A jaunt in the wild north of Argentina

20.8 A Day of Culture and Hippies

I’ve talked a lot about politics and Argentinean culture with Bety and her husband these past few days. One interesting topic was family. Bety had a great idea for fundraising in the United States, but the plan depended upon college students asking their parents, siblings and extended family for donations. I thought about this and realized that our North American view of family differs from Latin American culture. I couldn’t imagine asking my parents for money even for my own gas, much less for a third party charity.  Am I off the mark? Are there US college students that are more likely to ask their families to donate to a project? I hope my instinct is wrong. Let me know!

Today, Ema came in from Rosario (hooray! I thought we said goodbye forever!) and we spent some time planning for the next few days. The two of us are going to La Puna, the highest point in the province, to visit three schools with Pisadas Saludables. It’s so high that a) we’re bringing garlic pills to help with altitude sickness, b) we are forbidden to eat or drink caffeine before the journey and c) we have to walk in to the site, with a burro for our boxes of Toms. WOOHOO! I can’t wait for this adventure! I’m psyched to shoot video of our little group, winding our way through the mountains with a donkey. Even more, I can’t wait to meet the people who live in this seclusion, surrounded by barren mountain peaks, clouds, wind, snow and sun. They must be the strongest people.

21.8.12 La Puna

Passing through Humuaca makes me miss my family! We just passed the Tropic of Capricorn again. Last time I was here, I was wondering what ADRA would be like and who I would meet. This time I’m listening to Ema play the quinto venozoano while our Defensa Civil driver contentedly chews his coca and we begin our ascent into the highest mountains in the north, bordering Bolivia. We’re going to arrive at 4:30 am, at least.

That night

We had a successful morning of Toms and a meeting with the school teachers. Ema is doing a good job as the new official coordinator of Pisadas Saludables. However, we got into our beds at 7:40 am, so we are both pretty wiped now that the adrenaline has worn off. But the important thing is that I got a shower, with hot water even! Civilization is treating us pretty well here at 12,000 feet. I’m clean and I have clean clothes, too. What you don’t know is that I washed my underwear with shampoo.

Sant Victoria Oeste municipality is stunningly quaint (quaintly stunning?), a better Humuaca with the isolation of Czesky Krumlov and the big sky mountains of Big Bear.



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