¿Puedo tomAr tu foto?
(travel ESSAY + photos)

In July 2017, I got the privilege to travel to Paraguay on a scholarship paid by a generous donor from my workplace. Almost every moment from booking my tickets to actually being there had a rather surreal quality. Paraguay is a hidden gem nestled away in central South America. You’ll rarely find them in the news as the Paraguayan people and their government keep to themselves.

Once we arrived at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport just outside of the capital city Asunción, we drove three hours northeast to Yrybucuá, a small farming town in the San Pedro province. This town had red-orange dusty roads and lots of flat farmland. Pastel-colored homes sparsely decorated the bleak landscape.

When we got to the agriculture education center we were staying at, it wasn’t long and I felt very comfortable and started making friends with the staff. We did some painting and minor construction projects mostly, but I got to participate in a special project about two days in. Angelica, one of the staff leaders took me to visit several folks throughout the town. She told me to introduce myself and ask if I could take their photo. I was nervous, but Angelica explained to me that the people would love to see their photo captured digitally on my camera. 

"¿Puedo tomar tu foto?" Almost everyone responded “Si!” and had a big smile on their face. I didn’t realize that taking someone’s photo could make such an impact and impression. There is something about capturing photographs that connects and brings us all together. Below are some of the photos I captured while in Paraguay. Thanks to Michael Korsgren for helping me translate. Michael is an incredible photographer with a big heart for others. Check out his work here!