(Part 2 of my Argentina story. If you haven’t read my first post yet, be sure to before reading this!)
By: Shaan Fye, Executive Director
So Argentina has been great to me so far. I have used public transportation (who needs Uber?), ordered food at restaurants even though I have no idea what the waiter said for the most part, and have gone to the city with some of the other volunteers. I have begun the volunteer project, developing an organic garden at a care facility for young children. The work has been laborious, but rewarding. All I have done for two days so far is dig up and rake up a grass lot, much easier said than done. When all you have is a shovel and you have to turn over a grassy lot, your back quickly begins to ache. Luckily the planting begins tomorrow.
Even though I have I just begun, something huge has already dawned upon me. What I have realized is that regardless of your actual ability to be a farmer (or gardener, depending on your definition. I’m looking at you Jack Fako.), your effort is what matters. When you put your heart and body into a project benefitting others, it fills you up with more strength. Experiencing the children at the facility running up and hugging me, even though they have no clue what I am actually doing, has been an emotional experience. This experience transcends my ability to farm and goes past my adroitness in comprehending Español. This is about one thing: connecting with other humans. When you show an effort in helping improve the human condition, it connects you to others in ways not achievable any way else. Simply put, energy put towards benefiting others ends up benefiting yourself more than anyone else.
While my work is meaningful in so many ways, both to myself and others, another great aspect of this experience is the independence. I walk from my host-family’s home to the bus stop and ride the bus for a few kilometers. After that, I walk, alone, for another kilometer, by myself. It has been exhilarating! Never before have I had to rely upon myself so much. Being in this situation has helped me become more aware of how society functions from the ground up, as well as begin to trust myself regarding good decisions.
Even though I have already planted roots in the wonderful city of Cordoba, we won’t actually plant seeds in the garden until tomorrow.