Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Summary of my GapBreak in Argentina!

COUNTRY: Argentina
PROJECT: Teaching & Care Work
WRITTEN BY: Clem Rocks

Our volunteering was an experience like no other. We spent the afternoons in our banged up van driving out to ‘las villas’, the slums of Buenos Aires. There, we worked with children filling their time after school with fun activities so they weren’t left to wander around the dangerous slums alone. Although the surroundings were confronting our afternoons were certainly filled with joy as we skipped, played with puzzles and taught some of the older kids English.

The way our placement was structured meant that we were essentially living in a student residence in Buenos Aires for 3 months. For all of us this was the first time we lived away from our parents, leaving us to take care of ourselves in a new city far away from the comfort of Australia.

Our volunteering was much more flexible than most, giving us quite a bit of downtime to explore BA and Argentina. We spent a lot of this time exploring the city and doing touristy activities such as a graffiti tour, a day trip to Tigre and ‘La bomba del Tiempo’, a local percussion concert just to name a few. We spent a weekend in Mendoza, Argentina’s wine country and went on a trip with our volunteering organisation to Northern Argentina and Iguazu Falls. For many of us, this was the highlight of the trip working in the Peruti Village as we got the opportunity to see a totally different side of poverty in Argentina which was unlike our work in the slums.

We froze in the snow in the Andes and cycled in 34 degree heat through Misiones. We ate our weight in $2 pizzas from 'Fabrica’s' and spent a day in Uruguay. We met some interesting people, from sassy Argentinians to loud Germans and everything in between. We played puzzles, read (very poorly) in Spanish and woke up with sore muscles from piggybacks in the villas. We laughed, we cried and we spent a confusing day in Paraguay. All in all, it was a crazy, incredible and unforgettable way to spend a gap year.

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