(Part 3 of my experience in Argentina.)
By: Shaan Fye, Executive Director
Argentina has been real, in more ways than one. In addition to transforming a barren yard into the beginnings of an organic garden, I have forged meaningful relationships, both with the locals, and other volunteers. Being able to interact with others sharing concordant goals has strengthened my desire to continue working to benefit others around me and renewed my will to do so. At the same time, I have taken this amalgam of new experiences and relationships and reflected it back towards my growth as a human being. I find within myself more empathy, enthusiasm, and willingness to immerse myself in foreign situations than ever before. In essence, Argentina has given much more to me than I have given to her.
All of this personal growth shouldn’t shadow the real reason I came here! In these 3 weeks, I was entrusted with the responsibility of turning the backyard of a youth care center into a functional garden. The project had its fair share of ups and downs, but overall I feel that it will both improve the nutrition of the people while beautifying the area. Basically, all within my time here, we tore up the weed-laden ground, formed raised beds, planted cold crops (it’s winter here), and surrounded the area with flowers. This will allow the youth center to utilize free, fresh vegetables like spinach in a month or two. I have interacted both with the caretakers at this program and the youth, helping to break up the one-way conversations with the seeds I was planting. I found both groups to be wonderful, kind, and insightful, patiently explaining mundane concepts to me in extremely basic Spanish. The everlasting magnanimity I have received in these three weeks at the care center will stay with me forever, encouraging me to make others feel the same way I currently feel.
I also have to thank my hosts, the Nis family, for providing me with a safe, loving, and comfortable home. They were overwhelmingly accommodative of my nutty food habits, and helped to educate me about the Argentine culture so I wouldn’t embarrass myself inadvertently. When my phone’s alarm didn’t wake me up last week, delaying the rest of my day, they made sure I was up on time from there on out. I am not going to lie, I was a bit hesitant about the homestay experience, as I thought I would be too imposing on the family, but I was proved wrong. To anyone on the fence about a homestay, I would strongly suggest just going for it. It is one of those things where as soon as you experience it, all the fear melts away.
This trip has helped define me in so many ways. It is amazing to think about the growth I have witnessed in only 3 weeks. Now, with this under my belt, I can attack larger goals. I don’t view the conclusion of this trip as the finale of my new experiences, but instead, only the beginning. I can confidently say that because I took the first step head-on, and didn’t look back. Thanks for reading.