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A young girl in Paraguay enjoying the book "Cayendo Hacia Arriba." I like how the flower appears to be tucked behind her ear.

Falling Uphill in Paraguay with the Peace Corps

Not Lost in Translation

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A Peace Corp instructor reads from “Cayendo Hacia Arriba” to students from the group Jóvenes por Paraguay.

Through a donation from the author himself, Cayendo Hacia Arriba (Falling Uphill), finally made its Paraguayan debut! (Update: This experience was so successful that a local philanthropist bought 35 more books so that the program could continue.)

Scott Stoll is an author from my hometown who served as the U.S. Embassy’s cultural ambassador in Argentina during the 2011-2012 school year. His time in Argentina and collaboration with Argentine schools resulted in a Spanish language version of his book, Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life, about his 4-year journey around the world on his bicycle.

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The books always need a personal touch.

Thanks to a generous book donation from Scott a group of Paraguayan youth at a national leadership camp called Jóvenes por Paraguay were able to plan a short reading workshop for kids at a nearby orphanage.

The teenage youth and younger kids seemed to love the story equally– always receiving big laughs at the part of the story where Scott says he got stuck in mud in the desert until a family rescued him. The family told him he was in luck that they came because anacondas, tarantulas and piranhas love the taste of people from the United States.

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A girl holding the picture of her dream to become a dentist.

It was great to watch the teenagers work together to plan how they were going to present the books to the youth and what activities and games they were going to play with the kids. The book donation was one of six projects that were used to introduce Paraguayan youth at the camp to volunteer projects and community service. You can read a bit more about that camp in this post.

Cayendo Hacia Arriba inspired a group of Paraguayan youth to try out literacy service projects in their own communities and surely inspired new dreams in the children, youth and volunteers who read the book– nudging us all forward in our own process of falling uphill. Thank you, Scott!

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The youth group Jóvenes por Paraguay.

For more about Molly and her adventures visit her blog

If you’re interested in supporting another similar project, please visit the Peace Corps’ donation site.

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