding with the farm I worked on.
The farm I worked on, and the farm where some of the pictures come from are not unnecessarily cruel to their animals as far as I have been a witness (slaughtering went professional). 

There are different reasons why people decide to do good. Some do good out of self-importance reason, they might feel as if they fulfill the complete picture they have in mind of a righteous person. Some are doing voluntary work in order to have an experience they would otherwise not have. Some act out of faith related reasons and others simply feel pity or compassion for people who have lesser or unfair chances in life.

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The indigenous Indians around Chaco conjure up all sorts of feelings. Now that I am closer to them, although still milestones separated, I can see things clearer. Most of those are based on stories though. 70 kilometers away there is a group of people who live in the bush, the government has granted them a huge territory, which was originally always theirs to begin with. They live the imaginary life of a hunter-gather band. Except now that they fall sick when they mingle with ‘uninfected’ people not living in the bush. This group wants to get out of the bush, and live in a house given by government, but this seems to be a no go area, not possible, not an option. They have to stay where they are, perhaps for heritage reasons.

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Like most humans, the indigenous no less, and those forced living a hunter-gather life, want things they somehow got to dream off: a car, a motorbike, a house. Bigger things, and more.

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The fact that they can not manage those bigger dreamlike properties doesn’t make a difference. A house is good to have, while many times over it has been proved they set it accidentally on fire, by not using the kitchen but building a fire in the living room instead. Often they use a house as a fortified hut and like their motor vehicle, it will soon fall apart. When it does they return to the one who gave it and ask for another.

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While having the dreams people all over the world have, multi millionaires alike, they keep returning to the hands it was given by. If something falls apart, someone else richer has to fix it.

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Anthropologists and Human Rights activists stand up for the indigenous and this leads to land, once bought by Mennonites, now being seized. People who fled for the second world war to inhospitable lands, may now lose it to the people whose forefathers roamed around.

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There seems to be an ever dividing line between indigenous Indians and western-alike humans. The Indigenous do not seek contact with me, either because there is nothing to gain from me, or they are shy or I am different. When I make contact and try to interact I get the idea they feel submissive, a feeling I dislike and does not want me to make more contact.

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The Paraguayan Mennonites are willing, and in a position that allows them to be helpful towards all who accept. There are programs, gatherings, trips abroad and visits all in the name of Jesus Christ. As it is no surprise, young indigenous girls chose to join programs, perhaps because they inherently knows that their future is better with a cornerstone than without it. Many parents have lost the believe in shamans, due to self invented rules and forbidding of those same priests, which left many people unable to life a healthy nor prosperous lifestyle. For example, a shaman would have people burn their houses and household after someone died in order to free the environment from evil spirits. Thus leaving them without a hut, without utensils to cook, without bedding, basically nothing left.

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Often people do not know how to act in their new environment; bush behavior taken into town. Pretty much like loose projectiles, dressed provokingly, the girls easily fall prey to prostitution. The Mennonites offer them programs where they learn to keep their ‘princess-alike-beauty’ for themselves. I think it could be seen as belated upbringing. Mennonites who interact closely with indigenous told me they are not able to bring up their children properly in this modern society. They can not set rules, can not say ‘no’, nor apply limits nor set boundaries.

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Finally I am reunited with the Therm-A-Rest mattress which was on its way from Ireland to Argentina to Paraguay (review here).

People need boundaries. So do I, although I feel there aren’t. A feeling I like is the regularity I have, there are no rules and no structure imposed by others. This works wonders for me. I can start working when I like and stop when I want, as long as I work 5 hours a day. It reliefs me from finding camp spots in the suffocating heat, from breaking up camp when the morning coolness is long gone, from traversing the damp heat of the glowing hot Chaco, from trespassing fences on a daily basis, from cooking boring pasta once again. I love my cycling-lifestyle but it gobbles down so much time that I can’t even start to think about what I want instead. That I want something different is clear. But what, that is covered in a thick cloud of busyness.

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There are plenty things I do not like, that makes me sad, but always wanting to know what happened behind those fences, on the actual wharf of a Paraguayan farm, means being a witness. To be an observer is seeing the source, and this is such an honest display that I have two choices: accept or not accept. I eat cow meat which was alive the previous day. I steal the chicken’s eggs, and say ‘thank you’ when I leave their cage. I feed bottled milk to the lambs, to be eaten later on in life. I pass Emma, imprisoned on a heavy-duty chain, feeling sorry for each day I did not take her out for an unshackled walk at the lake. The horses who are saddled, not having asked to be ridden around. The calf’s are robbed from their mother’s milk, the mom’s udders fingered each day.

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In contrast, the bulls have as free as possible a choice as when and whom to inseminate one of the 400 relative free roaming cows.

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It’s the bulls turn to get sprayed with anti mosquito stuff.

Me on the other hand does not roam around so freely anymore. Yet, after three weeks I have well found my place into the group process: a relaxed come together when we happen to be in the kitchen, even before or after late night dinner. I work my 5 hours in a row of ongoing labor so that the afternoons are free and can be spent in and around my own private distant little house.

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Custom-made pouch for a GPS, send out to France. How proud I felt!

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One fine day, needing to ship my very own creativity to a buyer, the heat reaching once more 40 degrees (in the shade), I cycle to Filadelfia, only 20 kilometers further. I return utterly tired, painful irritations between my thigh’s, lasting a week, and about all joints, limbs and movable body-parts in discomfort. I am way more tired than after a 5 hour work shift.

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7 years old Allan is called Professor of Forestry, he often has news about the surroundings we live in. News which is very doubtful. Like a grayish black bird called a snow bird, but only in his mind. Wild fruits which are poisonous for Emma, according Alan, when in reality are only so when they still hang on the tree. Then, his newest tale is that the newborn calf is eaten alive by a puma because a vulture circles over the spot where some bloody remains are left behind, in reality it means the start of a difficult, late laboring.

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The newborn calf has yet to erupt out of its mom. And since this is taken already too many days, a vet has arrived on the scene, his car stuck in the mud when I walk by. Avelino pulls the car out of the critical position with his tractor and soon the same happens with the calf inside the womb.

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It’s a bloody mess, the womb hanging out of the cow’s vagina, whose massive body is laying down to the grassy earth. Her eyes are rolled back in, only the white flares up. It reminds me of fakir’s in India, or were it whirling ones in Sudan? The calf is pulled out by heavy equipment, an audience around her, some anxious, others in wonderment. What hurts and shock me the most is the fact that all this effort is solely for human consumption. The pain of the cow seems to reflect to my nervous system, as I am shaking and troubled.

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Maybe so because it is my first live birth ever!

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More of what I made and sell can be seen here. Do you like what I do, you might want to buy from me : ) I don’t set prices, you may donate and I’ll send it out.

December 2017

One response to “Settling In (Paraguay Farmlife 3)

  1. Pingback: What is Now? | Cycling Cindy·

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