Citation
Water education in Paraguay

Material Information

Title:
Water education in Paraguay
Creator:
Horvath, Amanda Justine
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 68 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Science)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Environmental Sciences
Committee Chair:
Wee, Bryan
Committee Members:
Wyckoff, John
Barbour, Jon

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Environmental education -- Paraguay ( lcsh )
Water-supply -- Paraguay ( lcsh )
Water resources development -- Study and teaching -- Paraguay ( lcsh )
Education -- Paraguay ( lcsh )
Education ( fast )
Environmental education ( fast )
Water resources development -- Study and teaching ( fast )
Water-supply ( fast )
Paraguay ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 66-68).
General Note:
Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Amanda Justine Horvath.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
656249845 ( OCLC )
ocn656249845
Classification:
LD1193.L547 2010m H67 ( lcc )

Full Text
WATER EDUCATION IN PARAGUAY
By
Amanda Justine Horvath
B.S. Ohio Northern University, 2006
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science
Environmental Sciences
May 2010


This thesis for the Master of Science
degree by
Amanda Justine Horvath
has been approved
by
CKOt
Date


Horvath, Amanda Justine (Master of Science, Environmental Sciences)
Water Education in Paraguay
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Bryan Shao-Chang Wee
ABSTRACT
The importance of water as a resource is a foundational concept in environmental
science that is taught and understood in different ways. Some countries place a
greater emphasis on water education than others. This thesis explores the
educational system in Paraguay, with a particular focus on environmental education
and water. Coupling my work as a Peace Corps/Paraguay Environmental Education
Volunteer and my participation with Project WET, a nonprofit organization that
specializes in the development of water education activities, I compiled country
specific information on the water resources of Paraguay and used this information to
adapt 11 Project WET Mexico activities to the Paraguayan classroom. There were
many cultural and social factors that were considered in the adaption process, such
as language and allotted time for lessons. These activities were then presented in a
series of teacher workshops in three different locations to further promote water
education in Paraguay.
This abstract accurately represents
Signed
the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Shao-Chang Wee


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my parents in gratitude for their support with all my crazy
adventures and ideas and also to the people of Paraguay, who opened their homes
and hearts to me for over two and a half years.
Dedico esta tesis a mis padres en gratitud de su apoyo con mis aventuras y tambien
para la gente de Paraguay, quien me abrio a ml sus casas y corazones por dos anos y
medio.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I wish to express my deepest thanks to my first APCD, Holly Radice, in Peace
Corps/Paraguay for giving me the opportunity to extend and work on this project to
not only better Paraguayans but also the future of environmental education. A thank
you, also, to PTO Jason Cochran who has supported me from the very beginning of
my service. My Country Director, Don Clark for allowing this relationship with
Project WET to occur with Peace Corps. Lastly, to Eli Cabrera my current APCD,
who jumped in on this project at the tail end, but brought with all her all the
enthusiasm and encouragement needed to see it to the end.
To the people of Project WET, John Etgen and Julia Nelson for their enthusiasm in
this project and the desire to launch Project WET in Paraguay.
To my advisor, Bryan Wee, for his enthusiasm and commitment on this project.
I would also like to thank all those Peace Corps/Paraguay Volunteers who always
offered their advice and translation skills. Specifically, I would like to mention
PCV Jessica Blatt, my follow-up in Ayolas. Without her enthusiasm,
encouragement, help with the teacher talleres and most importantly, her computer
this project would have been much more difficult to execute. The PC Vs Brian Byrd
in Pilar and Andrew Smith in Valle Apu'a for their legwork at the supervisions and
willingness to allow the workshops in their sites and of course for their feedback on
them.
Ultimamente, para Sergio Galeano. Sin su consejo, ayuda y apoyo, hubiera sido
imposible hacer este. Gracias no es suficiente.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures.......................................vii
Tables.......................................viii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..............................1
2. PHYSICAL, BIOLOGICAL, CULTURAL AND POLITICAL
HISTORY OF PARAGUAY.......................5
3. PEACE CORPS, PROJECT WET AND THE PARAGUAYAN
SCHOOL SYSTEM.............................13
4. EXAMPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN
PARAGUAY.................................21
5. THE PROCESSES OF CULTURAL CONTEXTUALIZATION
IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION...............34
6. IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS..............37
APPENDIX
A. COUNTRIES WHERE PROJECT WET OPERATES......40
B. ORGANIZATION OF THE PARAGUAYAN SCHOOL
SYSTEM....................................41
C. TEACHER SURVEY............................42
D. LIST OF PROJECT WET ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHER
WORKSHOPS.................................43
E. WATER IN PARAGUAY ANNEX USED IN PROJECT
WET.......................................44
F. TEACHER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (TRANSLATED FROM
SPANISH)..................................62
G. WEEKLY ALLOTMENT OF TIME FOR SEGUNGO CICLO
CLASSES...................................65
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................66
vi


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1. Paraguay In Reference To Other South American Countries........6
2. The Country of Paraguay by Departmental Divisions.............7
3. Rio Paraguay In Pilar.........................................24
4. Rio Parana In Ayolas..........................................25
5. Valle Apu'a With Peace Corps Volunteers Andrew Smith and Amanda
Horvath...........................................................26
6. Teachers From Ayolas Working On Their Drawings................29
vii


LIST OF TABLES
Table
1. Comparison of school grade levels
2. Summary of evaluation forms..


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Water is a renewable resource. Our lives depend on this substance
composed solely of hydrogen and oxygen, which covers nearly 70% of Planet Earth.
However, of that huge percentage, 97% of the water is in the ocean and unusable
while the potable amount of freshwater from lakes, rivers, and other sources of
freshwater, is much less and harder to obtain (United States Geological Survey
2009). The actual amount of useable water decreases even more due to
contamination, salinization and pathogens.
The most basic use of water in society today is for personal uses, such as
hygiene, food preparation, and drinking. Also, water is highly used for irrigation in
the agricultural sector, cattle ranching, and industry which includes shipping their
products via waterways. These other uses place a heavy demand on the water
resources of a country. Contamination levels increase if factories do not regulate
wastes produced. Raising cattle in arid places necessitates more water to prevent
dehydration. Of course, for our well being and the well being of our crops that we
eat, irrigation uses the same water resources too (Jackelen & Gatto 2006).
Paraguay is a small, South American country about the size of the state of
California in the United States of America. It is nestled between the two giants of
the continent, Brazil and Argentina, and also Bolivia. Even though this country is
small, it is very rich in water resources due to its location in the second largest basin
in South America and fifth largest in the world, the Cuenca del Plata (Barros 2004).
After spending over two years living with Paraguayans, they, in general,
understand the importance of water and drinking uncontaminated water, but not all.
Many Paraguayans do not value this resource that their country has because they
always have access to water and their wells or water tanks seldom run dry. My
Peace Corps experience coupled with my research interests in water and water
education led me to focus on this topic in the hope of understanding human-
environment relationships in Paraguay from an environmental educators
perspective.
In recent years, the climate has begun to change in Paraguay and less rainfall
has been occurring, or been occurring at the wrong times. Wo se puede mirar el
calendario mas para saber la estacion. Hay dlas que hace calor en el invierno y
hace frio en el verano. Huge portions of the country, namely a region called the 1
1 One is not able to look at the calendar and know the season anymore. There are days when it is hot
during the winter and cold during the summer.


Chaco in the northwest, are in a severe drought and the citizens refer to their water
as oro, or gold. The people who live there actually hide their water supplies, or lock
them away in order to prevent others from robbing them of their water. A Peace
Corps Volunteer who lives in the Chaco region says that people would rather steal
the water first before other objects of value in a house (McClelland, F., personal
interview, 2009). Contaminants have entered the small streams, rivers, and
groundwater from the large scale use of pesticides in agriculture. Wells in many
regions have been known to dry up during the summer months. Some communities
do not even have well developed systems to access their groundwater. Wetlands
have been drained by improperly built canal systems for agriculture, particularly
rice, or cattle ranching. Many times I have heard Paraguayans say Antes, habla
mas animates por esta zona, ahora no" "or Nuestra agua estd sucia, l.pero que
vamos a hacer? Tenemos que usarlo.2 3 These are a few of the problems Paraguay is
facing today, which is why water conservation is such an important environmental
issue.
In 1977, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) held a conference in Tbilisi, Georgia to define
environmental education:
Environmental education is a process oriented to develop a
world population conscious and interested in the environment in
its totality and its associated problems that have knowledge,
attitudes, motivation, compromise and abilities to work
individually and collectively in the solution to the actual problems
and in the prevention in the future (Environmental Education
2007).
When a Paraguayan teacher was asked to define environmental education during a
workshop, she stated La educacion ambiental es formacion del hombre y la mujer
en el desarrollo de actitudes positivas, hacia el uso adecuado, la apreciacion y la
valoracion de los recursos naturales. 4
These are two broad definitions of what environmental education is yet what
is common between them is this notion of stewardship; a concern for environmental
2 Before, there were more animals in this zone now there are not.
3 Our water is dirty, but what are we going to do? We have to use it.
4 Environmental education is the formation of the man and woman in the development of positive
attitudes towards the appropriate use, the appreciation, and the valuing of natural resources.
2


health that is grounded in an understanding of natural and anthropogenic
interactions. More specifically, in context of water resources in Paraguay, it is not
only important to leant about water conservation, but also to understand the why
and the how of water education. Why should we conserve the water? How can we
do it? What are some strategies that we can implement in the home, the school, and
in the community to achieve this goal?
With this in mind, this thesis is along the lines of enviromnental education
with a particular focus on water conservation and education in the Paraguayan
school system. As of now, there is little focus placed on this important issue in the
Paraguayan schools. This is mainly due to the time constraints for classroom
instruction. The school day is only four hours long and the students have to focus
on other classes too, not only science.
An international organization called Project WET (Water Education for
Teachers) has designed countless manuals for water education (Project WET 2010).
For a complete listing of the manuals available and the countries where Project
WET operates, see Appendix A. The manuals list different activities that teachers
can add to their existing school curriculum to teach about water conservation, the
water cycle, etc. In other words, Project WET is not designed to replace the
curriculum in schools; rather, these activities are intended to supplement the
materials that the teacher uses in the classroom. The manuals that were sent to
Peace Corps/Paraguay, with the goal of promoting environmental education and
water conservation in schools, were manuals that were published specifically for
Project WET Mexico and have activities that deal with hurricanes and the
indigenous people of Mexico (Vazquez del Mercado Arribas et al. 2000).
Currently, there are no manuals in Project WET specific to Paraguay. In
fact, there are limited resources in Paraguay with a specific focus on water
education and even these tend to be very technical. For this reason, it is important
to generate a manual that incorporates the local cultures and environments in
Paraguay, or at least a collaboration of country specific and basic information on the
water of Paraguay, such as rivers, aquifers, lakes, flooding information, etc. that
teachers can use in their class and can be easily accessed by students or other
teachers. For example, not all teachers teach in Spanish. The majority that live in
the ccimpo, or rural countryside, use the indigenous language of Guarani.
Challenges arise in adapting the Project WET Mexico manual for schools in
Paraguay, for example, selecting activities that fit into the curriculum, particularly
those that are not too material intensive. Most schools in the campo do not have
resources such as notebooks for the students, pencils, or even chalk. An activity that
calls for expensive materials, such as topographic maps, does not make sense to
incorporate in these local contexts.


Given the need for a Project WET manual specific to Paraguay and the
challenges associated with lesson adaptation, the goal of this thesis is to explore and
describe the social, cultural, ecological, and political processes involved in adapting
and teaching Project WET lessons in Paraguay. Specifically, the questions this
thesis addresses are: 1. What are the processes involved in adapting and teaching
Project WET in Paraguay through teacher workshops? 2. What are the implications
of these findings for environmental education?
The intent of this thesis is not to focus on the pedagogical aspects of Project
WET in schools nor is it about Project WET manuals per se, rather, it is intended to
describe my role as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay in the context of water
resource conservation and based on these experiences, to stress the importance of
curricula contextualization in environmental education.
4


CHAPTER 2
PHYSICAL, BIOLOGICAL, CULTURAL
AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF PARAGUAY
Geography, Climate, Eco regions and Political History
Paraguay is located between roughly between 23 00 S and 58 00 W. It is
situated between the two giants of South America, Brazil and Argentina along with
Bolivia to the northwest (Figure 1). It is roughly the size of California with
407,000 km2 (Bao et al. 2002). Paraguay and Bolivia are the only two landlocked
countries on the continent, but fortunately for Paraguay, it has two very large and
important rivers that flow to the ocean, the Rio Paraguay and the Rio Parana
(Figure 2). These rivers are very important for the transportation of materials and
for places like Bahia Negra, situated at the top most boundary of the country on the
river between Bolivia and Brazil, constitute the only reliable method of
transportation to the town, along with the floating supermarkets that bring in
produce and other goods from Concepcion. The Rio Paraguay, in particular, has a
steady line of boats that haul soy, mercury, zinc and other heavy metals. For that
reason, heavy metal contamination levels are fairly high for this river (Facetti
2002). The rivers are also important for tourism (beaches), fishing (dorado, boga,
surubi species), hydroelectric energy (the hydroelectric dams Itaipu and Yacyreta),
and serve as a drinking water and irrigation source (Entidad Binacional Yacyreta
2009; Jackelen & Gatto 2006; Quiros et al. 2007).
5


Figure 1: Paraguay In Reference To Other South American Countries
6


Figure 2: The Country of Paraguay by Departmental Divisions
The temperatures range during the summer (December to February) between
25C to 43C with an average of 35C while the winter months (June to August) are
more variable between 6C to 22C (Bao et al. 2002). More humid conditions are 5
5 There are 17 departments in Paraguay, which can be likened to states or provinces, each with its
own capital and governor.
7


found in the southern half of the country while more arid conditions are found in
the north, particularly a region called the Chaco. A trend is noticed with rainfall
too. The annual mean rainfall tends to decrease both from north to south and from
the east to west (Quiros et al. 2007). In the eastern city of Ciudad del Este on the
Brazilian border, the average rainfall for the year is 2,000 mm while in the capital
city, Asuncion, the average rainfall for the year is 1,500 mm (Bao et al. 2002).
This means that people living in different regions will have varying access to water
and/or that even slight changes in climate may have significant impacts on water
availability.
Paraguay has two very defined regions, the Occidental, or western Chaco
and the Oriental. The Rio Paraguay more or less splits the country in half. The
majority of the six million inhabitants live in the Region Oriental. There are very
characteristic eco regions in the country as well.
The Dry Chaco, located to the west of the Rio Paraguay, covers the
departments of Boqueron, Alto Paraguay, and Presidente Hayes. It is characterized
by shrubs and spiny trees which include, samuu (Chorisici speciosa), the
endangered palo santo (Ceiba chodatii), and quebracho bianco (Schinopsis
balansae), and various species of cactus. The salty lagoons are home to the Chilean
Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba).
The name reflects perfectly the water conditions here; there is very little to no
precipitation throughout the year.
Transitioning with the Dry Chaco is the Humid Chaco which covers 25% of
the Chaco and extends farther south into the departments of Neembucu and
Misiones down even into Argentina. Species such as the karanday (Copernicia
alba) dot the landscape along with islands of forests of quebracho bianco
(Schinopsis balansae). Numerous bird species and other aquatic animals make
their home here (Pena-Chocarro et al. 2006). The majority of the wetlands are
found in this eco region. It is estimated that up to 35% of Paraguay is covered with
wetlands (Salas-Duenas et al. 2004). Paraguay can also stake claim to touch part of
the largest freshwater wetland in the world, the Pantanal. It is an intricate system of
inundated flood plains that begin in the Brazilian Amazon and is recognized
internationally for its ecological importance and for its wildlife (Barros 2004). The
Pantanal is also important because it helps to regulate the flooding and flow of the
Rio Paraguay (Quiros et al. 2007). The jabiru stork (Jabiru mycteria) is
characteristic to this region along with other herons and wetland birds.
The fact that a good portion of the territory is covered with water, whether it
is a wetland or not, indicates that the presence of water education or at least
education relating to the importance of the water related eco regions, is needed in
the education system. Humans, animals and plants as well as entire ecosystems that
8


are found here depend on water resources for survival. With contamination and the
draining of wetlands caused by human actions, it is important to learn about
conservation practices and what we as humans can do to mitigate the effects. The
classroom is one place where education efforts, such as Project WET, can make
positive changes to environmental health.
Moving east across the country, one encounters the Bosque Atlantico Alto
Parana (Atlantic Forest of Alto Parana) or BAAPA. The region is characterized by
rolling hills and high humidity. Trees in this subtropical rainforest can reach over
30 meters in height, like the national tree, the lapacho (Tabebuia serratifolia) or
timbo (Ebterolobium contortisiliquum) with the national bird of Paraguay, the bare-
throated bell bird (Procnias nudicollis), being found in that upper canopy. The
BAAPA can be found in the departments of Itapua, Alto Parana, Caaguazu,
Caazapa and Canindeyu and is situated above one of the largest aquifers in the
world, the Guarani Aquifer. Due to the fertile soil of this eco region, the majority
of the large scale agriculture (soy beans, sunflower, yerba mate, wheat) is found in
this region too. However, due to increased logging and lack of governmental
control and funding, the BAAPA is suffering from a high level of deforestation.
Originally the BAAPA covered 85% of the country, but since 1997 is now covers
less than 15% (Carolan et al. 2004). Deforestation, ergo, leads to soil erosion,
which leads to the contamination of the rivers and streams with sediments. This is
another example of why water education should be a focus in the schools.
The original inhabitants of the region known today as Paraguay were the
Ache, Guaycuru, and most importantly the Guarani. They were hunters and
gatherers, nomads and also relied on fishing in the rivers (Baos et al. 2002).
The first Spanish explorers came to Paraguay around 1524 looking for gold
and silver in the Andes (Baos et al. 2002). The Spaniards founded the first city in
South America, Asuncion, which would eventually become the capital once
Paraguay gained its independence on May 15, 1811, the first South American
country to do so. The Spanish conquistadors did an excellent job mixing with the
local Guaranies to the point where Paraguay is 85% homogenous and are
considered mestizos, or a half and half heritage of Spanish and Guarani (Boas et al.
2002; Lewis 1982). There are also other cultural groups here too which include
Japanese, Germans, and other descendants of Eastern Europe (Boas et al. 2002).
Since the Spanish explorers did not find any metals or resources of any
importance, Paraguay was a colony that was overlooked by the Spanish crown, and
for that reason, there were more liberties granted to them, which later would prove
costly when the Jesuits arrived to the region (Lewis 1982). The Jesuits arrived
looking to spread Catholicism and also to teach the native Guarani people. Their
missions covered vast regions of the south of Paraguay and down into what is now
9


Northern Argentina. They had little success in the northern Chaco, with the
Guaycurus, Tobas, and Payagua tribes. The Payagua would attack the settlements
from their canoes in resistance to the Jesuits. But, due to the gaining power of the
Jesuits and fear that the Spanish crown was losing its control, the Jesuits were
forced to leave in 1767 (Boas et al. 2002).
It is largely due to this early influence that a majority of the population
claims to be Catholic, though only a relatively small population actively practices.
If you are asked,Catholico/a? 6 Paraguayans would expect to hear you say,
yes even if they are not a practicing Catholic or even Catholic themselves. In
public schools, which are controlled by the Ministry of Education and Culture
(MEC) where religion also falls under that ministrys jurisdiction, the students pray
before class and are encouraged to sing songs about and write sayings to decorate
their classrooms about God (Caceres de Rodas & Garcete 1999). The normal
response to any invitation for a future event is, S7 Dios quiere y la Virgen
permite. 7 Locally, that is translated as no thanks. In short, Catholicism is
integrated into Paraguayan society more as a social (rather than religious) nonn.
This aspect of the culture was not an influence in the adaptation of the Project
WET materials for Paraguay.
Paraguay has almost always been ruled by dictators and with a strong
presence of the military and has always had to fight to stay a sovereign country.
After Paraguay declared its independence from Spain, the first country in South
America to do so, Argentina sent their military up the Rio Paraguay to Asuncion
with the attempt to regain a renegade province; the view of most Argentineans
(Lewis 1982). The first dictator reigned from 1814-40. He was a civilian leader,
but at the time was one of the only educated men in the country. The people looked
to him to lead the country; they voluntarily chose a non democratic model for their
government (Sobera, C., personal interview, November 10, 2007). The lawyer, Dr.
Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia served in Paraguay and was given the nickname
El Supremo. In order to avoid more conflict with neighboring Argentina and
Brazil, he closed the borders to export and trade. He fought for the poor and
worked to eradicate the status of the social elite by reclaiming their land and then
releasing this land to poor fanners. He also disliked the Catholic Churchs
influence. He thus closed the monasteries and made the Church completely
dependent on state funds. However, since most of the schools in the country were
staffed by monks or friars, the state was not prepared to handle a public educational
6 Are you Catholic?
7 If God wants it and the Virgin permits it.
10


system and since the borders were closed and no periodicals or new books were
coming into the country, the education level sank to disastrous lows. His reign was
one of terror and fear. Torture was not uncommon during this time. However, it
can be said that thanks to his rule, Paraguay was able to gain a sense of nationhood
and national pride immediately following their independence (Boas et al. 2002;
Lewis 1982).
After Dr. Francias death by natural causes, the Lopez family took control of
the country, first with Carlos Antonio Lopez from 1840-62, and then his son,
Francisco Solano Lopez from 1862-70. Carlos Antonio recognized the disastrous
educational system and during his time more than 400 primary schools were
opened, educating over 25,000 students. Scholarships were given widely to those
who wished to study in European universities. He worked hard to give Paraguay
military strength amassing 28,000 men and another 40,000 in reserves (Boas et al.
2002; Lewis 1982).
Once his father died, Francisco came to power. Called the Napoleon of
South America, he is responsible for the war that nearly wiped Paraguay off the
map. When the War of the Triple Alliance began in 1865, Paraguay had a
population of around 400,000. By the end of the war in 1870, Paraguay not only
lost over 150,000 km2 of their territory, was placed in considerable debt by
Argentina and Brazil, but the population was cut in half as well. From the 221,000
survivors, only 28,000 were male but mostly old men and children (Boas et al.
2002; Lewis 1982).
The years following the war were an unstable time for Paraguay. A new
constitution was written in 1870 which was based on the United States and
Argentinean constitutions. Guarani was forbidden to be taught in the schools,
slavery was abolished and a system to check the power and abuses of the president
was instigated. Unfortunately, this constitution never really worked due to the
nearly 80 years of dictatorship and the ban on individualistic thinking and
education. Between 1870 and 1954 Paraguay saw 44 presidents, and of those, 24
were removed by force (Lewis 1982).
Between 1932 and 1935 Paraguay entered into a conflict with Bolivia. The
Chaco War was fought due to undefined territory in the Chaco region and the
possibility of the presence of oil; but neither country really has occupants there,
and oil was never discovered. Even though the Bolivians were better trained and
better equipped than the Paraguayans, the long standing tradition of nationalism
spurred them on to win this war against Bolivia and retaining three fourths of the
disputed territory (Boas et al. 2002; Lewis 1982).
It was during the time of the Chaco War that Alfredo Stroessner emerged
onto the political scene. Stroessner would later go on to become the longest lasting
11


of all dictatorships in Paraguay. The extreme corruption and a one party rule, the
Colorado, or officially the National Republican Association, dominated his nearly
35 years of dictatorship. He ran the country as a military, almost enslaving his
citizens and granting extreme powers to the rich and further promoted corruption
saying it was for the good of the state. He strived to make a unified country and
even stated that class and political conflicts violated the idea of unity (Lambert et
al. 2007). Torture was accepted and spies were everywhere, even amongst
"friends. It is said that every seven out of ten people were informants for the
government. He led genocide against the indigenous Ache, wiping out almost the
entire population (Boas et al. 2002). To this day, the indigenous people, who
number less than 3% of the population, are looked down upon as the lowest of the
classes and are stereotyped as uneducated in Paraguayan society.
Stroessner was responsible for creating an uneducated society. He
referred to himself as the interpreter of the heart and the soul of the nation which
meant that he was able to select and promote history, myth and identity according
to political necessity (Lambert et al. 2007). He did this through the national
discourse of the Colorado Party and to be a teacher in the schools, you had to be a
member of the party. Also, there was only one book used in the schools and it
contained six subjects and even then, the information was not always that accurate
(Sobera, C., personal interview, November 10, 2007). Despite everything he did to
the nation, the Paraguayans who grew up under his dictatorship say, Era mejor
cuando Stroessner fue dictador, how things were better when he was in power;
how there was more order and structure and how you did not have to live in fear of
being robbed and you could sleep outside your house without worrying (you just
had to live in fear of being tortured).
The Colorado party was in power for 61 years. Then, in the presidential
election of 2008, Fernando Lugo from the Tekojoja party won the office of
President, thus ending the longest running one party rule in any country. Lugo was
a Catholic bishop who renounced his holy orders in order to be president of the
nation. He has launched a new campaign, Paraguay, Para Todos y Todas in hopes
of bringing new reform to the education system.
12


CHAPTER 3
PEACE CORPS, PROJECT WET, AND
THE PARAGUAYAN SCHOOL SYSTEM
The Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by United States of America
President John F. Kennedy. As stated on their website (Peace Corps 2008), the
mission of the Peace Corps is three fold:
1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need
for trained men and women.
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the
part of the peoples served.
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the
part of Americans.
Peace Corps is found worldwide in over 70 countries trying to complete the
mission in education, health, agricultural development, and youth development just
to name a few. Particularly, Peace Corps/Paraguay has nine sectors with roughly
160 Volunteers. As an Environmental Education Volunteer in the Environmental
Sector, my role is simply "to contribute to the protection and improvement of
Paraguays environment (Aquino et al. 2006). The Environmental Education
Sector was developed in the 1980s and works closely with the Paraguayan Ministry
of Education and Culture (MEC). Volunteers are assigned to schools in
communities where they will work and live for two years. Volunteers, like myself,
typically work in their assigned schools, but also collaborate with non-governmental
organizations (NGO), such as WWF, Guyra Paraguay, and PROCOSARA,
especially since in recent years local NGOs have become more established and
prominent.
The Peace Corps project plan for the Environmental Sector:
seeks to facilitate teachers increased capacity to achieve
integrated lesson planning through direct mentoring and training.
Volunteers working with teachers, teacher training institutes,
school principals and regional supervisors orient their efforts to
reach children and youth (Aquino et al. 2006 pg 8).
Since 1993, Peace Corps/Paraguay has emphasized the importance of
deforestation, water conservation, and waste management (Aquino et al. 2006).
13


Thus, working with an NGO in water education fits into the project plan for Peace
Corps Volunteers in Paraguay.
Peace Corps offers a program called Masters International where one can
complete their graduate studies while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The
University of Colorado Denver offered this opportunity in the Department of
Geography and Environmental Sciences. The core classes are completed the first
year of study while the thesis is developed during the time that the student serves as
a Peace Corps Volunteer. During my 30 months of service, I was able to learn
about the culture of Paraguay and recognize the need for water education in the
school system. Through the Peace Corps, I learned about Project WET and this is
how this thesis topic presented itself to me.
Project WET, or Water Education for Teachers, is a nonprofit organization
that was founded in 1984 by the North Dakota State Water Commission. For five
years the program was focused only in North Dakota, then in 1989 Montana State
University invited the director of the program to start a pilot program in the states
of Montana. Idaho, and Arizona. Funding for this program was through the United
States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation. Later, in 2005 Project
WET left Montana State University to become its own independent foundation
(Project WET 2010).
Its mission is to bring water education to not only teachers, but to students,
families, and community members so that they might have a better understanding
of the importance of water. This goal is accomplished in four parts; by publishing
educational materials in various languages such as Spanish, Japanese, Hungarian,
and French to name a few, training workshops for teachers pertaining to specific
topics such as wetlands, watersheds, water quality, etc., organizing community
events such as Making a Splash with Project WET, and lastly by building a
network of educators, professionals and scientists around the world who continue
to add their valuable input to this program (Project WET 2010).
Project WET is present in all 50 states and Washington D.C. and also 26
countries around the world (see Appendix A), particularly in the South American
countries of Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. The educational materials
are effective because they are "interactive, adaptable to any enviromnent or
country, relevant, science based, and measurable (Project WET 2010). In a study
conducted in the United States by DAgostino et al. (2007), 6th grade classes in
Arizona were evaluated using hierarchical linear modeling to see if the activities of
Project WET made a difference in the level of learning. It was concluded that the
program is effective at improving students understanding of water and water
issues even if the teacher is using the material for the first time in the classroom.
However, before the lessons were even presented in the classroom, the teachers
14


who participated underwent training in teacher workshops. The format of these
teacher workshops places an emphasis on active participation, much like the
teacher workshops I planned and executed in Paraguay.
This study by DAgostino et al. (2007) is specific to teachers in the United
States. However, a study such as this does not exist in a South American country.
It is for that reason that this thesis is very important in terms of its contribution to
the literature and the impact of Project WET in Paraguay. Project WET Canada
had a team create water specific information in an annex as well, but their annex
was written with specific highlights for certain activities. The Paraguayan annex is
more of a general guide to the water in the country, but the topics were influenced
by the 11 selected activities from the Project WET Mexico guide.
The Paraguayan school system is similar to the United States in respect to
grade levels (Table 1). It is also obligatory for children to attend school up until
noveno grado (ninth grade) and it is free for the public schools. The national
organization of the system can be seen in Appendix B.
Table 1: Comparison of school grade levels
PARAGUAY USA AGE
Pre-escolar Kindergarten 5-6
Primer Ciclo Primer Grado de Basica Segundo Grado de Basica Elementary First Grade Second Grade 6- 7 7- 8
Tercer Grado de Basica School Third Grade 8-9
Segundo Ciclo Cuarto Grado de Basica Fourth Grade 9-10
Quinto Grado de Basica Fifth Grade 10-11
Sexto Grado de Basica Middle School Sixth Grade 11-12
Septimo Grado de Basica Seventh Grade 12-13
Tercer Ciclo Octavo Grado de Basica Eighth Grade 13-14
Noveno Grado de Basica Ninth Grade 14-15
Primero Curso de la Media High School Tenth Grade 15-16
Colegio Segundo Curso de la Media Eleventh Grade 16-17
Tercer Curso de la Media Twelfth Grade 17-18
All teachers are required by the MEC to have three years of education
beyond high school to be a certified teacher and one extra year if they are to be
specialized in a certain area, like math or Guarani. Also, the teachers must attend
teacher workshops throughout the year and accumulate various pedagogic hours to
15


continue their education, become familiar with new teaching techniques and to also
learn about the changes in the MEC (Caceres de Rodas & Garcete 1999).
Teacher workshops are vital to the exchange of information and other
learning methods. Many times though, these teacher workshops are solely based on
theory (the theory of classroom management for example) and do not touch on the
practice of what was presented in the teacher workshop. In synthesis, teachers are
not taught how to teach and especially are not taught how to teach using didactic
methods, such as incorporating games, experiments or songs into their lessons. This
leaves the teachers who truly do want to learn a new teaching method or leam new
information to present to his or her class at a disadvantage. Therefore, teacher
workshops planned and executed by Peace Corps Volunteers fill the niche where
sometimes the MEC falls a bit short.
One of the biggest changes in the Paraguayan school system is the
Educational Reform that took place in 1992. The reform was initiated due to the
concern for a lack of science and technology in the curriculum (UNESCO 2003).
The basic objective of the schools in relation to the environment state students
should desarrollar vcilores que propicien la conservation, defensa, y recuperation
del medio ambiente y la cultura 8 (Jimenez 2008). It was in 1992 that
environmental education was emphasized more, not only in the overall fundamental
learning components, but also in the competencias basicas (basic competencies) for
each grade level. What that means is that environmental education should be
integrated into all the subjects of the curriculum at all grade levels. For example,
Segundo Ciclo students have classes in math, natural science, communication
(Guarani and Castellano9), art, physical education, health, social studies, and trabajo
y tecnologla (work and technology) and within those materials teachers must
somehow incorporate aspects of the environment, whether it be using leaves from
trees to do math problems or painting pictures of the environment, or using recycled
materials for art class, or creating and maintaining a huerta escolar10
(Environmental Education 2007). Unlike the U.S. where environmental education is
typically incorporated into the life and earth sciences such as biology and geology,
8 Develop values that favor the conservation, defense, and recuperation of the environment and
culture.
9 Castellano is Spanish, but there are differences in the way it is spoken in the southern cone
countries of Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. When asked, a Paraguayan, Argentinean, or
Uruguayan will never tell you they speak Spanish. Hablo Castellano (I speak Castellano).
10 School garden particularly referring to vegetables
16


environmental education in Paraguay is infused throughout different subjects that
students take across all grade levels.
In theory, this sounds very easy. The huerta escolar can easily be used in all
subjects: measurements of the growth of plants for math class, drawing pictures of
the plants for art class, actually planting, weeding and watering the garden for
trabajo y tecnologla class, learning about the properties and nutrition of the
vegetables for health class, and learning about soil and water filtration and food
chains for science class, etc. In reality, however, many teachers still do not know
how to incorporate these changes into their curriculum and instructional practices.
The tranquilo lifestyle11 on the part of the teacher does little to encourage these
changes from being implemented. This tranquilo lifestyle is perhaps due to
Paraguayans being passive from years of political dictatorship, thereby developing a
learned sense of helplessness. They are used to a dictator and his mandates, and
thus do not do implement change themselves. It could also be a reflection of teacher
training programs and the state of professional development in Paraguay.
Nevertheless, this demonstrates the importance of workshops that equip teachers
with the knowledge to incorporate environmental education into the school
curriculum, especially when using specific educational materials such as Project
WET.
With the educational reform of 1992, a large change was seen in the shift in
the power to hire teachers and directors for schools. This was switched from
Asuncion to the interior of the country by creating supervisions. These supervisions
are located in major towns in each of the 17 departments (Figure 2). Now, the
schools can work with the local governments of the departments more easily, thus
enabling funds to be obtained more efficiently than in the past for various projects
or renovations for the school. Technically, it is not the responsibility of the local
municipality to make the renovations to the schools, it is the responsibility of the
MEC, but the intendentes (mayors) or gobernadores (governors) generally help out
anyway if there is money available (Environmental Education 2007).
Another aspect of the educational reform is that schools must choose if they
are an all Guarani school or an all Castellano school. What this means is the
students are receiving the majority of their education in either Guarani or Castellano
since both are official languages of Paraguay and roughly 90% of the population
speaks both languages fluently (Caceres de Rodas & Garcete 1999). If the school is
a Castellano school, then it is required for the students to write and read Guarani and
11 The tranquilo lifestyle is one way to describe life in Paraguay. It is easy going, not too much
stress, no strong commitments, carefree, lots of time for an afternoon siesta, and of course plenty of
time to drink mate or terere (a type of tea infusion, one served hot the other cold) throughout the day
17


vice versa for Guarani schools (Environmental Education 2007). Usually Guarani is
spoken more in the campo and in the urban areas the teachers use more Castellano.
Lastly, the Educational Reform also states that 3% of the curriculum at all
grade levels should be for community projects, which can include a community
clean up, making trash cans, planting trees, or any other topic decided by the teacher
and approved by the director/a (Environmental Education 2007).
Given how important water is to this country and the efforts of the
educational reform to increase science in the school curriculum, it is amazing how
little emphasis there is in learning about the water cycle, contamination, or even the
states of water. Many older Paraguayans, who completed their schooling before the
reform was initiated, recall never learning about the water cycle until they were at
the university, and even then it was only because they had an interest in water and
enrolled in science classes. In fact, before the reform, the students at every grade
level were taught without ever having the opportunity to look for the information
nor question whether the information being presented to them was correct. This
applied to all subject matters, not just science.
However, these same people state that this was for them the verdadera
education12 and what the system is like today is not as good as what it used to be.
In other words, before the reform, students were given the information and expected
to memorize it and were expected to write down on the exam exactly what was
given to them. The teachers were stricter and there was more order in the
classrooms. Today, there is still the same expectation of memorizing the
information, but the punishment for acting up in the classroom is less than what it
used to be. Before the teachers were permitted to use physical punishment, but after
laws were passed to protect the rights for children in the same year as the
educational reform, this action ceased.
Every grade level has competencies basicas (equivalent to the state/national
standards in the US) that the teachers have to cover throughout the school year in
order for students to move to the next grade the following year. For example, in the
natural sciences class for Segundo Ciclo, the material is broken up into four areas:
matter and energy, living things, the environment and the universe. The
competencies for fourth grade science state that students should be able to:
-Valora la importancia de los ecosistemas
acudticos y terrestres.
-Caracteriza por su importancia las
relaciones biologicas que se establecen
12 True education
18


en una comunidad.
-Reconoce las cadenas alimentarlas en la
naturaleza.
-Coopera en acciones que favorecen la
utilizacion racional de los recursos naturales.
-Toma decisiones acerca de las causasy
consecuencias de la contaminacion acuatica.
-Analiza las implicancias ambientales de la
Carta de la Tierra, la Cuenca del Plata, y los
productos qidmicos orgdnicos dorados
persistentes, toxicos y los de emision no
intencional (Dioxinas y Furanos) (Jimenez 2008).13
Unfortunately, these competencies are not well defined and can be hard for
the teacher to interpret. For example, valuing the importance of aquatic and
terrestrial ecosystems is a difficult concept to grasp. How do you value it? What
actions need to be taken? Why should we value what those ecosystems contain?
These are the sorts of questions that make environmental education in Paraguay
difficult, because the outcomes of learning are not specifically stated.
Another difficulty with this system is the school day. The public schools are
broken up into two sessions, or turnos; turno manana and turno tarde. The morning
goes from 7:00 to 11:00 and the afternoon session goes from 13:00 to 17:00.
Students are only required to attend one session. It is generous to say that the
students are actually in classes and learning for four hours. In my observations of
not only my community, but in schools all over the country, schools rarely start on
time and when they do start, at least 15-20 minutes are needed to sing the national
anthem, pray and listen to any announcements. Then the students spend time
sweeping the classrooms and arranging their desks for the day. Finally, after about
an hour, their classes can begin. There is also at least 20 minutes set aside for recess
and snack time. By the end of the session, the teacher is tired and usually the
students are not paying that much attention to whatever class they are in.
The teaching method that almost every single teacher uses is the
transmissive pedagogy mode, which is to say that the lesson for the day in a
13 Value the importance of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Characterize, by its importance, the
biological relations that establish a community. Recognize the food chain in nature. Cooperate in
actions that favor the rational usage of natural resources. Make decisions near to the causes and
consequences of water contamination. Analyze the environmental implications of the land charter,
the basin del Plata, the organic chemical products, and non-intentional emissions.
19


particular class is copied onto the black board and the students are expected to sit in
silence and copy the information. This is done for almost every subject with little to
no explanation. The students are graded on how well they can copy the information.
During exams, the students memorize word for word what they copied in their
notebooks and spit it out onto the pages of the exam. If they do not remember,
usually their neighbor next to them does and thus cheating is widely accepted in the
classrooms.
With this style of teaching and learning, it is important that learning
becomes meaningful, fun and interactive so that the students will walk away from
the activity having understood the importance of water conservation. This is where
the Peace Corps hopes that their efforts with environmental education using Project
WET curriculum in Paraguay will have a positive impact on schools, teachers and
students. However, there are challenges to this implementation here in Paraguay and
in having the teachers actually integrate water education activities into their lessons.
This is why this thesis is focused on understanding the processes of adapting and
implementing Project WET in classrooms through teacher workshops.
20


CHAPTER 4
EXAMPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION IN PARAGUAY
My work as a Peace Corps/Paraguay Environmental Education Volunteer
has been primarily in Segundo Ciclo (4th- 6th grades). I have worked extensively
with the teachers of two grade schools, one public and the other private, in the town
of Ayolas, Misiones to develop and implement new teaching techniques, make
their classes more didactic, and to promote environmental education.
A typical day for me starts at 7:00, but I generally do not go to the school at
this time of day. Given the usual school schedule for the first hour, I generally roll
in on my kavaju pirn11 (bicycle) around the time of the first recess. It is much
easier to talk to the teachers during their recess period since I do not feel like I am
interrupting the class. After the besitos14 15 and saludos from the students of Hola
Profe! I usually manage to locate the few teachers that are willing to work with
me in the school. We are assigned to the schools based on a written request to
Peace Corps from the director/a or the supervisor/a. This means that they want a
Peace Corps Volunteer there, but the rest of the teachers may not even know who
we are or what we are doing there. Before the school year starts, we present
ourselves at the teacher meetings and try to gain an idea of who might want to
work with a Peace Corps Volunteer through a simple survey (Appendix C). It is
completely voluntary for them to want to work with us. Some choose not to as a
matter of pride in their own abilities, distrust of foreigners, or even from simple
disinterest in what we are doing in the community. However, others jump at the
chance to get to know the new norte16 and hear what we have to offer. I also have
the ability to say no to working with certain teachers if all they want from me is
to take over teaching their class. This is the main reason our service is for two
years. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to gain the trust and respect
in the community and especially in the professional setting of the school.
On this given day, there is one middle aged profesora who, as always,
readily jumps as the chance to chat with me and asks me if I can come in and teach
14 Literally skinny horse (in Guarani)
15 Little kisses, the normal greeting between women are kisses on both cheeks. This is also a
greeting, or saludo between a woman and man. Between men, they shake hands.
16 Literally means north, but Paraguayans use the word to refer to anyone from the United States.
21


her students about the types of soils and how water moves through the different
substrates. This is a teacher with who I have had many successes, not only in the
area of water education. She is always enthusiastic about any new game or song or
activity I bring to her class. She is one of those teachers who has been teaching the
same thing for years, and actively is searching for new activities to try with her
students.
A few days later I arrive to the sixth grade class to find 25 students
overjoyed to see me and to spend the next half hour listening to a strange norte
who speaks Castellano with a funny accent talk about clay, sand and compost and
how water particles move through each example of soil and how it filters down to
become part of our groundwater. The charla (talk) ends with the students pouring
water into plastic bottles via funnels filled with each example of soil and timing
how quickly the water moves through different substrates. I leave the classroom
hearing shouts of "iCudndo vas a volver, Profe? 17 Smiling, I use my favorite
response, Cualquier momento. 18
This example of environmental education in the schools of Paraguay is what
we as Peace Corps Volunteers are striving to implement here with the teachers in
hopes that they will leam a more didactic approach to teaching the same
information. An activity such as the one just described is exceedingly uncommon
in the normal school day. The activity described was adapted from one of the
Project WET activities in the Project WET Mexico manual, called Visualizando el
agua subterrdnea (Visualizing the subterraneous water). The activity as written is
directed to high school aged students and is much longer than my time allotted with
my 6th grade students. Instead, I selected the most important point to explain to my
students by drawing the figures of substrate particles on the chalkboard then
implemented the hands on part of the activity, but not to the degree as described in
the activity as written.
Generally, activities such as going to school, planning a charla, or just
conversing with teachers (in order to have a sense of what they are currently
teaching that week), take up a majority of my time, but then again I do not have a
set schedule day to day. I am not a regular teacher in the schools, nor am I a
substitute teacher. Every time I enter to teach, the teacher must be present in the
room with me. This is not only to ensure that the students behave, but also to show
the teachers different teaching techniques, classroom management tips and also
potentially teach them something new related to the topic of my charla.
17 When are you going to come back, teacher?
18 Any moment
22


One cold July day in 2009,1 received Project WET Mexico manuals from
my APCD, or Associate Program Country Director, or also known as my boss. It
was never clear to me how this manual arrived to Paraguay or even why it was a
Project WET Mexico manual instead of a manual from one of the countries closer to
Paraguay. My APCD explained to me that it was decided that in order to promote
the ideals and principles of the Environmental Sector on water education (as stated
in our sector plan), help future Environmental Education Volunteers with easy
activities they could do within the first few months in site, and promote water
education activities in the school curriculum, I was to select and adapt 10-12
activities from the Project WET manuals. I choose the activities that would be easy
to explain to teachers through a series of workshops, which would not require
inaccessible materials and would follow the competencies bdsicas for fourth, fifth,
and sixth grades.
I selected 11 lessons from these manuals that consist of over hundreds of
different activities related to water education (Appendix D). I chose lessons while
keeping in mind the ability of the poor rural school teachers to find the materials in
their communities since many of the activities are material intensive. I also chose
the activities based upon the geography of the country. The amount of wetlands in
Paraguay led me to choose a few activities that relate to wetlands and their
importance. One activity relates to water usage in a community, and given the
diversity of the water resources (lakes, rivers, aquifers, etc) and campo versus city, I
thought this activity would be important to incorporate as well.
After looking carefully at the Comiections and Background sections of each
selected activity from the manuals, I determined what information would be the
most pertinent for the lessons and also for the Paraguayan classroom. I created an
appendix of water specific information relating to the country with the agreement
that it would be placed at the end of the Project WET Mexico teachers guide. Given
how instruction in this country is in two languages, I kept the technical, scientific
parts in Spanish while more cultural points, such as myths and legends regarding
water, I also had translated into Guarani as well as keeping it in Spanish. I wrote
the annex in simple terminology so that the teachers would be able to understand,
and thus be able to communicate the information effectively to their students. There
are many figures and tables incorporated into the document too. This annex in its
true Spanish form can be seen in Appendix E.
Next, I selected three sites: Pilar, Neembucu, a large city of roughly 32,000
residents, Ayolas, Misiones, a smaller city of 5,000 people and lastly Valle Apua,
Paraguari, a rural town less than 1,000 residents. These three locations all are
located by some body of water and retain a Peace Corps Environmental Education
Volunteer, to host teacher workshops on how to incorporate water conservation
23


ideas and activities into their curriculum. Also, these sites represent a variety of
different demographic areas. Each site contains a different amount of people. Also,
geographically they are not located near to each other. Lastly, there is the difference
in a more rural mindset compared to a city. This rural site was very important in
this study since it would be a test to see if the activities would be appropriate for the
amount of materials available and word choice for the manuals technical
information.
7-7
.. 1
24


25


Planning for these workshops began about a month ahead of time. Lots of
communication had to occur between myself, the two other Peace Corps Volunteers,
and the supervisions of each zone in the department where the workshops were to
take place. In the past few years more and more places in Paraguay have seen an
increase in local cybers. This does not mean that using e-mail is how
communication occurs due to the potential lack of knowledge of how to use the
internet and e-mail. Almost everyone has a cell phone and thus communication
occurs more quickly and effectively by calling or sending a text message. But,
nothing ever moves along as quickly as planned on the day you wish it would occur.
Someone is always not in their office (Lo siento Mandi, Pablina no esta hoy, pero si
o si mahana19), without saldo (credit) on their phone so they do not return my calls
or text messages, or I am directed to someone else since no one knows the answers
to my questions. This slow progress is potentially again due to that tranquilo
lifestyle or just the sense of time that Paraguayans have. They generally do not rush
19 Im sorry Mandi, Pablina is not here today, but without fail tomorrow.
26


nor see the importance of being on time. To them, otro dia, or mas tarde20 21 are
perfectly acceptable responses and allotments of time. In the case of the schools in
Ayolas, a fax was sent to all the schools in the area to invite the teachers who were
interested to come. For Valle Apua, the Peace Coips Volunteer, Andrew Smith,
personally went to solicit from the supervisor permission for the workshop and then
personally invited the teachers in the one school in his community. In Pilar, the
Peace Corps Volunteer, Brian Byrd, sent faxes, made flyers and personally went to
all the schools in Pilar to invite teachers to come.
It was finally decided by the Peace Corps Volunteers in each site that the
best time to have these teacher workshops was on or around March 22nd in honor of
the Dia International del Agua (International Water Day). Paraguayans are very
particular about celebrating these days of remembrance in the school calendar.
Teachers remember and celebrate these days better than I remember the days of
importance or holidays in the United States. Teachers and students celebrate and
remember these days in a variety of ways. For some days the student paint pictures
or write poems to commemorate the day or perhaps they will perform a dance or
skit for the school. They say that these occasions (the majority are specific to
Paraguayan culture) became part of the school calendar when Stroessner was in
power. Since his dictatorship was one of cruel and utmost control, he wanted to
give something back to the Paraguayans where they could have one day to look
forward to and celebrate each month. Other days that are remembered in the school
calendar include: dia del animal, dia del camino, dia de amistad, or dia del medio
ambiente* just to name a few.
Finally with set dates, March 18th in Ayolas, March 19th in Valle Apua, and
March 22nd in Pilar, preparing the agenda and materials for the workshops could be
made with a deadline in mind (Appendix F).
The first workshop in Ayolas was attended by 14 teachers from around the
city and even a teacher from a town 30 kilometers to the north. This was an
excellent turn out since only nine teachers had sent in an RSVP to the school where
I work and where the workshop was going to be held only two days before the
event. I only invited teachers via fax who were interested in the topic and who were
available to come since they would have to find replacements for their class. The
workshop was scheduled to start at 7:00 am, so naturally by 7:40 we were just
20 Another day or much later. This is a literal translation to the words, but in the context of time, it
can mean anywhere from the next day to never.
21 Day of the animal, day of the road, day of friendship, day of the environment
27


beginning our first icebreaker. This is what is known as la hora paraguaya. Things
rarely start on time. The workshop began with an overview of why environmental
education is important, and particularly water education. The teachers were eager to
speak up and provide what knowledge they already knew about the water situation
in Paraguay. Estaba mirando la propaganda en la tele y habla mucho sobre la
contaminacion del Lago Ypoa debido a fosjatos en los detergentes. Tenemos que
valorar lo que tenemos acci en Paraguay claimed one profesora. This led into a
discussion on biomagnification led by another profesora.
Later the group was split into four groups to do the sum a de las partes
activity. This activity focuses on river contamination and how we all are part of the
process of water pollution. This is important in water conservation education
because it allows us to think and make the connection of how we are all related and
our actions affect those around us. The profesores could draw whatever they
wished and have whatever they wished for on their land. Some were very
environmentally conscious and drew wind turbines and wanted organic farms, while
others valued a more traditional Paraguayan lifestyle of agriculture and animal
husbandry. Possibly these differences occurred based on their upbringing or on the
current trends they see on television or in movies. In three out of the four groups,
hotels for tourism were constructed; this could possibly have been influenced by the
high amount of tourism located along the Rio Parana and particularly in Ayolas. In
the past few years, there has been a big push from the Secretaria Nacional de
Turismo (National Secretary of Tourism) to develop the areas in Paraguay which are
most likely to attract tourists, not only Paraguayan tourists, but international
travelers as well. Due to the location along the Rio Parana, its beautiful scenery,
and Yacyreta, the hydroelectric dam, Ayolas has seen an increase in tourism in the
past few years. All teachers actively participated and enjoyed the activity. When
asked, iQuien conoce Encarnacion? * 23 24 the city that is located upriver from
Ayolas, almost everyone raised their hand. This helped them make the connection
of how Ayolas is affected by the contamination up river. I related a story to them
also to drive home the point of contamination and how we are all connected.
I once was looking at the prices of fish in a supermarket in Encarnacion and
could not believe how expensive it was compared to the prices in Ayolas. I asked a
fisherman friend of mine, iPor que el pescado en Encarnacion estd tan caro? 2'1
I was watching commercials on the television and it speaks a lot about the contamination of Lake
Ypoa due to the phosphates in detergents. We have to value what we have here in Paraguay
23 Who is familiar with Encarnacion?
24 Why are the fish prices in Encarnacion so expensive?
28


He told me, Es porque no se pesca ahl El agua esta sucia. I told him that the
same water was coming down to Ayolas, and it would still be dirty once it reached
our town. He did not have a comment to that. The teachers did not comment either,
but I could see from their faces and nodded heads that a few were making some
connections.
Figure 6: Teachers From Ayolas Working On Their Drawings
After an unplanned recess of 40 minutes (la hora paraguaya), the group
came back to try their hands at teaching one activity which related to the properties
of water to the other group. This is important in water education because it starts
with the basic properties of water. If one understands the basic properties, such as
density, adhesion and cohesion, one can be better equipped to conserve water or
understand better how contamination occurs. One group used the aventuras en la 25
25 It is because you do not fish there. The water is very dirty.
29


densidad (adventures in density) activity and the other used olimpiaguas (water
Olympics), which focuses on adhesion and cohesion. I worked with the group on
density while Jessica Blatt, my follow-up Peace Corps Volunteer, worked with the
other group. When I asked my group of seven teachers, one of whom was the
directora of another school in Ayolas and another a fourth grade teacher, what I
thought was a simple question iQue significa densidad?" I received no response
and blank stares. One profesora stated Wo tocamos este tema en segundo ciclo, por
lo tanto no estamos seguras que significa. 26 27 281 quickly defined the term for them
and confirmed that was one of the reasons for the workshop; to learn new concepts.
I went directly into the experiment after that and went ahead and presented all three
parts of the activity, but when it came down to understanding how temperature
affects the density of water, they again became uncertain in their responses due to
their lack of experience with these topics. They decided to just focus on how salinity
affects density since it was a concept they could visualize by using a diagram and
presented that to the other group.
When it came time for the groups to present their information, the teacher
with whom I have worked many times addressed her colleagues with the same
question, and received the same response I received from them. She responded,
Nosotros usamos otros terminos, por ejemplo, ensenamos las cosas como peso y
volumen en vez de decir densidad. Miren como ensenan parses mas
adelantados. Ypor eso Paraguay estd detrds de ellos. Terminos cientificos no
ensenamos correctamente. This statement was very strong because it made me
realize that the teachers do understand that some concepts are missing from their
basic water education. However, they did not start their presentation with a single
question even when presenting the olimpiaguas which is clearly written with
opening questions for the students and which Jessica Blatt presented to them. In this
case the teachers did not have an inquisitive mindset before starting the presentation
even when presented in written fonn and Jessicas opening demonstration. This
could be because all those teachers fall under the old system of education, where
they were taught not to ask question and in the same way, they do not expect their
students in class to ask questions.
26 What does density mean?
27 We do not touch on this topic in 4*, 5th, and 6th grades, therefore we are not sure what it means.
28We use other terminology, for example, weight and volume instead of saying density. Look at how
more advanced counties teach. It is for that reason that Paraguay is behind them. We do not teach
the scientific terminology correctly.
30


The second teacher workshop in Valle Apua was attended by only six
teachers all from the same school. This was because the Peace Corps Volunteer in
this site only works with this school and thus only invited those teachers. The
workshop started the same as before, with an icebreaker, the introduction and then
the Project WET activities. The teachers at this workshop were not quite as
responsive as the ones in Ayolas. This could be because they did not know me and
again, the apprehension of foreigners might play a part or it might simply have been
disinterest in the theme of the workshop.
The suma de las partes activity was more of an individual task this time due
to the small group of teachers. Interestingly enough, all of the teachers presented
their drawings with a large house where they claimed,para usar los fines de
sernana para descansar. 29 This was an interesting view that these teachers had.
Since the community is not located on a large river like Ayolas or Pilar, they do not
take seeing a large river for granted. They view it as a tourist destination. They
almost all chose to leave the land in its natural state, or to plant fruit trees, again, a
connection to the rural upbringing in the community. One teacher even wanted to
start a tilapia farm. Given how Valle Apua is not located close to a large river, or
even any little river, the local connection was not as strong as it was in Ayolas for
this activity. Nonetheless, the teachers appeared to see some connections to the
affects we all have on water contamination.
After a quick recess, we proceeded again into the individual activities where
the teachers would have to teach to the other group. During the aventuras en la
densidad activity, one teacher commented how, es mucho mejor que solo
aprendiendo por teorla i0after seeing how the egg floated in the salt water. She
quickly made the comparison to an everyday experience where she places her eggs
in water to see if they have become rotten. Rotten eggs float and now she was
finally able to understand the science behind it.
It was noted how much more these teachers spoke Guarani between
themselves and even with me, even though the workshop was given in Castellano.
This does, however, reinforce the importance of having parts of the manual in
Guarani.
The final teacher workshop took place in Pilar. The Peace Corps Volunteer
in the city worked with the supervision to invite over 50 teachers to attend, but due
to heavy rain in the morning, only 21 teachers participated. However, they
29 To use on the weekends in order to rest.
It is much better than only learning by theory.
31


represented ten different schools in the city. Once again the responses for suma de
las partes were varied. Many modeled their land after Pilar, which is located on the
Rio Paraguay. Using the influence of what is around them, what they are familiar
with and how they were brought up, they created what they wanted on their portion
of the river. This is in accordance to how the teachers participated in both Ayolas
and Valle Apua. Again, like in Ayolas, the teachers were able to make a more
personal connection and make observations pertaining to the contamination of the
river due to the location of the city on the river. Also, many teachers are familiar
with Asuncion and easily could relate how dirty the city is and how that garbage
flows down to them in Pilar.
The individual group presentations went well. The teachers in the aventuras
en la densidad group were all able to describe and define density, but sometimes
still used the word weight to describe it. After the presentations, one teacher
commented to her colleagues, estas actividades son sencillas y cortas. iPor que
no usamos ya? Implementemos esta semana. 31
Following the format normally used for the MEC teacher workshops, every
teacher filled out an evaluation fonn (Table 2). There was a place for suggestions
below the standard rubric but generally the comments were all the same, which
stated, uEl taller estuvo muy bueno, continuen con las mismas actividades; que se
repita el taller. Oue mas docentes puedcin participar en el taller. 32
Table 2: Summary of evaluation forms
Category OK Satisfactory Outstanding
Ice Breaker 2 16 20
Material presentation 21 15
Suma de las partes activity 22 18
Activities in groups 1 16 24
The storm 1 17 21
In general 1 17 21
Overall, I felt that the teacher workshops were a success and the positive
feedback from the evaluations support this feeling. One teacher from Pilar took the
advice of her colleague and used one of the activities that very same week in her
31 These activities are simple and short. Why not use them now? Lets implement them this week.
32 The workshop was very good; continue the same activities, that the workshop is repeated. That
more teachers can participate in the workshop.
32


class, without the help any outside aide. She took her own initiative and executed
the lesson. This was reported to me by the Peace Corps Volunteer in Pilar. This
indicated to me that at least one teacher took to heart the message and intention of
the workshop, which was to present simple and fun ways to incorporate water
education in the classroom.
33


CHAPTER 5
THE PROCESSES OF CULTURAL CONTEXTUALIZATION
IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
From my perspective as a citizen of the United States coming into a
developing South American country, there are many stereotypes that we must try to
overcome in order to be effective environmental educators. Paraguayans are usually
very set in their ways and views of the world, with good reason since they used to
be punished for independent thinking or even just questioning what was given to
them.
No matter where a Peace Corps Volunteer is stationed geographically in the
country, we all have heard the same comments, "Sos estadounidense, ino? Ah, estas
aca para robar nuestra agua entonces. Sos espla 33 Granted these tend to come
more from people who live in the campo or places where there are a great number of
water resources, like the BAAPA, but I have heard these comments in large cities
and even from Paraguayans who no longer live in Paraguay. These comments can
lead one to believe that Paraguayans do value and understand they have a wonderful
resource, but they may not necessarily understand why it is important or how much
of Paraguay is comprised of water. The whole process of this investigation began
with the gathering of the water specific information on Paraguay. However, given
how Americans are perceived in Paraguay, the investigation for the background
water information for the annex to Project WET had to be done as to not arouse too
much suspicion on the part of certain organizations and people (Appendix E).
The implementation of Project WET activities also was a challenge.
Planning teacher workshops takes much coordination and patience. The chosen
sites are places where there are already Peace Corps Environmental Education
Volunteers who are using the Project WET materials in the schools. Permission had
to be gained by the three regional supervisions in order to properly award the four
pedagogic hours for the teacher workshops. This gives more incentive for the
teachers to actually show up and participate. Without an incentive, it is quite
possible that the teachers fall back into that tranquilo lifestyle and not attend or
want to commit to coming to the workshop. From those who did attend, a few
wanted to leave early or conveniently disappear for long periods of time.
Not only having an incentive for teacher participation, but timing was also
another important factor that was considered in the implementation of Project WET
33 You are an American right? You are here to rob our water. You are a spy.
34


teacher workshops. Since all three workshops took place during the week, the
teachers invited had to find substitutes (and the teachers usually pay out of their own
pocket) for their classes so that the students would not lose a day of school. This
was the case for Ayolas, but for Valle Apua it was not. The teachers who attended
did not find substitutes for their classes and so the students had a free day.
The normal school year after the Education Reform increased its hours from
666 to 800 (Caceres de Rodas & Garcete 1999). However, this is on paper only.
Frequent holidays (like feast day of the citys patron saint) and teacher strikes occur
on a regular basis. When a teacher strike does occur, they usually last anywhere
from two days to a week or even more depending on the reason for the strike
(usually the teachers are asking for more money). This lost time is supposed to be
made up at the end of the year or with Saturday classes, but this rarely happens.
The students are set farther back in their studies and thus topics that were supposed
to be covered in depth or activities that were supposed to be carried out might not
ever occur. This is one of the reasons that contribute to the low level of basic
education in Paraguay. In the 1999 report by Caceres de Rodas & Garcete, people
over the age of 25 had the equivalent of 6.2 years of schooling, with a higher level
in the urban areas (7.7 years) than the campo (4.2 years). For students ranging
between the ages of 7-18,31.8% had to repeat a grade level. Lastly, the overall
illiteracy rate for the country is 8.9%. Consequently, even though teachers may
have received professional development in water education through Project WET
workshops, there is no guarantee that the activities or lessons will be implemented
in their classrooms.
These statistics were taken into consideration in the adaption process of the
materials of Project WET Mexico. The length of the school day, and the time
allotted to each material the students have to leam is very important. Some
activities call for two or three class periods of 50 minutes each. This may not
always be the amount of time the teacher has for that subject each day. For
example, during the school year, the number of hours allotted per week for
Ciencias Naturales (Natural Science) is only three (or 120 minutes given a 40
minute class period three times a week). In comparison, their language classes and
mathematics classes total five hours a week for each (or 200 minutes given a 40
minute class period five times a week) (Jimenez 2008). See Appendix G for a
complete breakdown of the time distribution in the schools. This mimics the
education system in the U.S. where language and mathematics are given
precedence over science. However, this breakdown of hours per week is not
consistent with the normal day of four hours of class each day for five days a week
(a total of 20 hours). Jimenez (2008) does not explain why there are 30 hours a
week for class; she just states that fact.
35


Due to the copy right laws of UNESCO and Project WET, I was unable to
change a single word in the lessons from the manuals. The only change I was
allowed to make was to add the Paraguay specific material at the end of the teacher
manual. Also, the Project WET Mexico activities give a range of appropriate ages
or grade levels, and given again the low level of basic education in Paraguay, this
sometimes was not applicable to Paraguay. Some activities that are for a lower
level for Mexico might be appropriate for higher grade levels in Paraguay. One
needs to understand the system in Paraguay, in order to be able to choose activities
which are appropriate for the grade levels in the country.
Since some of the activities were very long, I selected certain points of the
activity to highlight with the teachers during the workshops that would fit into the
time frame more applicable to Paraguayan schools. Also, for all 11 chosen
activities, I highlighted the basic competencies in which the activity fit the best.
For example, the activity Agua en el aire (Water in the air) can be used in the
science classes and completes the basic competency in fourth grade which states,
"Ejecuta experiencias sencillas sobre las propiedcides, los estados fisicosylos
cambios de estados de la materia.24 In fifth grade, Determina procesos
cientlficos: formular hipotesis, experimental- y formular modelos. Reflexiona
acerca de la importancia de las capas de la atmosfera: composicidn. propiedades e
importancia del aire 34 35 and lastly in sixth grade, Aplica los procesos cientlficos
basicos (inferir, predeciry analizar datos) e integrados (controlar variables) en la
solucion de problemas 36 (Jimenez 2008).
Overall, adapting these activities to Paraguay would have been a challenge
had I not been living and speaking the language in Paraguay for over two years.
Working with teachers and understanding the school system helped in developing
the annex and choosing the activities. I know many people probably still thought I
was trying to steal the water, but the importance of this project was enough for me
to persevere and complete it without allowing stereotypes to influence my decision
to implement these workshops.
34 Execute simple experiences about the properties of the physical states and the changes of the states
of the material.
35 Determine the scientific process: formulate a hypothesis, experiment and formulate models.
Reflect on the importance of the of the layers in the atmosphere: composition, properties, and the
importance of air
36 Apply the basic scientific process (infer, predict, and analyze data) and controlled variables in the
solution of problems.
36


CHAPTER 6
IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
What does all of this mean for Peace Corps/Paraguay, Project WET, and for
the teachers, students, citizens of Paraguay and the future of environmental
education in Paraguay?
The information on water education was presented in workshops and
hopefully teachers will take the next step to implement water education on a more
consistent basis in the classroom. The Peace Corps Volunteers of the future could
fill that role alongside the teachers in the implementation process. The manual I
compiled will be distributed to incoming Environmental Education Volunteers and
they will be trained in how to use them. They also will have some simple and quick ^
activities they can utilize their first few months in site to start to build credibility
with the teachers and start to achieve a professional working relationship with
them. They also can hold their own teacher workshops on the same topic and thus
expand upon the work started in this thesis in the three sites in the south of the
country. The mission again for a Peace Corps Volunteer is to promote a better
understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and this includes
dispelling the notion that we are in the country to steal their water (Peace Corps
2008).
For Project WET, this signifies the beginning of the work and adaption of a
water education curriculum for a new country. Workshops have been presented to
41 educators in three different communities along with 11 activities and instruction
on how to use them in the classroom. The message of water conservation and water
education has been promoted in Paraguay. Yet it remains to be seen whether this
results in a change in thinking and behaviors in the context of classrooms.
Why promote Project WET at all in Paraguay? The benefits of this program
are the promotion of water activities, not only in the realm of conservation and
preservation, but also in the basic science of the properties of water. Knowledge
about a substance that covers 70% of our planet and one of the substances we need
to survive is extremely important. Project WET, as of this writing, does not operate
independently internationally. The organization usually works with host country
organizations, such as Peace Corps, to promote their materials.
Future research could investigate the long-term benefits of workshops.
Examples of research questions might include: Do teachers implement water
education and if so, how do they do it? Do teachers improvise their instruction to
make Project WET activities even more culturally relevant for their students? Do
37


students understand concepts related to water education better after experiencing
Project WET activities in class? Do students change their water habits at home?
Also, environmental education is not only about having fun and didactic
activities but also understanding why those activities are relevant for individuals,
communities and human society at large. Project WET needs to ensure that their
curriculum is socio-culturally relevant, meaningful and fun, they should work with
Peace Coips and other groups, which already are teaching why environmental
education is so important, in order to determine if learning and behaviors are being
changed as a result of their efforts through more research.
There are a few successes which can be pointed out pertaining to the teacher
workshops. The first was the ease of implementation once all the pre-workshop
coordination took place. All the activities planned were successfully presented and
the teachers responded well to the activities. The time spent planning ahead of
time paid off when the actual day arrived to present the materials. Also,
knowledge of how the school system organization (Appendix B) helped when it
came to knowing who to ask for permission for the different factors of the
workshops, like the pedagogic hours, or use of the library as a location to hold the
workshop. Lastly, the help of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Pilar and Valle Apua
camiot be undermined. Their knowledge of local contacts and advice on how to
present the information was also imperative for the ease of the presentation of these
workshops.
An interesting aspect of implementing these workshops in three different
locations was the different ways in which teachers react to Project WET activities.
It reflects ties to local communities and their upbringing such as the promotion of
agricultural systems. People have different experiences such as the indigenous
knowledge of floating an egg in the water to see if it has become rotten or not, and
use them in different yet meaningful ways to make sense of environmental and day
to day concepts. So this means that environmental education has to be flexible in
the sense of where it is being done; a city or the rural countryside. It means that
one must take a step back and evaluate what knowledge is already present, and
what is lacking, such as in the case of the teacher who said that they do not teach
density in school and they themselves are not sure of what the word means.
As for the future of environmental education in Paraguay, this process of
adapting and cultural contextualization is just the first step in a long road ahead.
We as Peace Corps Volunteers can only do so much. It is up to the teachers to be
motivated enough to teacher these subjects, but not only to teach the theory of
water properties, or the water cycle, but also to do it with dynamic activities.
Perhaps if education was emphasized and valued more in the society, the teachers
might be motivated enough to start teaching these topics on their own. However,
38


changes within the MEC competencies need to occur in order to reflect the
importance of water at every grade level, and not only beginning in 4th grade. This
is one difficulty the system will face. More teacher workshops sponsored by Peace
Corps Volunteers and the MEC need to occur to help the implementation process
occur more quickly and frequently. A distribution of the materials, such as the
water annex and Project WET activities should also occur with those workshops.
Funding, of course, would be the only issue. Who will pay for the distribution of
this information? Right now the cost of the printing of the water annex and basic
competency comparison was covered by Peace Corps/Paraguay. This is not
sustainable since at any given moment the organization could be asked to leave the
country. If this were to occur, then who would shoulder this cost? Project WET or
the MEC? These are factors to consider down the road as this process grows to a
nationwide extent. Also, to promote more teacher participation, perhaps paying for
the teachers substitutes would constitute an increase in attendance at the
workshops; but again, from where will that funding come?
Over all, this process of adaption of Project WET materials specifically for
the country of Paraguay was a bit challenging at times, but also an important first
step in the long process ahead for the future of water education in a country where
the water resources are abundant but the dissemination of information is not.
Water education for the citizens of Paraguay is in their reach.
39


APPENDIX A
COUNTRIES WHERE PROJECT WET OPERATES
Region Country Year Initiated
Cameroon 2003
Africa South Africa 2005
Togo 2003
Uganda 2003
Japan 2003
Lebanon 2005
Pakistan 2008
Asia South Korea 2008
Turkey 2008
United Arab Emirates 2006
Vietnam N/A
Central Costa Rica 2004
America Jamaica 2007
Argentina 2004
South America Chile 2007
Colombia N/A
Uruguay 2008
France 2007
Europe Hungary 2006
Italy 2007
Canada 1996
North America Mexico 1999
United States 1984
American Samoa 1998
Oceania Fiji 2003
Palau 1998
40


APPENDIX B
ORGANIZATION OF THE PARAGUAYAN SCHOOL SYSTEM
41


APPENDIX C
TEACHER SURVEY
jJambaapota onondivepa!
Nombre: Grado:
Marque los temas en que quisiera trabajar este ano:
Biodiversidad Agua (Contamination del agua, ciclo de agua)
Bosque/ Deforestation Basura
Animales Eco regiones del Paraguay Flora y Fauna en
extincion
Salud/Enfemiedades relacionadas al medioambiente Ecosistemas
Ecologfa
Actividades que le gustaria incorporar este ano en su aula o escuela (Marcar
cada uno):
Juegos
Canciones
Plan integrado
Huerta escolar
Materiales didacticos
Experimentos
Campanas ambientales
Mascaras/TIteres
Murales con mapa del mundo o del Paraguay
Escriba los dlas que prefiere trabajar:
El mes (o cuando) que le gustaria empezar:
Su informacion de contacto/telefono es:
Otras cosas que le interesan, ideas, sugerencias:
Teatros
Viveros
42


APPENDIX D
LIST OF PROJECT WET ACTIVITIES
FOR TEACHER WORKSHOPS
Spanish Title English Title Objective of Activity
Memorama Memorama Identify the three states of water, recognize that water can be contaminated and cleaned
Agua en el aire? Water in the air? Demonstrate that the air contains water, determine the importance of water in the air
Agua segura Safe water Observe and investigate forms of water contamination and its affects for human health
Suma de las partes A sum of the parts Differentiate between point and nonpoint contamination, leam that all people are responsible for quality of water in rivers
Aventuras en la densidad Adventures in density Demonstrate how heat and salinity affect density, relate the compaction of the molecules with density of the same states
Olimpiaguas Water Olympics Demonstrate the properties of adhesion and cohesion, relate the cohesion and adhesion with everyday activities
jlmagina! Imagine! Identify and describe the changes in the states of water that occur in the water cycle
La Tormenta The storm Work together to mimic the sounds of a storm, leam about precipitation
Parte y reparte Parts and distribution Analyze how people perceive and value the diverse uses of water in its distinctive forms
Agua para todos Water for all Illustrate the form in that the multiple uses of water can affect the quality and quantity of water
Captacion, almacenamiento y liberation Capture, storage, and liberation Recognize that subterranean water, superficial water, and precipitation contribute to filling water in wetlands
43


APPENDIX E
WATER IN PARAGUAY ANNEX
USED IN PROJECT WET
Agua cn cl Paraguay
Paraguay es un pals rico en recursos de agua dulce. Esta ubicado entre los 10
pai'ses mas ricos en biodiversidad y disponibilidad de agua dulce per capita en el
mundo. Tiene un gran potencial hidrico que puede satisfacer la demanda de los
usos de la poblacion del pals. La disponibilidad de agua es de 60.000m3/ano.37 El
territorio de Paraguay se ubica en su totalidad en la Cuenca del Plata, la segunda
cuenca mas grande en Sudamerica, luego del Amazona y la quinta mas grande del
mundo.38 Aunque Paraguay parece tener suficiente agua para cumplir la demanda,
no es asl. Hay fluctuaciones en la disponibilidad de agua debido a las estaciones,
los efectos de El Nino/La Nina, y los usos del agua en general.
37 Usos y Gobemabilidad del Agua en el Paraguay. 2006. Imprenta AGR
38 Barros. V. 2004. The Major Discharge Events in the Paraguay River: Magnitudes, Source Regions,
and Climate Forcings. American Meteorological Society.
44


Fuente: Oiiginal de Informe GWP-SAMTAC/Crespo y Martinez (2000).
Figura 1: Ubicacion del Paraguay en la Cuenca del Plata
Usos de agua:
1. Usos basicos para la gente:
El manejo de agua en Paraguay estaba a cargo de la Corporacion de Obras
Sanitarias de la Ciudad de Asuncion (CORPOSANA) y la Division de
Saneamiento General del Ministerio de Salud Publica y Bienestar Social,
cuando la implementacion de sistemas para agua portable empezo en la
decada de los 50. Actualmente, CORPOSANA ya no existe debido a que
paso a ser regulada por la Ley 16/14 que crea la Empresa de Servicios
Sanitarios de Paraguay (ESSAP), ente autarquico. En caso que la poblacion
sea menor a 10.000 habitantes la promocion del agua y disposicion de
excreta es responsabilidad del Servicio Nacional de Saneamiento Ambiental
(SENASA).
45


El Comite de Derechos Economicos, Sociales, y Culturales de la
Organizacion de las Naciones Unidas declaro que cada ser humano tiene el
derecho de acceso al agua potable. Ademas, el Informe Mundial sobre
Desarrollo Humano estipula que por lo menos la cantidad de agua limpia por
dia es 20 litros para mantener una vida saludable.39 Algunos ejemplos de uso
incluyen: higiene corporal y consumo humano (beber y uso en la
preparacion de comida). Es responsabilidad del gobiemo permitir a sus
ciudadanos este derecho basico.
En el 2005, 63,2% de hogares en Paraguay tenlan agua portable.40 La meta
para agua potable es de 65% hogares para el 2015.
Figura 2: Cobertura de personas con acceso de agua portable
Tendencia de cobertura de agua potable (en red) (%)
v________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________y
Fuente: Elaboration propia con base en Encuestasde Hogares DGEEC
39 Informe Mundial sobre Desarrollo Humano 2006. Mas alia de la escasez: poder, pobreza y la
crisis mundial del agua. PNUD
40 Usos y Gobernabilidad del Agua en el Paraguay. 2006. Imprenta AGR
46


:^R3DBEOWl£aSL'l
Agua subterranea y agua superficial pordepartamento
Subterranea Superficial^
V________________________________________________________________________________J
Fuente: DRH SENASA, 2004.
Figura 3: Por departamento del Paraguay, agua subterranea y superficial
2. Alimentacion
El primer uso del agua en Paraguay es en el sector agricola. En los ultimos
50 anos, este sector ha crecido desafortunadamente sin una planificacion y
con alta tasa de deforestacion de los bosques nativos. El uso de pesticidas o
agroquimicos puede contaminar el agua y tambien el suelo, por lo tanto los
seres humanos no estan recibiendo una alimentacion saludable.
Tambien el cultivo de arroz, especialmente en los departamentos de
Misiones e Itapua, requiere grandes cantidades de agua para el riego. El rio
Tebicuary y su cuenca sienten la alta demanda de este cultivo.
La mayoria de los bovinos en Paraguay (una poblacion cerca de 10.000.000
de cabezas) viven en el Chaco, pero tambien, el departamento de Misiones
tiene una gran explotacion ganadera. Los departamentos de Presidente
Hayes, San Pedro, Neembucu e Itapua son los lugares donde el ganado
porcino tiene importancia. Generalmente, el agua que se esta usando para
47


ambos tipos de production es de origen atmosferico. Por lo tanto, el
impacto de la extraction de agua de fuentes subterraneos o de rfos es menos.
En casos de sequias o menos precipitation, los rancheros necesitan buscar
otro fuente de agua. Esto aumenta la demanda de agua subterranea.
3. Naturaleza
Los seres humanos no son los unicos que usan el agua para sobrevivir. La
biodiversidad de flora y fauna y los ecosistemas unicos de Paraguay, son
dependientes de los sistemas de agua del pais. Paraguay es rico en lagos,
rios, arroyos, humedales y acuiferos. Algunos estiman que entre 15 y 20%
del territorio son zonas de humedales.41 42 Pero, otros estiman que es mas de
,p . 1
35%. Lastimosamente, estos espacios naturales necesitan ser protegidos, y
hasta ahora, no todos estan reconocidos. En particular, las praderas son
ecosistemas fundamentales en la reproduction de aves y otras especies, la
purification del agua y provee fuentes de economicas para la gente que vive
cerca. Estos recursos son utilizados para algunas cosas como: came, lana,
cuero, energia en la fomia de lena y turismo.
4. Industria
Paraguay tiene una variedad de industrias, como industrias alimenticias
(lacteas, aceites, harina, dulces, azucar, algodon etc.), papeles y cartones, e
industrias quimicas (plasticos, agroquimicos). Para ser competitiva, la
industria necesita agua a bajo costo y de buena calidad y cantidad. La
industria tambien es responsable por el uso del agua y el mantenimiento de
la limpieza del agua. La mayoria de las industrias en Paraguay estan en el
area metropolitana de Asuncion y dependen del agua subterranea.
Debido a la ubicacion de la segunda cuenca mas grande de Sudamerica,
Paraguay tiene la habilidad de producir electricidad hidroelectrica para todo
el pais. Hay tres represas hidroelectricas muy importantes en Paraguay:
Itaipu, con una capacidad de 12.600 Mega Wat. En esta hidroelectrica
Paraguay comparte la electricidad con Brasil. Yacyreta, con una capacidad
de 1.700 Mega Wat, la cual es compartida con Argentina. La tercera es
Acaray, la cual no esta compartida y tiene una capacidad de 190 Mega Wat.
Los departamentos de Alto Parana y Caaguazu comparten esta represa.
41 Usos y Gobemabilidad del Agua en el Paraguay. 2006. Imprenta AGR
42Salas-Duefias, D., Mereles, F., Yanosky, A. 2004. Humedales de Paraguay.
48


Fuente: Vision de los Recuisos Hidiicos del Paraguay en la
Cuenca del Plata, ivvAv.cicpLata.otg, 2004.
Figure 4: Centrales hidroelectricas en operacion y potenciales
Humedales del Paraguay:
Es imposible discutir los humedales de Paraguay sin hablar primeramente de
Ramsar. La Convencion de Ramsar es un acuerdo intemacional que se
firmo en 1975 en la cuidad de Ramsar, Iran. Basicamente, lamisiondela
Convencion Ramsar es la conservacion y preservacion de humedales.
Durante la convencion, se formo una lista de reglas para definir un sitio
Ramsar. Para que esto sea posible, el humedal debe reunir algunos
requisitos exigidos por Ramsar y ser seleccionado en base a la importancia
49


que tienen en temiinos ecologicos, botanicos, zoologicos y hidrologicos;
pero tienen prioridad aquellos humedales que son importantes
A 5
intemacionalmente para las aves acuaticas en cualquier estacion del ano.
Desde diciembre del 2003, Paraguay ya tiene cinco Sitios Ramsar: Lago
Ypoa, Estero Milagro, Tinfunque, Rio Negro y Chacho Lodge.
Todos los humedales no son iguales. Hay varios que incluyen rios, riachos y
arroyos. La caracteristica de estos es el constante movimiento del agua, o
lotico. En comparacion, los lagos y lagunas son lenticos; o ecosistemas
donde no hay constante movimiento del agua. Un gran desafio en esta clase
de ecosistema es un fenomeno llamado eutrofizacion. Este ocurre cuando
hay un alto nivel de fosfatos (debido a fertilizantes inorganicos y jabon) en
el agua y la produccion primaria (plantas, algas, etc.) usa la mayor cantidad
de oxigeno. Entonces, los peces no pueden respirar y el resultado es la
muerte de aquellos organismos. Lago Ypoa y Lago Ypacarai estan sufriendo
de este problema.
Los esteros y pantanos son otros tipos de humedales. Estan ubicados entre el
agua y la tierra. Recientemente, estos ecosistemas estan desapareciendo
debido a la cultivacion de arroz, canales de drenaje, diques contra
inundaciones y otras instalaciones que interfieren con el sistema natural.
A veces mezclado con lagunas, rios, riachos, arroyos y otras depresiones
grandes, como el Gran Pantanal, el humedal de agua dulce mas grande del
mundo con un area entre 140 mil y 200 mil km", el Bajo Chaco y en el
departamento de Neembucu, se puede encontrar otro tipo de humedal
llamado bosque inundable. Estos bosques son muy importantes para los
afluentes de los rios Paraguay y Parana. Proveen habitats para muchas
especies, alimentos para los peces, y protegen la produccion superficial de
agua y el curso de los rios. En Paraguay, la Ley Forestal protege estos
bosques de deforestacion y explotacion.
Gracias a las represas del Paraguay, hay embalses artificiales. Estos ayudan
en zonas donde hay pocos cuerpos de agua y pueden aumentar la
biodiversidad. Pero, ironicamente eliminan tierras fertiles y pueden
aumentar la salinidad del suelo, y por supuesto, cambiar el ecosistema. El 43
43 Burgos, S., Gonzalez, R., Rodas, O. 2004. Gula para la conservation de los humedales del
Neembucu.
50


embalse de Itaipu, tiene una capacidad de 29 km3 y por otro lado, el embalse
de Yacyreta, inunda 1.690 km" y almacena cerca de 81 km3.
La mayor parte de los paraguayos viven cerca o en uno de estos humedales.
La gente utiliza los recursos de este ecosistema. Ademas, la cultura guarani
tiene su origen cerca de esta clase de ecosistema y hay muchas mitologias y
leyendas sobre el agua.
Amenazas a los humedales:
1. Construction de obras de ingenierla (rutas, represas, canales, hidrobia
Paraguay-Parana)
2. Drenaje y conversion para la agricola o ganaderia
3. La caza y pesca sin limites
4. Deforestation
5. Contaminacion industrial y agroindustrial
6. Expansion de zonas urbanas
7. Introduction de animales y plantas exoticas
8. Sequlas
9. Inadecuada proteccion y manejo de recursos naturales
10. Mineria
A pesar de que Paraguay tiene cinco Sitios Ramsar, la calidad de estos sitios
es pesima. Cada ano desde la decada de los 70, la condition de los
humedales de Paraguay se ha deteriorado. Posiblemente esto sea debido a la
falta de education ambiental y buena proteccion a nivel gubemamental. Se
notan condiciones como la erosion en la cuenca, inundaciones con mas
frecuencia, contaminacion del agua, mas especies exoticas y mas especies en
peligro de extincion, y un alto nivel de la poblacion humana.
Los humedales son como una zona tapon durante tormentas y otros desastres
naturales. En Paraguay, la funcion principal de los humedales es regular el
clima regional en la Cuenca del Rio de la Plata. Tambien, es la fuente
principal de evaporation y la formation de nubes durante el verano, que
ayuda a la precipitation para la ganaderia y agricultura. Pero, no solo tiene
un efecto grande, en una escala local, los humedales ayudan con la
regulation de la temperatura en las ciudades y pueblos.
51


La biodiversidad de los animates de los humedales del Paraguay44:
Peces: 48%
Aves: 21%
Reptiles: 14%
Manu'feros: 11%
Anfibios: 6%
El Pantanal:
El humedal mas grande del mundo esta ubicado entre Bolivia, Brasil y
Paraguay. Es reconocido intemacionalmente por su biodiversidad.45 Mas de
600 especies de aves viven aqui y tambien, muchos animales unicos, como
iguanas, ardillas, nutrias gigantes o arirai, las cinco especies de monos en el
Paraguay, y extranos lagartos como el viboron. Las inundaciones en el
Pantanal ocurren debido a la inhabilidad del Rio Paraguay de llevar las aguas
del verano. La region funciona como un gran embalse que demora el flujo
de las aguas provenientes de la cuenca superior, retardando la crecida anual
en aproximadamente seis meses.
Precipitacion:
La precipitacion media anual en Paraguay es de 1.128 mm, que suponen
unos 459 km3/ano en todo el territorio paraguayo. Las perdidas por
evapotranspiracion y evaporation suponen el 80% de la precipitacion en el
pais. El 44% recarga los acuiferos, mientras que el 56 % restante se
convierte en escorrentia superficial. La precipitacion es irregular v el Chaco
recibe menos precipitacion durante el ano que la region Oriental.46
Tambien, hay una tendencia en la precipitacion. Generalmente, la
precipitacion disminuye del nolle al sur y del este al oeste. En el norte del
pais, el ciclo sigue con mucha lluvia por el verano (diciembre a febrero) y
mucho menos por el inviemo.
44 Burgos, S., Gonzalez, R., Rodas, O. 2004. Guia para la conservation de los humedales del
Neembucu.
45 Barrios, V. 2004. The major Discharge Events in the Paraguay River: Magnitudes, Source
Regions, and Climate Forcings. American Meteorological Society Journal of Hydrology.
46 http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries/paraguay/indexesp.stm
52


-64 -63 -62 -61 -60 -59
-19 J------------1----------1----------L
58 -5?
56
J___________L
-54 -53
Areas con Sequia Semi
Permanente
-21 _
{
flea de Inundadones Riberenas
-23.
-24 .
-25 _
ArOadeTormentasSeveras


--23
- -24
_ -25
-27 -
Area de Inundadones Riberenas
1W 200bn
- -27
t--------1------1-------r
-64 -63 -62 -61 -60 -59 -58
. -28
-54 -53
FuenteJ. Baez, APfiH, 2006.
Figura 5: Areas de inundaciones, sequfas y tormentas de Paraguay
Rios e inundaciones:
El Rio Parana empieza en la confluencia de los Rios Paranaiba y Grande en
Minas Gerais, Brasil y fluye hasta Paso de Patria en el departamento de
Neembucu donde encuentra el Rio Paraguay.47 El Rio Paraguay es el mas
47 Especies Nativas del Rio Parana. 2009. Departamento de obras complementarias, Sector Medio
Ambiente de la Entidad Binacional Yacyreta.
53


importante tributario al Rio Parana y uno de lo mas importante rios en la
cuenca del Plata. El Pantanal es responsable de la regulation de
inundaciones y flujo del rio.48 Hay una correlation de anos con El Nino e
inundaciones de los rios. Antes del ano 1904, no habia records de las
inundaciones, pero por cuentas historicas se puede estimar cuando hubo
inundaciones graves en el Rio Paraguay y el Rio Parana. Las inundaciones
de importancia en el siglo XX: 1904, 1982-83, 1992, 1997-98.
Rio/Arroyo Area de la cuenca (Km2) Longitud (Km)
Parana 3.100.000 4.700
Paraguay 1.000.000 2.670
Pilcomayo 270.000 2.500
Tebicuary 235
Monday 170
48 Quiros, R., Bechara J.A., de Resende E.K. 2007. Fish diversity and ecology, habitats and fisheries
for the un-dammed riverine axis Paraguay-Parana-Rio de la Plata (Southern South America). Aquatic
Ecosystem Health & Management.
54


Fuente: Vision de los fiecursos Hidiicosdel Paraguay en la Cuenca del Plata, wviw.cicplata.orq, 2004.
Figura 6: Sistema hidrico de Paraguay, arroyos y rfos
Acuiferos:
El aculfero mas conocido en el mundo es el Aculfero Guarani. Tiene un area
de 1.200.000 km2, tocando 20% del Paraguay y tambien, Brasil, Uruguay y
la Argentina, y tiene un volumen de 40.000 km3. El agua esta 50 m a 800 m
debajo de la tierra con un maximo de profundidad de 1.800 m.49 Con una
demanda mas alta ahora, la conservation y el manejo del aculfero es muy
49 http://www.natureserve.org/latinamerica/guaraniAquifer.jsp
55


importante para prevenir la contamination del agua. El agua no solamente
es usada para agua potable. Tambien los usos incluyen industria, riego para
agricultura y turismo debido a la temperatura alta (entre 60C a 65 C) en
varios lugares. Los turistas pueden banarse en el agua caliente como una
50
spa.
El acuifero Patino es mas pequeno y esta ubicado debajo de Asuncion hasta
el departamento Paraguari. Provee agua para aproximadamente dos millones
de personas del area urbana. Tiene un area de 173 km2, es decir que el
Patino es "el hennano menor del Acuifero Guarani. Como el Acuifero
Guarani, el Patino siente una demanda mas alta aliora. La SEAM (Secretaria
del Ambiente), menciona que cada ano el nivel del agua baja un metro.50 51
Ademas, la contamination y la salinization son los problemas mas graves.
La basura que entra por los pozos y los restos de las letrinas estan arriba del
acuifero y pasan por el suelo a contaminar el agua.
50 Office for Sustainable Development and Environment. 2005. Guarani Aquifer System.
5lVargas, D. 2007. Paraguayan Aquifer Wounded and Contaminated.
http://tierramerica.net/english/2007/0505/iarticulo.shUnl
56


Contamination:
Figura 7: Area del Acui'fero Guarani
Las acciones de los seres humanos producen la contaminacion en el agua. La
agricola, industria, ganaderla y minerla producen demasiada contaminacion sin
mucha regulation. Metales pesados, agroqulmicos, basura y tambien el suelo
debido a la erosion de la tierra son ejemplos de la contaminacion que hay en
Paraguay. El tema de los metales pesados es muy serio a la salud de los seres
humanos porque los peces tienen un nivel de aquellos metales muy alto en sus
cuerpos. Cuando los seres humanos los comen, estan incorporando los metales
pesados en sus cuerpos tambien.
Parte cultural: Leyendas
Los carpincheros:
Historica figura ancestral de fantasmas navegando incasables por las
aguas y esterales, capturando el pan de cada dla, que en este caso es de came
57


y huesos: carpincho, peces, yacare, o cualquier otro animal que viva en las
aguas y en los humedales. Ya sea en canoa, o en cachibeo, viven del la
naturaleza prodiga y paradisiaca que Dios doto a estos lugares. Navegar,
matar, y cazar son acciones en la cual esta gente marginada y discriminada,
que el poder no piensa en ellos encuentran en el rio la descarga emocional de
sentirse superiores a alguien, de tener poder sobre algo y matando descargan
sus amargliras y son el jmente entre el pasado ancestral y el presente
indiferente y mordaz.,,5L
El secreto del Ypoa y la Campana Perdida
En el periodo colonial los jesuitas de las misiones, les ensenaban a
los indios reducidos toda clase de arte. En esa epoca fue fundida una
campana por los jesuitas, la mas grande y sonora de la region. Sin embargo
muchos ignoran su historia. La historia sigue asi.
El Superior de la Congregacion ordeno que se hiciera fundir una
campana cuya resonancia se oyera desde las mas lejanas comarcas. Juntaron
los metales de cobre, hierro, oro, hasta plata, para que la campana fuera mas
potente, profunda, sonora y suave.
Alrededor del cuello de la sonada campana tendria inscripciones de
los libros sagrados. Luego cuando estuviera concluida, se colocaria en el
centro de la poblacion en el atrio de una de las mas hermosas y artisticas
iglesias jesuitica. Esto es para que se difundiera sus sonidos de lejos.
Prepararon los metales, los instrumentos, el molde a la vez el crisol.
Empezaron a fundir la campana, trabajando por el dia y noche, prestando
atencion a los mas pequenos detalles, a ver si la obra saliese con exito. Pero
cuando prepararon el molde, la campana aun incandescente, observaron que
los trabajos no resultaron, faltaba otro elemento y la aleacion no estaba bien
mezclada.
Tuvieron que fundir de nuevo, los metales necesitaban un fuego de
mas alta caloria, porque la plata no habia querido unirse al hierro. El
Superior supo del fracaso, se irrito y con su nerviosidad amenazo a los
tecnicos. Dijo: Si la segunda fundicion no salia, castigaria como se merece,
porque los metales mermaron considerablemente. Tuvieron que agregarle a
la mezcla con mas cantidad de oro y plata, para obtener un tamano y la
sonoridad deseada. Con la perdida de los metales de mas valor, los tecnicos
tuvieron que reponer, porque si esta ultima volvia a fracasar, el Superior
interpretaria como una traicion a el y a la Iglesia. Con los tecnicos, trabajaba
57 Salas-Duefias, D., Mereles, F., Yanosky, A. 2004. Humedales de Paraguay. Capitulo 5.
58


un criado de los jesuitas, un robusto indio, muy inteligente y obediente; tenia
una hija, se llamaba Ysapy (Rocio). Era muy hermosa, la mas bella de la
poblacion y dentro de las tribus. Le amaba a su padre con todo su corazon.
Ella escucho de una de sus doncellas la amenaza del Superior a los
trabajadores, y junto los tesoros que tenia y fue ante un sabio de la
mineralogia, con la intension de pedir el secreto para mezclar los metales. El
sabio la recibio cordialmente. Ysapy le ofrecio los tesoros, en pago, si le
revelaba algun metodo de fundir los metales para el exito seguro en la
conclusion de la obra. El sabio consulto su libro de los principios del
Universo. Despues de revisar, dijo: No se mezclan el oro y el cobre ni la
plata y el hierro, a menos que la came de una virgen sea disuelta en el
mismo crisol, mas aun la sangre de la misma con las de los metales en
fusion.
Ysapy contenta regreso a su casa, pero no encontro a nadie que se
animara a tal gesto suicida y quedo pensativa y resolvio a ultima hora. Por
fin el dia llego para fundir nuevamente la obra. Ysapy fue al taller y cuando
el momento llego a fundir los metales, Ysapy se arrojo en el liquido
candente, seguido de un grito lastimero, cual si fuera un canto de un pajaro
herido pronunciando por ultima vez en voz guarani: Che ru nde rehehape
amano (padre mio por ti muero).
Se oia un sonido suave y melodioso, parecia un canto del pajaro
campana. El padre de Ysapy quedo enloquecido de dolor, intento tambien
tirarse detras de su querida hija pero sus companeros lo retuvieron. Instantes
despues de un exito completo quedo muerto. Este fue el fin entre el padre y
la hija, cumplieron un deber de amor de la religion de Dios. Todos quedaron
en choque y dolor por sus perdidas. El sacrificio de Ysapy fue un exito. Se
oia el sonido de la campana de lejos.
Luego, los Jesuitas tuvieron que abandonar el pais y sus misiones
porque fueron perseguidos por los gobemantes del pais. Poco antes del
exodo del pais, los Jesuitas resolvieron trasponer la campana en un lugar
oculto, y ordeno a un Jefe Cacique que la llevaran donde a el le pareciera
mejor ocultar la joya de los jesuitas. Los indios resolvieron llevarla al tapyi.
Para este fin tenian que cruzar el lago Ypoa. Embarcaron la gran campana
con mucho cuidado, pero al llegar a un lugar cenagoso choco el cachibeo,
por un raigon y se volco, tanto los marineros y la campana cayeron en el
medio del historico lago Ypoa. Hasta hoy dia dicen los lugarenos, a veces se
escucha el repiqueteo de una sonora campana de ultratumba. Cuando el lago
esta embravecido por las tormentas, dicen que se percibe mejor de noche,
cual si fuera una musica celestial.
59


El mito de Pira hu v el origen legendario del lago Ypoa:
Hay un riachuelo llamado Reventon que esta ubicado en el sur del
municipio de Naguaru hacia el arroyo Caanabe, naturalmente divide
Carapegua y este partido. Reventon empieza en Paso Malo, luego cruza y se
junta con otro arroyo para formar Calandria, y una pequena arteria surtidora
nacida de una region cenagosa llamada Monai Kuare, una serpiente de
leyenda. Reventon sigue su curso hasta el arroyo Yaguaron en el campo de
Guaviray, que alimenta las aguas de la laguna Ypecua.
En las aguas en el campo de Guaviray, habia un animal semejante a
un monstruoso pez negro, Pira hu. Este monstruo era feroz y devoraba
cualquier cosa. No nadaba en principio, preferia estar en el suelo abriendo
una gran zanja con su colosal peso por donde se recogian y circulaban las
aguas de los esteros riberenos. Impulsada por el hambre, Pira hu se dirigia
hacia el occidente, llevando una gran cantidad de agua hasta llegar asi hasta
la laguna Ypecua, de donde paso al lago Ypoa, su sitio de residencia.
Ypoa actualmente era Ypora, que por una deduction idiomatica
alude a Pira hu considerando como deidad monstruosa del agua con el
nombre Ypora, sobrenombre de Pira hu. Pero hay otras opiniones sobre
accidentes desgraciados ocurridos en lago Ypoa, atribuidos a la action de
Ypora. Algunos creen que Ypoa significa agua de la suerte (Ypoa significa
suerte en guarani) por la riqueza de la flora y la fauna en la region.
Debido a su peso y lento movimiento, Pira hu dejo una zanja ancha y
profunda por la senda recorrida que se lleno de las aguas de los esteros,
dando origen al riachuelo Reventon. No se puede navegar Reventon los dias
lluviosos.
Pira hu es hijo de Pyhare, (tiniebla) y de Y (agua), que quedo
fecundada despues de ser cubierta por el manto tenebroso de la noche que
bajo del cielo Yvaga, para gozar de las caricias de su esposa mientras
Kuarahy (sol), viajaba por el oceano misterioso del abismo. Pira hu o
Ypora, es deidad vigilante de las aguas de la tierra Guarani. Ypora es el
mensajero de Tupang, Dios guarani, enviado del cielo para vigilar como un
centinela alerta a las aguas de Guarani con el fin de impedir que los mortales
atrevidos, las profanen impunemente.
Tambien, en lago Ypoa hay un fantasma bianco y vaporoso y a veces
negro y nebuloso llamado Cerro Valdes. Otras se manifiestan en las aguas y
dan miedo a los mortales que quieran llegar hasta el lago.
Cuando un cazador o pescador u otro mortal intenta cruzar el
pequeno estrecho de referenda para acercarse al Cerro Valdes, el Ypora
60


agita las ondas, dando origen al desencadenamiento de un fuerte torbellino
de agua que se levanta verticalmente en forma de una tromba blanca
vaporosa de espesa neblina que se divisa en lontananza en la lejania del
horizonte sobre la antes tranquila superficie liquida. Al chocar con la debil
embarcacion, suena como un tiro de canon, y el agua se divide en dos
brazos. Se puede ver la arena del fondo pero al volver a juntarse la arroja
lejos con toda la carga o la sepulta en su entrana misteriosa.
Reveton simboliza la fuerza bravia, rebelde y hostil de la naturaleza
en su lucha etema contra la accion civilizadora del hombre que tiende a
dominar la tierra, el oceano, y el aire, cabalgando sobre el mundo come rey
soberano de la creacion.
Pira hu/Ypora es la representacion del espiritu protector de las aguas
en el seno de la naturaleza bruta, salvaje, virgen de preteritas edades.
61


APPENDIX F
TEACHER WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
(TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH)
Time 15 minutes Activity Ice breaker
5 minutes Introduction Importance of being didactic in the classroom
10 minutes Why teacher about water? Water resources in Paraguay Basic competencies
15 minutes Presentation of Project WET materials
30 minutes Project WET Activity (Sum of the parts)
15 minutes Recess
30 minutes Separate into groups to practice presenting other activities from Project WET
45 minutes Presentation of activities to other group
10 minutes Conclusion, evaluation, presentation of certificates
62


Introduction The imporatnce of being didactic in the classroom
63


Why water education?
Resources in Paraguay
Paraguay is located as one of the 10 richest counties rich in biodiversity and
fresh water availability per capita in the world.
Paraguay is entirely located in the watershed del Plata, the second largest
watershed in South America, after the Amazon, and fifth largest in the
world.
Paraguay has many lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and aquifers. Some
estimate that between 15-20% of the country are wetlands, but others
estimate it is closer to 35%.
The actions of human beings produce the contamination of the water.
Agriculture, industry, ranching and mining produce the majority of the
contamination and there is not much regulation to how much they produce.
Heavy metals are a very serious health problem for human beings because
the fish have a high level of those metals in their bodies. When humans eat
the fish, they are incorporating the heavy metals into their own bodies, a
process called biomagnification.
Basic Competencies
4th Grade: The Natural Sciences favor processes knowledge construction that help
the students question, doubt, demonstrate curiosity and creativity, create, plan and
form solutions to problematic situations related to nature, such as: collection and
disposal of sold residues, management of hydrologic resources of the community,
among others.
5th Grade: This unit favors that the students make assertive decisions, with a
scientific attitude, in the formation of solutions to problematic situations referring to
the diver classes of biomes, in addition that they understand the ecological
succession and beginning with this knowledge, they can construct attitudes of
respect, care and preservation of the environment.
6th Grade: The development of this unit with permit that the students resolve
problematic situations, applying the knowledge of aquatic biomes, trophic pyramids,
and the conservation and preservation of natural resources.
64


APPENDIX G
WEEKLY ALLOTMENT OF TIME FOR
SEGUNGO CICLO CLASSES
Fundamental Components: Democratic Education, Family Education, Environmental Education Local Academic Component Component Area Weekly Percentage Total Total Minutes
Natural Science 10 3 120
Social Studies Art Education 13.33 4 6.67 1 2
Physical Education 3.33 ; 1 40
Flealth Maternal Language 6.67 16.67 2 | 80 5 200
Second Language 13.33 4 160
Mathematics 16.67 5 200
Work and Technology Personal and Social Development 6.67 6.67 2 2 80 80
Educational and Vocational Orientation 3.33 1 40
Community Project 3.33 1 40
Total Academic Component 100 30 1 1,200
These times do not include the designated time for neither recess, nor entrance and
exit from school. Also, the Total Minutes column is based on a class session of 40
minutes. Lastly, given the normal school day of four hours, five days a week, this
calculation does not exactly add up.
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