Project Visit

Too busy to blog… ironies of life.
This week we went to San Marcos, and to San Francisco, and we’re about to go off to Buenos Aires for our annual team conference. In between, there have been trips to town, church meetings, various visitors both expected and otherwise, prison visiting, sundry appointments, cleaning, shopping, cooking, washing, entertaining Joni, and a man knocking a large hole into our kitchen wall in order to repair our burst hot-water pipe. He also fixed my oven; hooray hooray hooray. So I made chocolate brownies yesterday in celebration.

On Wednesday we went to look at the work that we have been offered in San Francisco. The road was full of trucks so it was slow going; three hours each way from Cordoba. We started with a meeting in the prison where the sub-directora wasn’t exactly delighted to see us; “ice-maiden” would be a fair description. Fortunately, another guy came along, whom I recognised as being the chief of security from one of the Cordoba prisons, now apparently transferred to San Francisco. When we started explaining about the ministry that Martin is involved with, the guy interrupted to say how well known and respected this ministry is in Cordoba, and the ice began to thaw.

We had lunch with some people on the leadership of the church; small baptist congregation, partners to the church in Cordoba. Then we went to visit the Rios family, who are good friends of ours. They have five kids who like playing with Joni.

Later, we went out to the village where we would probably be based. More of a hamlet than a village really. Surrounded by plantations, it takes five minutes to circumnavigate in a vehicle, and only slightly longer on foot. Although it is less than twenty kilometres from San Francisco, Quebracho Herreda seems to be a forgotten back-water with very few services or opportunities for its population and we managed to ascertain that there are no Christian activities going on at all. The idea of the project would be to work with families and kids with special educational needs. Many kids don’t go to school, others travel for hours in order to go to special schools in San Francisco, and still others attend the village school where the staff have neither resources nor understanding to respond adequately to individual requirements.

Ironically, the two most glaring needs that I could identify from a first visit are two things that I have always said I wouldn’t be getting involved with in Argentina! The first would be some sort of micro-enterprise project; high-tech farming techniques on huge plantations means that today there is little need for a low-skilled village workforce. The second would be to set up a Scout troop or something similar to provide some sort of structured activity to the pack of young kids hanging out in the plaza.

We probably won’t make any decisions until we are back in the UK and can put some distance between ourselves and the options, but there is certainly plenty to think about in the meantime.

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