My Experience Discovering Buenos Aires as a Volunteer

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As I was going to Buenos Aires, I planned to visit all the interesting places I heard of and to take as many pictures as possible. This was the first time I was travelling to South America and I wanted to see how much this part of the world would be different from my own. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed, even if it wasn’t the way I was expected.

This city is amazing, however, the most interesting and surprising parts are not the ones that tourism sells you, but the ones you see when you explore the areas that are left apart and almost unknown. Indeed, these parts are where you will be able to understand the reality of the country you are visiting, and not only the superficial part they want you to see. The point of travelling to South America is to learn about the cultural, economic, social and political situation that make it different from developed countries.

In my opinion, this is what makes the difference between a tourist and a volunteer. As a tourist, you will be tempted to stay in the capital city, a volunteer will be willing to visit the poorest areas to help, learn and understand. This is what I tried to do, and it was the best part of my stay. Visiting the projects Voluntario Global was involved in was extremely interesting and rewarding. I had the opportunity to get in touch with the local inhabitants with whom I talked about their daily lives, their preoccupations, where they live and their opinions about the situation of their country.

Thanks to this contact, I discovered that the political situation of Argentina is much more complex than I was expecting while visiting Buenos Aires. The poorest populations’ standards of living are really low, as most of the towns in the suburbs of Buenos Aires face a lack of infrastructures such as running water, drainage system and even paved roads. Moreover, the people that live in these areas feel like they are left apart by the government, which one does not intervene there to improve their critical situation. Sometimes people live in houses that are hand made with the materials people find and the roads are full of garbage, and insecurity is part of their daily lives. Unfortunately, ambulances, taxis and the police do not venture in to these areas.

I am glad I had the opportunity to know the real Buenos Aires thanks to my volunteer experience, because knowing is the first step to change and improve the situation, and that is the main purpose of social organizations such as Voluntario Global. I believe that taking conscience of these disparities and making the world aware of the situation would force the government to act. As its main objective is to look like a developed country, its first duty should be to take care of its population because it is its main force and wealth. I met wonderful and very intelligent people who honestly felt concerned about what was happening and who shared these feelings of hope and joy, even if their daily lives are full of interrogations. This experience was even more inspiring thanks to them and they made me become more open-minded.

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VOLUNTARIO GLOBAL

Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
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Location: General Pacheco. Buenos Aires. Argentina
Email: jfranco@voluntarioglobal.org

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