Paraguay's poor prepare for visit from Pope on final day of trip

Story highlights

  • Pope Francis visiting poor neighborhood in Asunción on Sunday
  • Grandmother of 15 to prepare meal for Pope Francis
  • The Pope is wrapping up his three-country tour of Latin America

Asunción, Paraguay (CNN)One of Pope Francis' final stops in Latin America is one of the last places most people would want to visit -- the Bañado Norte neighborhood of Asunción, Paraguay's capital.

The impoverished area along the Paraguay River has been flooded countless times, leaving many homes in shambles, roads covered with rocks and the neighborhood soccer field filled with of mud. But the spirit of this area has been renewed by Pope Francis' visit on Sunday morning.

While shoeless boys play on that field, organizers have set up a stage with colors of the Vatican along the sideline. It's directly next to the tiny San Juan chapel, by far the smallest place of worship the Pontiff will visit during his eight-day journey throughout Latin America.

Behind the altar, humble homes have been lathered with fresh paint and images of the Holy Father are peppered on the walls.

One of those homes belongs to Asunción Jimenez, 78, one of three people the Vatican has chosen to have a personal meeting with Pope Francis.

    "I feel so much. I don't know what's wrong with me," Jimenez told CNN's Rosa Flores with a nervous laughter. The mother of four and grandmother of 15 says she's full of emotion and anticipation.

    Jimenez plans to have a meal ready for the Pontiff when he arrives. On the menu will be a typical Paraguayan soup and a cup of "mate" -- a traditional South American tea.

    "I don't know how long he'll be here, maybe 15 minutes," says the woman, who the entire neighborhood calls "Abuela" or grandma. "I hope he blesses me and my children."

    While the Pope is welcomed into Jimenez's home, this visit to Asunción is the closest he's been to his own home since being elected in 2013.

    Francis' native Argentina sits on the other side of the Paraguay River, which forms part of the border between both countries. His last stop on Sunday afternoon, before returning to Rome, will take place just off the river's banks.

    About 200,000 young people are expected to attend that final event, which is a symbolic end to his three-country tour, by looking to the future with the region's youth.