Paraguay is a country located in the heart of South America. It is surrounded by Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.
In Paraguay, there are two official languages: Spanish and Guarani. Before the Spaniards got to the Americas, various groups of natives were living in the area. The largest of the groups were the Guarani Indians. Once the Spanish got to Paraguay, they married with the Guarani women. Even today, most of the people in Paraguay speak both Guarani and Spanish.
Guarani is a beautiful language that is closely linked to nature. Words like jaguar, piranha, cougar, macaw, toucan, petunia and tapioca all originated from Guarani.
In Paraguay, it is very hot and humid. The people drink a special drink called terere. The leaves of the yerba mate plant are dried, crushed, and placed into a special cup called a guampa. Traditional guampas are made from cow’s horns. Then, a special straw with a filter at the end is placed in the cup, and cold water is poured to cover the dried leaves. It forms a cold sort of tea. Someone drinks the water, then fills it up again and passes it on to the next person. They drink, and then hand it back to be filled up and passed to another. In Paraguay, this is a tradition that they use not only to beat the heat, but to share among friends and family.
Many of the streets in Paraguay are dirt roads. The dirt there is bright red or orange, and the plants are very green. There are coconut and mango trees. In the middle of the country, there are many large hills that appear to be blue from a distance.
There are many traditional handcrafts particular to Paraguay. One is called ñandutí. Ñandutí means spider web in Guarani. It is a type of stiff, colorful lace that is used to make tablecloths and decorate traditional dresses.