End of the week

There are times when our lifestyle catches up with me; today I’m tired!
At this moment I’m supposedly sorting myself out for a Scout “leadership” weekend, but I’m playing solitaire and writing a blog. They’ve given us homework to do in advance; a series of questions including “define leadership in five lines” “what are the qualities of a good leader?” and “Are leaders born or made?” (Some have greatness thrust upon them…) All of which would be interesting questions, except that my experience of education in Argentina so far tells me that my task here is not to mull around the questions, but to guess the one right answer that the training team has in mind and will spend the weekend presenting to us. It’s probably a good exercise in humility for me to practise smiling sweetly and writing it down in my best handwriting when someone tells me that the correct definition of leadership is Aardvark. What it contributes to my development as a leader may remain open to discussion.

Apart from that, from Tuesday afternoon till this morning the house has been full of Latin Linkers; the other two members of the Argentina team exec came for a meeting, our most local colleague (in Cordoba) came for fun and fellowship, and our newest short-termer came to see what long-termers look like (“stick around long enough and you might end up like these…”). It was good to have an excuse or two to go out for coffee / beer / ice-cream (not all at once) and catch up with folk. Now we’re rediscovering the house, and restocking the supplies of food, coffee, milk etc.

Tuesday I spent the afternoon discovering the kitchen in the Scout hut. A few weeks ago I decided that our kitchen was unfit for anything apart from the rats, mice and cock-roaches whose droppings suggest they had moved in over the summer holidays. I wondered why no-body else appeared to be grossed out, then I realised that I am the senior female, which means that probably nobody else has even noticed. Argentina still operates fairly traditional gender roles. Deciding that changing Argentina is probably a rather too-long-term plan, I spent a couple of hours stripping the layers off to find a fridge, a cupboard, a set of shelves and a draining board. Now all I need to do is to wash the things that need to go back in same. I’ve extracted an agreement from the guys that if I bring it up to a civilised standard, then I can make a rota and nag the kids can keep it that way.

Today we made some good progress towards the “kid from village goes to school” plan. We now have a school (not the same as the first one) who have a place for him in a group of kids his own age. I’ve met twice with the school, and kiddo plus mum went to see it this morning. I’m not sure it’s the best educational establishment in the world, but it means he will leave his house three times a week (to start with) and spend time with other people outside the family. He starts on Monday. The down-side of the plan is that the starting and finishing times clash violently with other stuff that I’m supposed to be doing, which wasn’t what I expected, so for a few weeks I’m going to rearrange our lives, and ultimately I’m hoping to pass the transport job on to someone else at my earliest convenience; after a sufficient period to establish a routine and iron out any teething problems, but early enough that I haven’t become a “fixture”. Anyway, I have another meeting on with the social worker on Tuesday when transport will feature on my agenda items.

Meanwhile, the bread has just come out of the oven, so we’re about to go and start on it. Have a good weekend.

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