Tigre....Volunteer...Work...New Apartment

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Feb 23, 2008

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

So the past two weeks have been pretty intense, and needless to say semi stressful but we have made it! It started out with a trip to Tigre which is 18 miles north of the city. We took a train ride up to Tigre which is famous for being the river Delta and a massive tourist attraction. The City is 200 plus islands all connected and you can go kayaking and ride Catamarans. We stumbled into the largest market so far in Argentina. We just browsed and walked around for 2 hours and didn't even get to the end of the market; really we gave up from exhaustion. It was nice to get away from the city for a day and walk around the river.

We found a church here in Buenos Aires. After much searching on google Sarah finally found an English speaking Church. It is non-denominational but Pastor Kemper is an ordained Presbyterian Minister and Pastor Betty is an ordained Methodist Minister. Last weekend we went with the youth group to build a playground for an underprivileged school/orphanage.

The school houses 30 girls (range in age from 6-12) during the school week and on the weekends and holidays the girls stay with adopted "aunts" and "uncles". On an average school day there are 350 kids in attendance. The school provides lunch and a large snack to all the students and to the girls who live there they also get breakfast and dinner. The school survives without any connection to an organization, the entire operation is held together by donations from the community. The orphanage was built in the 20s by a wealthy French Lady who paid for the couple acres and the massive school that is on the land. They currently rent out some land to a Ford Dealership to bring in some income (the land itself is worth millions of dollars). The ladies told us that many days they find themselves on their knees praying that they will find some food in time to feed the children. We painted and sanded pre-existing equipment and the new playground we built (the old stuff was rag-tag assortment of broken playground equipment that was arranged in the most dangerous and Latin American way possible, PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK is really what signs should have said). We assembled the playground on Saturday and the school started on Monday. The kids came to school with a brand new playground!! I wish we could have seen their faces when they arrived to school!

The side story to this was that about 35 people showed up... besides parents we were the oldest people there, and we mean 14 and 15 years old. There was no way for any of us to help out putting the playground together so we had to find odd jobs to do, and this was the only orphanage that really had no odd jobs! It was excellent helping, but we did a lot of babysitting and entertaining as well!

We also got jobs!!! We forgot that we are in Latin America and things take a little longer than we are accustomed too but in the end we have work! We work for ETS (English Training System); we teach business English to the business men & women of Argentina. Our jobs entail traveling to the corporations offices and on their lunch breaks teaching English to their employees. We also have private lessons at ETS' office where it is more conversational English with the student. Dan works at Ten Roses... it is a software company that is creating an Argentine version of myspace and they do some other e-commerce productions. Sarah only has private lessons right now but she'll be working for Boston Bank which was bought by a South African Bank (Standford Bank). The employees are having a hard time understanding the South African accent, but they also want to learn about their culture which ETS is hoping she can provide. It is almost a given that we will most likely pick up classes at Citibank as well. If that isn't enough we went on a job interview with another company, English for Business, and we should start to get some hours with them in the next few weeks as well!!!

The true stress that we've had for the past few weeks was our apartment situation. It was just a disaster in the place we were living, but we have found a new apartment and we moved into it earlier this afternoon. One of Dan's private students (Carlos) is a cab driver so he picked us up today and drove us to our new apartment. We now live in San Telmo which is less of a touristy area and more Latin American like, basically it is old and quaint with that colonial touch! We live on the main floor (planta baja). Part of our roof opens so we can let the sunlight in; otherwise we have vaulted ceilings and massive rooms! The building is a 100 years old with nice open terraces in the middle and we have 3 times the space for less the price :) Now we just have to make it through the check out with our old landlord...(I swear to god we didn't break it, or it was never there in the first place!)

Our new contact info:

Bolivar 1568 PB 7
Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina 1141

Phone #: 5411-4307-8987

All in all we are doing well. Becoming more accustomed to life in Argentina and slowly but surely getting more of a routine. Hope you enjoy the update and pictures.

Love you and miss you!

Dan and Sarah :)
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