Written by Jessie Pitts on 2010-08-26. Posted in Reviews from Past Volunteers
My name is Jessie and I am currently working on the communications team for Voluntario Global. A big perk of my position is that i get to visit all of the current projects. On Tuesday 24th August I accompanied Kristin and two new Voluntario Global volunteers to their Project in Pablo Nogues which is an English school for children and young adults. The classes are held before or after their normal school or work. Here is what I thought of it...
It was already clear from the train journey up that we were entering a 'different world'. I think this was the first time that I have seen what I would describe as a poor area within Argentina. When we finally arrived at Pablo Nogues station, I was struck by how peaceful the area felt compared to the inner city. The sun was shining, birds were signing, it all felt rather lovely. After the short walk to the gate of the English school I found myself being warmly greeted by Silvia the owner of the school and coordinator of the activities held there. A woman with a big beaming smile who makes you feel important and like everything you say is worth her full attention, I could not imagine a better person for the job.
During the afternoon, Silvia greeted each child with “hola mi amor” and a kiss. This place could not possibly be further from an English equivalent, something I am extremely glad about.
Each child arrived at Pablo Nogues at different times depending on their individual circumstances and proceeded to sit down and join in the volunteer led exercise in progress without any need for coercion. The two new volunteers fitted in right away and I got the impression that the children were enjoying the sounds of the Irish and Mancunian accents which are of course something they are unlikely to hear in any other capacity at any other time.
I was impressed with how well structured the classes were and yet how relaxed the atmosphere felt in the classroom. It is clear to me that not only are the children increasing their knowledge of the English language but they are also learning about the different accents and cultures associated with the various English speaking volunteers who come to Pablo Nogues. In the poorer districts of Buenos Aires the need for variety is much greater; this is why international volunteers from Voluntario Global are so valuable to this project.
Written by Voluntario Global on 2010-05-28. Posted in Reviews from Past Volunteers
At the end of March we helped inaugurate a church in Casti which involved sharing a splendid Lama “asado” (barbeque) and spotting ostriches. On the first weekend of April, we visited a youth camp in Solazutti near Aguas Blancas. There, I learned about Guarani people, heaps of new songs and made new friends.
Many people told me that I would bore myself to death while volunteering three months in La Quiaca. On the contrary, time flies by and I can´t believe I´ve already been here for two months! Classes should have started at the beginning of March, but school-doors opened only on the 7th of April due to a teachers´ “paro” (strike). Thanks to broadcasts we launched with national and local radio-stations in my second week here, many youths took – and continue taking – advantage of my English classes. Having hung around with nothing to do for a long time the kids are struggling to catch up material and get their brains working again. When classes began, the community-centre started its comedor (canteen) for more than 110 young people which has made daily life very busy. This service is mainly for students living alone La Quiaca while their families live far off in the campo (fields). My tasks lie in the organisation and administration of the comedor. Also, I give a meditation to the adolescents while they are eating. I need to use a good deal of creativity, authority and confidence in my Spanish to catch their attention and initiate a dialogue. The weekends have a different rhythm and are focused on church activities near and far. Sunday afternoons we often spend with Lorenzo and his family in Sansana Sur, a tiny place near La Quiaca. Many vegetables for the comedor come from there.[gallery] From 16th to 18th of April, we took part in a convention in Jujuy Capital where I performed songs together with youths of the local church – great fun! On my birthday, my host-family and friends surprised me with a party. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such lovely people and to be able to be part of the team working for the youngsters here in La Quiaca!
Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
Location: General Pacheco. Buenos Aires. Argentina