27 hours in bus. 27 hours there and 27 hours back. (and that’s will all my clothes and hair still smelling like burnt feathers from just the night before…) That’s how long it took to get to Cachi, a small pueblo of 8,000 high up in the desert in the north of Argentina, along the base of the mountains bordering Chile. And it truly was a desert and one of the most interesting places environmentally that i’ve been. Temperatures dropped below freezing every night, and in the morning you could practically see your breath. But then, by mid afternoon in the sun you were sweating and stripping down the layers.
I had the chance the travel with the group Vida Estudantil (Campus Crusades Argentina, http://www.vidabaires.com/index2.html) for ten days of volunteering in the community and the surrounding villages. We were involved in a wide range of projects -teaching first aid classes in the elementary schools, giving out donations of food and clothing, held a ‘healthy relationships’ night for teens, and then a free concert for for them again the next night. I went and spoke to seven different high school English classes where I talked a little about what i am doing here, the States, and then we played a vocab of the family game in which, to their embarrassment but the great amusement of everyone else, i randomly pick two kids to represent boyfriend/girlfriend then husband/wife then with kids to grandparents etc. Everyone especially loved it when i make the ‘grandfather’ hold up a picture of dentures.
What was super surprising about the experience though, was that (in sharp contrast even to the people in the smallest villages of Honduras) not one student knew of a single friend, extended family member, person in the States. And when i asked what they simply associated with the US, nor could they name any popular movies or musicians (the typical response). Finally the best they would come up with was ‘hamburgers.” Ha. it was really interesting how US pop culture had so little infiltrated this little village.
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from my trip, and if you want to see more, check out my facebook album