miércoles, 4 de junio de 2008

Final Hours...

My plane takes off in about 7 hours, but i wanted to write a few final words...Overall my trip was perfect and was everything plus more that I expected. South America is a wonderful place to be...Even with the corrupt governments, unstable economies, continuous protests, and extreme poverty, South America is one of my favorite places to be. Working with the children in these poor areas has really opened my eyes to things we never see in the states. And even though these kids lead of life that many of us do not think exist, they are some of the happiest, most polite, and eager to learn kids. This has really opened doors that I will definitely through in the future. I love volunteering and many places in South America would not survive without volunteers, like L.I.F.E. I just hope and pray that Argentina figures out its problems that they are having right now between the government and the people of the campo. Its messy. But Buenos Aires is an amazing city, and I would suggest it to anyone. And if anyone happens to ever be traveling down here and would like to volunteer for L.I.F.E. notify me and I will give you more information...I also have information for many other volunteer possibilities throughout South and Central America, so if anyone is interested let me know...God Bless...

martes, 27 de mayo de 2008

¡Falta un poco!

Well i have just about finished picking out which kids i want to bring home with me. i go to one comedor right outside the city 2 times a week and there i work with a little boy named Arnaldo! He definitely is my favorite kid. we always work on addition and subtraction, then switch to learning to read, because although he can do math he can not read. i always write 5 to 10 easy spanish words for him to practice and learn while i am with him. he hates doing it for some reason though. he just is not interested in learning...but he does like it a lot when i read him kids stories! but every time i am with him i want to bring him back with me...after we finished our work yesterday he wanted that he and i color together, so he colored half and i colored half. it was funny because when the other kids saw that i was coloring his they wanted me to color as well, but i told them they should color it themselves and Arnaldo took up for me and told the other kids to leave me alone because we colored the picture half and half! he is adorable.

Also on Sunday, i got a free trip to Uruguay to the old colonial city of, Colonia del Sacramento. It is a beautiful old city, built by the portuguese. i enjoyed it. My spanish teacher last semester is from Uruguay so now i can go and tell her that i went and she will smile at me like always and tell me how great it is that i went! For now I will be going...God Bless.

martes, 20 de mayo de 2008

Las Cataratas y Los Niños

Volunteering is still going great and this weekend I took a trip to Iguazu Falls, which are beautiful water falls in the jungle that split Argentina and Brasil. So here are some pictures of the kids I work with and the falls...enjoy

This is one set of the falls...

This is the other set of the falls...

miércoles, 14 de mayo de 2008

markets and children

well it has been a few days since i have written, but i have been quite busy...right now it is a beautiful wednesday at 12 :30. i am making me some coffee and toast for breakfast ( my breakfast here is at 12:30...haha). because my volunteering does not start until usually 3 in the afternoon my day starts about 12 which is very nice...but of course i do not eat dinner until about 10 or 10:30...all porteños eat late here...its crazy...but i am now used to it.

this weekend on saturday and sunday i went to two different weekend markets here in the city. the one i went to on saturday was really nice arts and crafts and handmade stuff. and the one i went to on sunday was in an older part of the city, called san telmo, and the market was HUGE. it was an antique/arts and crafts fair that they have every sunday. i have never seen so many antiques and antique stores in my life...and trust me i have been to a lot. it was market after market and store after store...there were a ton of people there...it was amazing because there were street musicians playing, street singers singing, puppet shows, magicians, tango shows, the place was alive. there was one orquestra band that played and they were about 8 people playing different instruments and they were amazing. i bought their CD and i want to go to one of their shows coming up. also that day i had a small problem...after i left the festival i sat down at a cafe for a quick bite to eat because i was starving...well i got my bill and it was 23,50 pesos and i only had 22 pesos...i did not realize that here, like many places, you get charged a service charge and for some stupid reason i did not bring my debit card with me that day, and i was also by myself...so i explained to my waiter that i did not have enough money because i did not know i had to pay a service charge and all that and i did not know what i was going to do...well he reached in his pocket and gave me 2 pesos! and yeah that might not seem like a lot but people here do not get payed very much and a lot of them live off tips, so 2 pesos is a lot. it was an extremely nice thing. i thanked him a lot and told him i was going to come back and leave him a really good tip because that was very nice and as i was leaving he said to me in english ''we are friends'' personally i will definitely remember that for a long time.

the last 2 days of work have definitely been my favorite. monday i met cristofer who is the cutest kid i have ever seen. i colored with him and played with him most of the time. i also read some with a little girl...we were reading spanish books so we were actually both practicing...i love just going outside and playing with the kids...its my favorite. and yesterday the place i went there were a ton of kids...they are all so happy and after we got done working on school work they went crazy just running around and playing...it was so much fun...there was one little boy there his name was john and he did not really talk much and was very quite. so i sat with him and he practiced writing his letters and colored all to himself. he was very reserved, but such a good kid. so far at all the places i have been i love all the kids...even the overly rowdy ones...

overall everything is going very well here, well there is a crazy strike by the farmers in the country and a conflict between them and the government, and the other monring the subte was shut down all morning because of a strike, but minor details...it is south america so you just adapt...but ahora tengo que irme, voy a ducharme...hoy voy a un cumpleaños con L.I.F.E.!!! God Bless.

viernes, 9 de mayo de 2008

Hace fresco...

well i have finished my first week (it was only really 3 days though) of volunteering. so far i love every minute of it. Not so much the length of time it takes to get to each place though. All the community centers and stuff are outside the main city in the poorer areas. I have found out though that i will not be working at a specific orphanage like i previous thought, but i enjoy what i am doing now. i have the possibility of working at 4 or 5 different community centers with children from the local area. Yesterday i went to a school support, where kids from the neighborhood come in and we help with school work and anything else they ned help with and today i went to teach english, although the little girl i was working with, Denise, was a little more interested in coloring the pictures that learning english. but we did work on her spanish and spelling because a lot of the kids do not know how to read or write. she told me she did not want to learn english. afterwards though the other volunteers and i took the kids outside and we sang songs and played duck duck goose! the kids from yesterday and today were so polite. we walked in and they all ran up to us and greeted us with kisses and hugs and did the same when we left! They are amazing! i am really excited to work with them more. What happens every weekend is that the oranganization will send me an email of all the activities for the week and i sign up for them. very simple process. below is the schedule i got on tuesday evening. it is good because i dont have to pay the transportation because my program i am here with already does even though 20 pesos is less than 7 dollars.

i am not even sure what else to say about the kids so far. there are a couple hyper ones, but they are still great. it definitely gets depressing seeing the neighborhoods we go in, and i have only been doing it for 3 days...but it definitely makes me feel better talking with the kids and playing with them and stuff!

the other volunteers that i have met are all amazing people. i met a couple from sweden who moved here two months ago just to learn spanish and volunteer, a girl from LA who was tired of living in the states so she is traveling and living all over south america, a ton of students who study in buenos aires from all over the world also volunteer here. it is awesome to talk to them and here their stories. this is one reason i dont like to be a tourist. for me traveling is about the people you meet, friends you make, and lives you change. its not about visiting every country in the world just to say you have done it, its about making every minute worth while and worth remembering...kind of deep, but i have a lot of time when i am sitting in the subte...but anyway enough of my philosophy...i am going to now go and spend some time with my host mother while she fixes dinner...until next time...


SCHOOL SUPPORT & ENGLISH CLASSES in Los Angelitos - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator : Catherine Eaton

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:45.

Cab: $20 pesos each ROUND TRIP


Coordinators : Lisa Cooper

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:45.

Cab: $25 pesos each ROUND TRIP


FOOTBALL in Laferrere: Activity for male volunteers or female sports/athletes

* Local club will loan soccer field so we can play with the kids.

Coordinator: Aaron Beale y Stan Unrau

Meeting point at 2:30 Stop for public bus # 64 on Av. Rivadavia & Rodriguez Peña - Congreso neighborhood - LIFE t-shirt mandatory

Public transportation by van : $10 each round trip - doesn 't count off your deposit.

SCHOOL SUPPORT in La Union hace la fuerza - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator: Amelie Hawkins

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00 back in the city around 19:00.

Cab: $ 20 pesos each ROUND TRIP

SCHOOL SUPPORT in Las Horas Felices - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinators: Julianne & Jonathan

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00.

Cab: $20 pesos each ROUND TRIP


Coordinator: Tanja Braecklein

Meeting point: LIFE office at 14:00, back in the city around 19:30.

Public transportation: $5 each - does not discount from your deposit.


BIRTHDAY PARTY in Los Angelitos - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator: Jack Cox

BIRTHDAY PARTY in Ejército Celestial - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator: Amelie Hawkins

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00.

Cab: $20 pesos each – ROUND TRIP



Coordinators : Stan Unrau

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00

Cab: $20 pesos each ROUND TRIP

SCHOOL SUPPORT & JUEGOTECA in La Unión hace la fuerza - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator: Amelie Hawkins y Ari Silverman

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00

Cab: $20 pesos each – ROUND TRIP

SCHOOL SUPPORT & JUEGOTECA in Las Horas Felices - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinators: Caroline Frauman

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00

Cab: $20 pesos each ROUND TRIP


SCHOOL SUPPORT & JUEGOTECA in Los Angelitos - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinators: Catherine Eaton & Jenal Austin

Meeting point: LIFE office at 15:00, back in the city around 19:00

Cab: $20 pesos each – ROUND TRIP


Coordinator: Tanja Braecklein

Meeting point: LIFE office at 14:00, back in the city around 19:00

Public transportation: $5 each - does not discount from your deposit.


COOKING CLASSES in Ejército Celestial - Ciudad Oculta

Coordinator: Charlotte Neale-Edwards

Meeting point: LIFE office at 14:30, back in the city around 19:00

Cab: $20 pesos each – ROUND TRIP

miércoles, 7 de mayo de 2008

random city shot
Aduana (customs building)
modern buildings are being built around Puerto Madero
la casa rasada
random city shots

Lunch Time! Un churrasquito!!!

Here are some pictures i have finally put up. it takes a while to load them on here so i cant put too many up at one time...but i will definitely put more up later.

Also i had my first day volunteering today!!! the organization i am with threw a giant birthday party...we went to a comedor (like a soup kitchen) in one of the poorest/most dangerous parts of Buenos Aires and had a birthday party for all the children that have birthdays in May! There were a ton of little kids running around everywhere...we were making them ballon animals and they were playing all out in the street. it was a lot of fun!!! we also gave small gifts to the children that had birthdays this month. we also took 3 tortas (cakes) and decorated the whole place! the neighborhood was definitely a poor one and you can tell that the families do not have much, but it was awesome to see these little kids running around having fun and for the ones that had moms they were there and i could tell that they were happy to see their little children running around!!! i had the best feeling in the world while i was there...just to see these little kids having so much fun with balloon animals ( i could only make swords) was amazing! there were also other volunteers there as well. Some from ireland, scotland, england, US, france...i will also be volunteering again tomorrow and friday, but both at different locations...