Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: In the Spotlight - Paraguay

In the Spotlight - Paraguay

In the Spotlight – Paraguay
By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
24 Feb 2022


Paraguay is one of only 2 landlocked countries in South America (the other is Bolivia), and is bordered by Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the northwest, and Argentina to the southwest.  Asunción is the capital, and is located on the south-western border near Argentina.  The most common travel destinations outside of Asunción are the Iguazu Falls, which are located where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil intersect.  These majestic falls are surrounded by the Iguazu National Park, and they are considered one of the new natural wonders of the world.  There is also the World Heritage site of the Jesuit Mission that dates back to the early 17th century.  Paraguay is also home to one of the world's most powerful, hydro-electric dams at Itaipu, which in partnership with Brazil can produce more electricity than 12 nuclear power plants.  


Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, but according to WikiTravel, "Paraguay has had a very troubled history.  Being one of the richest countries in the 1800's (and the only one in the Americas to have railway transportation at that time...before the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70). Paraguay, facing the allied forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory."  This resulted in a century of what you could call, shall we say, women sharing the few men that remained, to (copulate) repopulate the nation.  In current times, Paraguay's economy is primarily agricultural, and it is listed as one of the most economical countries to live in based on its very low cost of living.   


Paraguay also has a history with the Hash House Harriers.  There have been three hash clubs, all in the capital city of Asunción.  The first Asunción H3 was founded in August 1992 by Jürgen "Old Rock" Ruder.  It took a while to get his story, but I was able to track down Old Rock, who will be 82 years old next week.  He does not do email, but was able to enlist my old Friend "Little Adonis" (current GM of the Hannover H3 in Germany), to get the following information for this article.  Old Rock began his hashing life in Rangoon, Burma back in 1980, shortly after the second Rangoon H3 formed.  Very much enjoying the hash, he took what he learned back to Germany with him, and founded the Hannover H3 in 1984.  Fast forward nearly a decade, and Old Rock makes the first of three 3 trips to Paraguay (between 1992 and 1996) as an engineer for the Federal Institute for Geoscience and Raw Materials.  Although he enjoyed his work, there was something missing.  Connecting with some local embassy personnel (including the Marine Guards at the US Embassy), and along with a few of his colleagues, he founded the first Asunción H3 in August 1992.  Old Rock stated that they ran their trails outside the city in the sprawling fields surrounding the capital.  They consumed lots of beer in circle, while singing songs like Father Abraham, and could often be seen drinking out of their shoes.  Departing for the first time in December 1992, Old Rock assured that the club was in good hands to keep it going for his eventual return in the summer of 1994, just in time to celebrate the 50th run.  Saying farewell after his third and final visit in January 1996, the hash was still very active, continuing with their biweekly schedule, but without his leadership it appears to have faded out after his departure. 


The second iteration of the Asunción H3 was founded by another old friend of mine, Steve 'Burnt Sox' Royster and his wife 7 Minutes.  In conversation with Burnt Sox, he explained the club he founded like this . . . "Picture it: seven intrepid souls facing another weekend in landlocked Paraguay, left to themselves for entertainment, descended on the Botanical Gardens on July 22, 2001, with one common purpose - beer.  Over the next 54 runs, the ASSuncion Hash House Harriers - later tamed to the Asunción H3 - would chase hares and beer all over the city, to quench our thirst and better our souls."  This club lasted for about 2 years, until Burnt Sox and 7 Minutes departed.  Little did he know, that it would be 18 years before another hash club would form in Paraguay.


The third iteration of the Asunción H3 was founded by Eric "Ban the Cock" Jost and Harma "Double Dutch Mountains" Eilander on 5 Dec 2021.  They have both been avid hashers over the years, but after moving to Paraguay over a year ago, they felt something was missing, so a new hash club was in order.  While chatting with Ban and DDM at Eurohash in Prague, he told me about his desire to start a hash club, but just needed a little push.  So, I made plans to visit Paraguay to prod him along.  Coordinating my visit, I dragged MaBouche over from Brazil, just in time to participate in the first trail of this new hash club.  There was a modest turnout of 9, but several other local friends of the founders promised to join up on future runs.  When Burnt Sox (founder of the previous AH3) learned a new hash club was forming, he happily exclaimed "7 Minutes [and I], the ASS H3's founders, are thrilled to see the pack taking to the streets and parks of Luque once again.  We wish this third version of the ASS H3 much beer and many shitty trails.  On-on!"


Many thanks to all the contributors (and Little Adonis for transcribing Old Rock's recollections) for the drafting of this bit of hash history.  Checking in with the current Asunción H3, they are still going strong, running trail number 6 today.  The pack continues to grow, as they explore the many interesting areas in and around the capital city of Paraguay.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and will be looking forward to making another trip there soon. 


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On on!