Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Shouldn't Play Baseball

Let's start with the first day of spring in Buenos Aires:
September 21:
I helped kids in the villa (Ciudad Oculta) with homework as part of the LIFE organization, but since it was the first day of spring, we also made butterflies, flowers, hearts, and many other things out of construction paper. I love being the coordinator of this site because I get to know all of the kids, and they all get to know me. Everytime a kid I recognize walks in the door of the soup kitchen, it puts a big smile on my face because they are usually happy to see me. This day I talked with one of the women who works at the soup kitchen. All of her kids come to work with us and she has been cooking for about 150 everyday for the past 4 years. She is an incredible woman with a heart of gold.
That night I bought the speedo of by Buenos Aires water polo team.

September 24:
I went to the Immigrations building in the morning to work out everything for my student visa (even though I don't need it...that's a whole other story). I give all of my papers to the guy at the window and he tells me that I'm missing a paper from the university. I show him my USAL id that I picked up a few days before, but he still told me that I missing a paper. A lady from the university was there and came over. She told me I was missing the paper also. I told her when I went the office a few days ago, the director did not give me any paper. Hearing this, the lady tells me that I didn't understand. I literally wanted to knock her out. Being told that I don't understand something in spanish, when I clearly do, gets me so fired up. So I stormed out of the building and went to the university. I ask my director, who gave me my id a few days before, for my paper and she looks at me like I've never come in the office before and that I'm irresponsable for not picking up the paper beforehand. I take the paper and skidaddle. Then back at immigrations, strike two is called. The worker tells me that one of my argentinean passport stamps is not recorded in the computer, so I have to talk to another worker. The lady from the university comes over and the worker tells her the problem. For some reason, this lady explains the problem to me for a second time. (I'm speaking spanish to these people, but they assume that I don't understand spanish). I go with the lady to another part of the building to talk to another worker, and I strike out looking. The worker tells me that the passport isn't in the computer so I have to come back in a week to see if the system has been updated and recognizes my stamp. So I'm sent to the dug-out without even taking the bat off my shoulder because I am told that I don't understand the game. I hate when people make me feel like I'm less than them.

That night, the jungle adventure began.

4 peeps from England, 2 from Australia, 2 from Canada, 2 from the US, and one argentine coordinator

Aw right mate, let's hit it!

So we were all super excited to get on the bus, but it decides to come two hours late. (Buses here are not like planes, you are not notified if your bus is late.) However, everyone in the group is awesome and when we do get on the bus, we discovery that we got the best class available! After a great night of sleep, we arrive in Monte Carlo Friday at 2pm. (Yes, it has a Monte Carlo casino, but trust me it's no Monte Carlo.) As everyone goes to drop off their bags at the hotel, I stay with all the equipment where the bus dropped us off. As I'm waiting, I meet a lady from the village that we'll be working at which is about a half hour away. Her name is Rosita and is a grandmother at the age of 28! After everything gets settled, we go to the town (Peruti). It's seriously my dream come true! We had to drive through a forest to get there, and the town is gorgeous. The roads are made of dirt (they only have roads for the people that come to help them), the houses are made of scraps of wood and metal sheeting, and there is greenery everywhere. We are greeted by a whole bunch of women and children that seemed to come out of nowhere. We played with the kids for the rest of the day and served them chocolate milk and cookies, but there's a catch! We need to boil the water and there's no stove. So we make a fire and boil a huge pot of water over it. I couldn't believe it! This has been the kind of place that I've wanted to work at for the past few years. Saturday and Sunday, we worked ourselves to the bone, getting to the village at 9:30am and leaving at 7:30pm. Saturday, we cooked rice and eggs for 200 people and also served milk and cookies again at night. Then Sunday, we cooked over 350 hamburgers in nearly 100 degree heat and again served milk and cookies at night. The other activities consisted of delicing the children, giving out clothes, soap and toothpaste, a quick tour of the village, cleaning thousands of cups and plates, and making 100 balloon swords for the kids. At the end of each day, we all were extremely exhausted, but the experience really brought us close together.

The last three days of the trip we went to Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side and the Argentinean side and we also went to the black market in Paraguay. Everyone considered me the leader of group because I could speak pretty good spanish and...well I don't know why but I acted as the tour guide and made sure that no one got lost (PS Out of all of us, I was the youngest!)

On the way home on the bus, I got in a verbal to dispute with the workers on the bus because...well that's a story I'll tell in person.

Anywho, it was the best trip I've been on in Argentina and working in that village has definitely left it's mark.

Jump to October 11:
I ran in the Buenos Aires Marathon 42km/26.2 miles.
Ok, that's enough talking about that...painful memories.

Last weekend, I went to go see my host brother in a professional clown show. It was a bunch of little scenes down by modern clowns (not the ones in the circus). They are absolutely hilarious. My favorite scene was of two male nuns who when they made the sign of the cross they would play rock, papers, scissors with the people of the Holy Trinity. So instead of rock, paper, scissors it was Father, Son, Holy Spirit. I literally almost peed myself laughing.

So, I left a lot of things of done out of this post because obviously I don't feel like typing a lot and because I want to keep some stories to tell face to face. Everything is going well with school and I CAN'T WAIT TO COME HOME! Seriously, I want to come home right now!

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