Club of Great Missenden
The GSE Team in Argentina
28 May 2007
diary report from Kirsty dated 28 May covering celebrations of
25 May, trip to Formosa and Paraguay. Lots of laughter, singing and
dancing and of course the ice cream
This will probably be my last e-mail to you all, is that cries of dismay I
hear?! We have reached the end of our trip and head back to BA tomorrow
morning. We only have the afternoon and evening there but knowing us will we
probably have some mini adventure involving lots of laughter.
I left you all on the 25th May as we prepared to go to the celebrations. But
I found out on the journey of an additional visit by Sheila that happened
the day before so I will tell you that first!
Thanks for all your support during our time away - we have had good times
and bad times but have mainly dealt with most of it with lots of laughter,
it is the only way. The biggest issue has been language, or lack of, and I
would like to say that I think we have all worked really hard to overcome
this, a comment today by my host family sums it up - Out of all the groups
that they have had, we have been the best, most friendly and entertaining
(Laughing with us I think, as well as probably at us!!). The difficulties
with the programme have been a challenge but the people here have been great
and really welcomed us. It has been tiring and there has been some
homesickness as well as other sickness! Su particularly has missed her
family, but she has kept going and has continued to laugh with us for which
we all admire her. Personally I have really enjoyed being with the group -
the Chicas as we are known have been very funny and very supportive of each
other, we all now know about different aspects of each others work which has
been interesting and now happily point out Vacas (Cows) to Liz and Rubbish
bins to Sheila, everyone can now sign their name in Argentine sign language
and we have all made sure that Argentineans now know who a carer is and how
important it is to support them.
Well enough of my talk, on with the last three days of our trip.
24th May - Formosa (Update)
I told you about most of
this day last time but what I didnīt say, because I
didnīt know until the next day, was that Sheila had an additional
vocational visit to 2 landfill sites. The first was full but the second was
still operating. The sites are lined with plastic sheeting to stop
contamination of the earth, one tube takes off the methane and burns it, a
second tube takes off liquid leakage and drains it into the river, not sure
on the contamination issue here?! Dump trucks would arrive and people would
swarm out to try and pick off the recyclable materials. Plastic
is the most expensive, they can then sell this to the recycling plant that
Sheila visited on the 23rd. Women and Children have recently been banned
from working on the site, there were a lot of syringes and needles easily
viewable but Sheila was told they had been disinfected. The other most
striking object that Sheila described to me was a bra in the middle of the
25th May - Herrdura (Liberty Day)
Herrdura is a small town
about 30 kms from Formosa. It is a popular camping
venue by the river. We were all collected and taken to the townīs 25th May
celebrations. We arrived and saw lots of Gauchos and stalls, a bit like a
summer fete. But there the similarity ended, the BBQ was something else - 15
Cows!! Two or three large pits dug out and filled with burning wood, the
meat staked into the ground all round the pits, huge pots of Locro
(Traditional soup made with offal). Then there was music from everywhere
people dancing folklore or Chamamay. We wandered around and then sat down for
dinner on huge tressel tables, more music and more dancing. I danced with a
Gaucho, which amused the crowd! Gavin danced with some of the ladies from
the Rotary club. We then listened to one of the Rotary club memberīs
nephew. He is a famous country singer and has been round Argentina singing.
Following the entertainment we went to the river and campsite where we saw
two huge oxen, we saved Liz and Sheila from getting gored in their efforts
to take photos - well thats how I like to see it, ok so they were in no
danger but whereīs the story in that!!
We came back from Herrdura and visited the river here and then had what I
would have to say is one of the finest hot chocolates ever - Matt Mat you
would have loved it!! Solid chocolate with boiling milk - fabulous!
The evening was free so we spent it with our host families. I had a quiet
evening with my hosts and watched a film. Sheila spent a relaxed evening
with her host family talking, eating pizza and drinking Coke. Liz and
Su..... well I suggest you ask them to recount the story - it involves Liz
now known as the little flower, dancing, puppies and sinks! But I cried with
laughter when they told it to me.
26th May - Formosa and wait for it ... Paraguay!
The morning was spent
visiting a Jakaray factory (Small Crocodile) where
they farm them and then kill them for food and skins. The process is very
controlled, they are allowed to collect eggs from one area for a month a
year (different area each time). A small part of the nest is also taken and
the eggs put into a box with the nest and numbered. The number corresponds
to where the egg was taken and once the animal has hatched they are given
that number - 10% of all jakarays are then returned to exactly the same spot
as they were found. (The natural survival rate is 5%). They are then put
into tanks and grown until they are about 18-22 months. They are then killed
and used for meat and the sinks are cured and used in the shoe, bag or
clothing industry. The method of slaughter is as quick and humane as
possible, this is certainly a lot better than one of the abattoirs I have
visited with Liz! The smell however of the food that they ate was horrible!
Formosa is the top Province that provides meats from a variety of animals -
crocs, cappybara, deer etc.
Following the visit we went back into town and visited the Casa de Artesans,
was with our hosts and then it was off again to visit Paraguay.
As I mentioned in an earlier e-mail it is only a short boat trip away so off
we set on a small little puff-puff boat. The main reason for going was to
get a Paraguay stamp in our passports but the guy in the office didnīt have
a stamper!! Paraguay is more impovorished than Argentina and the town we
visited is set-up as a market selling cheap goods to the Argentines. We
wandered through it and the others all bought a couple of bits and pieces.
The two most amusing incidents for me were... some people trying to sell
Gavin a shirt, which he tried on, only to then be told it was a ladies
shirt! And a man offering to exchange Sheila for some perfume... tempting
but we declined!
The trip back was uneventful. The boat was very crowded and Liz and I had to
sit next to the engine which nearly deafened us and threw out lots of heat -
what is it with something hot, you always have a temptation to touch it just
to check! Slightly worrying was that when we arrived at Formosa I noticed
the driver had his life-jacket on, he hadnīt given one to anyone else!
The boat trip was followed by tea for the Chicas at Liz and Suīs host family
and then an Ice Cream parlour, where we sampled multiple flavours!
The evening was with our host families, mostly quiet but Sheila kept the
dancing trend up and went off clubbing until 5.30am! We bow to her staying
Sunday 27th - Formosa
day in the country and a beautiful day. We picked oranges, grapefruit and
mandarins from the trees, we went horse riding and got lost, Liz and Gavin
went to see monkeys who threw poo at them, we ate lots and lots of food and
sat and lazed in the sun. A great day to end the trip.
Tomorrow we head to BA at 7.30am, we plan to visit a couple of places and
meet up with Lizīs friend. Tuesday we catch the plane home and from then we
will be going straight to our homes... probably to sleep.
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