Inequalities in wealth and opportunities

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Córdoba,
Sunday, March 24, 2013

We had a day off in Dean Funes to rest after cycling for 6 days from Salta.  We had managed an average of 130km a day and were feeling the need to relax for a couple of days and to reassess our quickly changing position on the map. 

We stayed in a fairly nice hotel, which had two single beds, which were as narrow as you could possibly imagine, and almost led us to fall out of bed when turning over.  The room cost $50 for the night, and we are slowly having to get used to the inflated prices in Argentina, with little increase in services or facilities. 

We had the breakfast that was provided by the hotel, a mini croissant and a coffee, and then went out to explore and to get a bigger breakfast.  Unfortunately as it is a Sunday, no shops, restaurants or cafes were open.  Even the supermarket was closed.  As you can imagine Kory was starving and going crazy from not being able to get food, which we desperately need.  We had no other choice but to return to the room and try to rest.  Kory spent a lot of the day resting and I got my blog up to date and researched my next adventure following the completion of this one.  Thankfully we had plenty of oatmeal to snack on and quieten our growling tummies.

As I trawled the internet for volunteer opportunities in South America, I read many women's health projects in the area.  Although they were fascinating and enabled me to consider the countries we visit with another perspective, it was also heartbreaking.  Some research suggests that in Peru alone there are as many as 35,000 pregnancies resulting from rape every year, and 80% of rape is upon minors.  Unfortunately this seems to be deeply ingrained their culture and many women view it as part of life and it should be expected, even from family members. There were numerous opportunities to help counsel these women and try to boost their self esteem.  In fact there are hundreds of projects in any of the countries that we have visited, and it is more of a case of trying to filter out the rubbish.  There were "volunteer" projects (where you may have to pay up to $1500) to check the food expiry dates in a soup kitchen, collect rubbish in Buenos Aires, or baby sit someone's children for them after school.  After reading another project about the prevalence of HIV in South America and then being side tracked by a report of three million Syrian people who have been displaced from their homes, my brain was ready to explode.  I look up to see Kory watching a program called "Man versus food", where the guy goes to American restaurants and is faced with the challenge of eating a ridiculous amount of food, to the point of almost being sick.  It is made clear that "you can also take on the challenge" for only a couple of dollars probably and I was left wondering about the fairness in the world.  So many people have so little, many of the people we have seen along the way have such little opportunities to better their lives or make things easier for their children.  Thousands of people across the world are starving or don't know where the next meal is coming from.  What political practices are occurring in the world to make life so tough for some people and there to be such a surplus of wealth and food in another?!   This thought of course made me realise that Kory and I can't complain about not getting food for an afternoon, when we are relatively well off and will be able to eat as much as we want soon.

I couldn't let myself consider these terrible statistics for too long but started to plan the route for the remainder of the trip.  We only have a short time left and are trying to schedule the easiest route for getting to the airport in Buenos Aires, without having to cycle through the huge capital city.  After resting for most of the day Kory and I waited for as long as we could before trying to get dinner in the evening.  At 8pm, a couple of cafes were just starting to open up, and we found one that was ready to serve food.  It wasn't quite the ideal rest day where we restock on calories but it enabled us to rest and for me to get some ideas about the volunteer projects available to me.
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Karen on

Such a good attitude Gemma! Hunger is something we don't know! So thankful you found food and it looks really good!

Natalie on

I agree with Grandma. I have been keeping you both in my prayers that you will be able to find enough food, water & bank machines to sustain you.

Gramma on

I guess we don't realize the amount of Hunger there is in other countries!!! We are very fortunate, never had the experience of not enough food. So glad you's found a good place to eat. I wonder why the cafe's don't open until late evening?? Love and hugs..... Won't be long until you's are on your flight home....

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