My first week in Buenos Aires has come and gone! It was great to reconnect with old friends and ease into everything. That being said, it’s definitely been a hectic past week! Last weekend we lost “luz trifásica” in the house, which basically means there was no power to carry water up into the house for drinking or bathing. Luckily the Laghis have an old apartment 1.5 blocks away that we were able to use for showers, but it was still pretty inconvenient. On Monday I travelled into the city with Alejandro, the father of my Argentine family. I learned how to use the public transportation systems in Buenos Aires, specifically the train and subway systems. I got lunch in San Telmo (barrio of BA) with Eléna, one of the Detrás de Todos volunteer coordinators. A native Frenchwoman, she is trilingual and has degrees from universities in France, England, and Madrid. We talked about my volunteer schedule with DDT and I received a crash course on what to expect for the first day.
^Map of the Buenos Aires subway system
On Tuesday I began serving with DDT in Villa 31. To get to the villa I first take a train from Lomas de Zamora to “Constitución,” one of the three major train stations used to enter/exit the city. From there I take the subway to Retiro (another barrio of BA, like Lomas and San Telmo – also serves as the second large train station) where I meet DDT volunteers at a pharmacy next door. From there we take a bus into the villa, commuting in with many of the villa’s residents. We cross train tracks and enter into the villa, where DDT’s community space is located. Working with the children is great, and so far I’ve been able to help out most with the academic support workshops. Looking forward to doing more with music, theatre, and art workshops this coming week!
The second half of the week was slightly more hectic – On Wednesday I got sick from drinking milk in the Villa; I had to miss work on Thursday because I was so sick. All better now though! On Friday we lost internet, leading me to assume that each weekend we will lose some type of power....
I also received this cellphone so that I can make calls to local Argentine numbers. My family joked around and said that it is from the “época de las cavernas” (ice age) – they’re totally right
^Me pretending my cellphone is cool
Yesterday was my Argentine brother Tomas’ birthday, so we had a big celebration for that. Went to a nearby Presbyterian church this morning, and starting to get more involved in the community there. Other than that, I’m just trying not to get too fat – there’s too much good food and I learned my lesson last time...
Since my first week is over, things will soon begin to pick up with my work at Villa 31. I look forward to spending more time there and getting to know the children better. It’s been a great experience so far and I can’t wait to get more involved! I also hope to have some better pictures to share with you. Until then,