2011-02-07

Chronicles of Michael in Jujuy

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By Michael  Curcio If you are reading this you have been, are, will be, or are thinking about being a volunteer for Voluntario Global. First off, Good choice. Second off, Hiya. Imma having a pretty good time here, although right now I am recovering from my somewhat misadventurous trip to the top of a mountain. Let's just say that walking for hours on end in a desert will make you a wee bit tired and throw you for a loop. Either way, it was an adventure.

My time here has been really cool; the normal day entails: 9:00- Get up, nothing like the five thirty of Costa Rica, things here are a wee bit more tranquilo. So I get up and drink me some Yerba Mate, an Argentinian staple, with some bread, which I have gotten pretty used to and miss when I go a day with out it. 10ish to whenever I am done- Prepare for English class, run around asking questions like how do you say, “If I were to have been there at some point then maybe I would have become a superhero,” in Spanish. Also got some time to play with Pichu, the incredibly cute 1 year and seven month old baby here, who is crying right now. But when he's not crying for some reason or any other, he's sooooo cute.

I guess at around 12, other kids arrive, so we draw on the chalk board or help make lunch or set the table or something like that. At around one and a thirty we eat lunch, which is always incredibly good and consists of a soup followed by meat and rice and eggs and whatever other tasty food there be around. From two to three- We clean up, which entails washing dishes, sweeping and mopping, and moving tables. Then, I get ready for English class, woo English, which by the way makes no sense.

3 until 6 or 8: Different English classes, from an intermediate class, where I vainly attempted to teach the conditional, to the basics. I also get to talk with una professora who is studying to teach English in High School. One of the things she is studying is intonation, you know the thing that makes Shakespeare, Shakespeare, and you never really think about. But she has packets and packets that vaguely attempt to put a structure to when to stress words and when to not. But I'm not really sure it is something you can study, because it's so embedded into the language and varies so much from person to person. Either way, we read Shakespeare and just talk, in English!!! This can be a nice relief from an otherwise completely Spanish world. Plus I get to write silly stories and dialogues that don't make much of any sense, but that don't really matter.

Teaching English is quite hard and has made me realize how persnickety of a language it is, for example what does persnickety even mean? I don't know, did I even spell it right? After English class, or during breaks, we drink some more Yerba Mate and maybe I read a bit. On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, we got church. This is usually a rather fun affair filled with music and singing and tons of really nice people saying “Dios te Bendiga” or “God bless you.” Plus there are a good number of other teenagers who play music and teach me new words as I try to translate English songs. Afterwards, sometimes we have warm corn mush or rice with milk, which, surprisingly, is called “Arroz con leche” and not some ridiculously hard to pronounce, unintelligible word.

After church, we sometimes go play, “La Mancha.” If you's it then you gots to tag other peeps. Then you link arms and try to run and catch other people, until there is a giant line of people chasing after whoever is left. Whenever everyone collapses from exhaustion (at about 3,400 meters or 10,000 feet, the air is pretty thin here and running, or hiking up a mountain, tires you out pretty quickly). We all go home; I may eat some dinner and go to sleep. Good day. So, if you are looking for something even more different from living and volunteering in Buenos Aires, then come out to the campo. They people here are great and it really is beautiful.

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