Maddy, a recently departed Australian Roadie, posted this to her blog after spending 3 months with Road2Argentina as part of our volunteer program. We’re so glad that we were able to be a part of her and the “Argentine Nine’s” Buenos Aires experience!
I sit here on my top bunk, looking down at the chaos below. The noises, the sights… the smells. It’s fascinating – and a little bit scary – how much stuff 6 girls thought necessary to survive 3 months in South America. We’re all hastily packing our things, questioning the necessity of our possessions, as well as trying to offload the useless onto each other. “Do I need three of the same T-shirt?”, “Does anyone want a frequent flyer nasal spray?”, “Anyone need gastro pills?”, “WHY DID I BRING SO MANY SHOES?”… It’s an interesting experience in Room 1. I’m certain the boys upstairs are a little more blasé about packing…
Packing. Packing to leave Buenos Aires. What? Who’s leaving? We definitely aren’t. Not in our heads, at least. It hasn’t clicked – not one bit – that our time is up in Argentina. Come Friday morning, our beloved Bronwyn is the first to leave, heading to Rio de Janiero. Cass hops on a plane to New York on Friday night. Saturday; Arj, Beck and David fly home to Australia, Lyndon is off to Peru, Britt joins Bronwyn in Rio, and yours truly hops on a bus to Corrientes in Northern Argentina for another two months in South America (sorry Mum and Dad!). That leaves poor Issy, the first to arrive and the last to leave, for one more lonely night in the hostel, before arriving home after 5 months in Europe and South America.
Our time in Argentina and Buenos Aires can – and will – be likened to a painting. A canvas rich in culture, characterised by colour; light and shade; the odd smudge or two; and beautiful but different brushstrokes. Our quick trips away to Mendoza and the Andes; The Misiones and Iguazu; Uruguay; Rio; El Tigre; and an Estancia, all add different colours to the painting. From the red dirt of the Misiones, the stark white snow of the Andes, to the glittering gold of the shores of Rio de Janiero. Light and shade was apparent in day to day life in Argentina. Some days were naturally better than others. Some days were hard; work was challenging, our Spanish skills failed us, we were ill, we missed home, or we simply needed some time to ourselves. Smudges, or errors, are visible on our painting – nothing is perfect. Along the way, we lost jumpers, lost money, got the wrong bus in Mendoza (sorry guys!), inadvertently offended people by misusing pronouns, and had our underwear vanish when we took it to the laundry… But, I think these little smudges complete our painting, it is all the more beautiful for them. Also, amongst this chaotic piece of art that is our Argentina Antips GapBreak, you can’t even see the smudges! Not with all the beauty this beast beholds. As for the brushstrokes, every person we met along the way added their own unique stroke. Every single person we met along the way contributed to our artwork; hostel owners, Spanish teachers, charity founders, fellow travelers, cab drivers, waiters, pizza-makers, fruit and vegetable vendors, and – of course – the unforgettable children we worked with in las villas.
At the end of the day, the Argentine Nine were the real artists behind this painting; we may have hit each other with the paintbrush every now and then, but man, we did good. We traipsed around the world, with altruistic ambition, helped those less fortunate than ourselves, and experienced an entirely different culture.
Take a step back, guys. Look at our masterpiece. ¿En serio? …Wow.
Now, I’d also like to take this moment to thank our respective commissioners; our families and friends. The life of a young artist is hard; without your support (whether it be financial or moral) we may never have been able to complete this wonderful piece of work, and have had this incredible experience.
Our main purpose here, volunteering in las villas , has opened our eyes. We saw the way others live, and realised there are certain benefits we take advantage of at home. We’re increasingly, and acutely, aware of disparities people face solely due to class and financial standing in society. We wonder how we can make a sincere and sustainable difference in the lives of those less fortunate (and, honestly, those TOO fortunate), yet we know it would take some kind of a revolution and moral conscience upheaval from all corners of the world… Someone needs to lead it. While eyes immediately fall on Lyndon for the job, it should be lead by our entire generation. ¡Viva la Revolution!
Its the old cliché that time flies when you’re having fun…. But it really did. It’s November already? Leaving is bittersweet. We’ve loved our time in Buenos Aires, volunteering with the children, living in the city, and being with each other. I have said it before, and I will say it again, the Argentine Nine have become a tight-knit unit, and have certainly cemented a place in my heart. I am proud to call these 8 wonderful humans my friends, and I wish them all the very best in the future.
12 amazing weeks, 9 beautiful group members, and 1 incredible experience.
For a chance to have your own volunteer adventure in Buenos Aires, fill out our online application or write to firstname.lastname@example.org!