It’s wintertime in Paraguay. Maybe you thought, like me, that winter in the sub-tropics meant exchanging my shorts for capris and adding a three quarter length sweater over my tank top. On our vision trip in July 2016, we found out this was certainly not the case. A missionary family that hosted us advised us to pack swimsuits and shorts, but also sweaters and scarves.
July is Paraguay’s coldest month with average temperatures ranging from highs of 73 F/23 C to lows of 55 F/13 C with 71% humidity. That said, we have experienced numerous days this winter with highs in the teens (55-66 F) and lows ranging from 5-10 C (41-50 F). For all you Midwesterners (Canadians too!) who think we’ve gone soft, you need to understand that the temperature is the same inside your home as it is outside. Think fall camping weather in Northern Minnesota – but inside your house! Wearing two hoodies is all the rage in the Bosscher household. Wool socks with crocs is also trending this season. Mark and I look especially glamorous every evening with my fleece Grandma pajamas and Mark sporting a stocking cap when he sleeps because there is no hair to hold in that heat!
Before you go feeling all sorry for us, our house does possess three heat units in our bedrooms. The problem is – the power source to our home doesn’t have the bandwidth to run all of these heat producers at the same time. Prioritizing has been key. Two heaters and the electric shower head - sure. One heater, the electric showerhead and the washing machine - you bet! But two heaters and the hot pot - absolutely not!
We also have to be nice to everyone in our house because the breaker often goes out during the showering process and someone needs to be available to reset the connection. Sometimes this means flipping the switch 30 times a minute and sometimes you get credit when you did nothing more than sit on the couch. The point is – you don’t know who is going to be available during your time of clean so make friends, not enemies or endure the cold shower and later give the cold shoulder.
Laundry has also proven a bit tricky with the cold and humidity. On days of sunshine and warm temperatures, I pull my clothes off the line three hours after hanging them up. Alternatively, on those damp, cold days, it may take more than 24 hours to dry. It becomes a game I fondly refer to as WET OR COLD? Your guess is as good as mine!
All this said, winter has given us ample opportunity to play hundreds of games of cards as a family, enjoy a continual refill of warm beverages and most importantly, engage in countless conversations with neighbors about the climate and our ministry. It has been a chilly win!
Spring is right around the corner and hot weather will again be our reality. I will be drinking tereré (Paraguayan tea) by the gallon, sweating in places I didn’t know existed, and seeking shade under anything that casts a shadow. But that, my friends, is for another blog!