The creation of Sarmiento Park at the end of the XIX century made the imagination of the architects who dreamed about setting up a zoo in the SE limit (Gully of the parrots) fly. It was the least he could do, because there the geography had gullies and rough tracks with such dense vegetation that it was impossible not to imagine a jungle.
The project was carried out by Jose Scherer, a naturist with wide experience on expeditions to Africa, Asia, Europe and America where he made important zoo biological and botanical studies. After dealing with some problems, the monumental zoo, one of the most beautiful in South America, was inaugurated on December 25th, 1915. From then, it became the place for walk par excellence of various generations of local people and tourists who found in it the perfect symbiosis between plants and animals with a language based on respect and love for the creation.
On a piece of land of about 20 hectares a display of passageways, tracks surrounded by cactus, arbors, bridges, waterfalls, and even a lake with islands are part of the landscape that combines with some premises built in the gullies emulating a natural habitat, and others of exquisite design from the fabulous Austro-Hungarian architect Juan Kronfus, as the one belonging to the standard bearer of the zoo “Taruca”, the elephant.
Today with almost a century, Cordoba Zoo continuous growing; it included technology according to the new tendencies like an applied zoology model center, modern infrastructure, an educational farm, a variety of circuits, and as a corollary a novel aquarium and marine zoo, with an entertaining show to transform this outing into a truly natural touristic resource in the middle of the great City.
National Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the world. The week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too.
Projects Abroad Argentina prepared for this year’s USA Volunteer Week (April 10-16 2011), a week established in 1974 that celebrates ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service. By organising additional activities throughout National Volunteer Week, Projects Abroad hopes to help volunteers build relationships with locals and extend an American tradition to international communities. When volunteers return home we hope they will initiate lasting service projects in their own communities.
In Argentina, we used this opportunity to highlight a special project we've been participating in since January 2010 - the Adobe Construction. A local school in Rio Ceballos is building eight adobe classrooms as part of a project to build an environmentally friendly school. Adobe is a natural building made from sand, clay, and water, with some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, dung), which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. Adobe structures are extremely durable and account for some of the oldest extant buildings on the planet. With no support from the government they need as much help as possible. Supportive of all environmentally friendly initiatives, Projects Abroad have been bringing volunteers to participate in the building of the project to make a dream come true.
Many more dreams await your help!
Since the first street plan was made, a narrow street would be the way to separate the Cathedral from the Cabildo. Since then, the history recorded the steps of the men who trod on those paving stones of the historic Santa Catalina Passage: from a policeman looking for his horse, to some Bishop after mass, to some foreign filmmaker doing a take… thousands of steps… thousands of stories. And not long ago, the mark of almost 2000 young people from Cordoba with voices that the military dictatorship of the 70s wanted to shut up. They didn’t know that they would form part of the saddest pages of the Argentinean history “The Missing ones”, they didn’t also know that those who remained alive would work for the memory and for an entire nation that said: NEVER AGAIN.
The Provincial Committee of the Memory’s main objective is to decide and guarantee all the activities established to enforce, advise and watch over the performance of the law of the memory. On the other hand, the Provincial records of the Memory are enshrined within the general regulations that the International Board of Records established for the documents which come from repressive systems.
El D2 was not an illegal center of permanent detention, but a place where those under arrest who arrived there were going to be sent to La Perla or San Martin Penitentiary. It was an operation center of the military dictatorship in which the groups of police intelligence service tasks were carried out in permanent contact with the Army intelligence services.
At present, the same walls that were witnesses of the most aberrant violations of the human rights, have become places that lead to the reconstruction of the past and its memories, like the cells, or the “Personal stories to be told” room, where a permanent exhibition rebuilds the life stories of the missing ones, through the contribution of friends, families and neighbors who brought objects that allow to remember them.
The Museo Provincial de la Memoria is open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10AM to 6PM – Pasaje Santa Catalina, 64
In January an ex-Projects Abroad volunteer returned to Argentina to face a great adventure - climb Aconcagua Mountain. It’s not only the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, but also the highest outside of Asia! In just under 3 weeks she climbed 22,834 ft (6,960 m) and reached the top to enjoy a spectacular view on the Andes.
Projects Abroad would like to congratulate Astrid for this amazing performance! Hurra Astrid!
A few facts on Aconcagua Mountain….
It lies west of Mendoza, entirely within Argentina territory, and immediately east of Argentina’s border with Chile. Its twin peaks, the northern of which is the tallest, can be seen from the coast of Chile 100 miles (162 km) away.
There are different interpretations of the origin of the name Aconcagua. It may be derived from the native Quechua akun (“summit”), ka (“other”), and agua (“admired” or “feared”). Thus, it is translated from Quechua as a summit that is feared or admired. Another version is that the name is derived from Arauca roots. Thus, Aconca-Hue is a Mapuche name for the corresponding Aconcagua River that, from Chile, “comes from the other side.”
The relatively new mountain was created by the subduction of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate. Geology of the Aconcagua area can be grouped in three basic time periods: a base that developed before the Jurassic period, Mesozoic sequences, and coverings from the Cenozoic period. Glaciers on Aconcagua include the Lower Horcones Glacier, the Upper Horcones Glacier, the Los Polacos (or Los Relinchos) Glacier (a climbing route), and the Güssfeldt Glacier. Glaciers on Mount Aconcagua are, owing to more arid conditions, less pronounced than those to the south in Patagonia.
Most of the vegetation and wildlife, because of the aridity and the short growing season at high elevations, are concentrated below 13,123 ft (4,000 m). Typical vegetation is low-growing brush (steppe) adapted to low temperatures, thin soils, and high winds. Brush species include lena amarilla, vareta, and cuerno de cabra, with grass species including huecu and coirones. Wildlife such as the condor, mora eagle, puma, and red fox migrate to lower elevations during winter. Mountain mice hibernate on site. Streams harbour chorlos, churrines, and torrent ducks. Guanacos (similar to llamas) can gather in large groups. Hares introduced from Europe are plentiful.
Aconcagua Mountain is a provincial park. It was included in 1983 as part of a network of 10 protected areas of the province of Mendoza. It is designated as a Protected Wilderness Area, based on its scenic, recreational, cultural, genetic, and biodiversity values. These areas serve as a reference in relation to similar yet degraded habitats.
General Don José de San Martín crossed the Andes near Aconcagua to liberate the Chilean area from the Spanish in 1817. His army of more than 5,300 men, 9,280 mules, and 1,600 horses crossed at more than 13,123 ft (4,000 m) in elevation. In 1835, Charles Darwin was one of the first European scientists to collect data about the mountain. In January 1985, a remarkable discovery was made by Argentine climbers—an Inca cemetery at 17,388 ft (5,300 m) in elevation. The site included circular stone walls, a mummy, and six statues—three human and three llama figures. Although the mountain is a large, singular massif, thus nicknamed the “Centinel del Piedra” (Stone Sentinel), various peaks around Aconcagua also surpass 16,404 ft (5,000 m).
Back in 1995 Adelina saw the deep need in her neighbourhood to feed little children as they were not getting an appropriate diet at their houses due to their poverty. Therefore, she started giving a snack every afternoon, consisting of some milk and bread, to 30 little children.
Nowadays she does this same thing for 118 kids and whenever she has the resources, she also provides them with dinner. She gets a small amount of help from the government so mainly this dining hall works thanks to the donations of kind people who know the place and thanks to Adelina’s big heart. As Adelina only gets help from one lady, a volunteer at the dining hall should start their day by cooking. Simple tasks as chopping onion or peeling potatoes are the most common. Serving the meals to the kids is another activity. You may have to feed the young babies who cannot do it on their own.
On our care placements it is important that you show the initiative and enthusiasm to immerse yourself into the job and spend your time productively. Your role is essentially as an extra pair of hands, and where children are involved, the more help available the better! As well as helping with the day-to-day running of the centre you will also have the freedom to come up with games and activities to keep the children amused and occupied. We recommend that you come prepared with ideas and materials. You could even teach some basic English and maths, if you feel this would be useful to the children. Art, music, drama and sport are always popular!
When working with children it’s always important to keep continuity in mind. And though it sounds logical and easy it might be more of a challenge than you would think.
Lack of continuity can be a problem for many different reasons. It’s possible to divide the reasons in to two groups: reasons to do with the volunteers and reasons to do with the kids.
4 continuity problems that may occur with the volunteer:
1. As a volunteer it is possible to have a lack of goals.
2. Different volunteers have different criteria for how you should treat the kids.
3. As a volunteer you are not there forever. You leave again, while other volunteers take your place.
4. Communication with the staff can be difficult and this not only because of the language barrier.
4 continuity problems that may occur with the kids:
1. Kids are leaving.
2. Kids change in their behaviour during your stay.
3. Kids have personal problems.
4. Kids are inconsistent in showing up.
There is one more thing that can interfere with the continuity and that is a lack of resources.
Knowing about these issues is important because it enables you to react in a way that enhances the continuity. This continuity should always be your biggest priority. Why?
1. Because of the impact it has on the children.
2. Because of the consistency it provides.
3. Because the children are at an age where they absorb everything.
4. So that the volunteer is able to achieve his/her goals.
All of this can be achieved in different ways, for example:
- If possible work together with an “old” volunteer and let them explain how everything works.
- Update the journal at your work placement. And take the time to read what the previous volunteers wrote.
- Show an interest in your work placement. Ask questions about what’s going on.
- Try to build up a relationship with the staff members. Learn their names and ask questions.
- Always leave a good impression; it makes it so much easier for the next volunteer.
- When you have problems don’t hesitate to contact a Projects Abroad staff member.
- Most importantly: Be patient!
If you keep all this in mind and always try to fall back on what you and the others before you have learned, it is possible to create continuity. But remember, in order to achieve anything you need a steady base to start from.
Manos Abiertas' mission is to promote and elevate the most disadvantaged, by improving their quality of life, relieving suffering, and easing situations of sheer need that arise from poverty, pain or any other type of want. Being inspired by such contemporary examples as P. Alberto Hurtado from Chile and Mother Therese of Calcutta, we propose to express love through action rather than words, by putting into practice our motto "To Love and Serve".
- To help the most disadvantaged, the poorest in our society.
- To treat the destitute not only with compassion but also with tenderness and respect.
- To share time in a family-like environment, where we can learn to gain trust and respect for each other.
Manos Abiertas was born in Villa de Mayo, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires in 1992 thanks to the initiative of a group of volunteers who, under Pr. Ángel Rossi's guidance, started distributing food and clothing to the needy. On April 23rd, 1999, Manos Abiertas became a Foundation by obtaining legal status under Resolution 000376, File 16637-15/99.
Our Projects in Cordoba
House for the children Jose Bainotti: gives shelter to children from 0 to 3 years old who are temporarily under juridical guard.
Casa de la Bondad: The Home’s objective is to provide palliative care to terminally ill patients coming from public hospitals. These patients have neither economic, nor social protection. Their families are absent or are incapable of taking care of them. The home seeks to help the neediest in this difficult time of their lives since it is the time when both effective material help is needed as well as spiritual and affective support.
Hospedería Padre Hurtado: In mid 2002, this temporary home was opened for male adults who live in the streets, who have no economic resources, and in some cases, have no family. It is a warm place for them to stay with bathroom facilities, food and a comfortable bed; a place where they may feel supported, accepted and taken care of. The objective is to help these men to recover their dignity and social rehabilitation by providing them with psychological, spiritual and social assistance.
Within the Hospedería, there is also a group of young volunteers who walk the downtown area at night looking for men who live in the street who would enjoy a warm meal, a little chat and some company. The intention is that, in the near future, these people choose to live in the Hospedería.
Equipo Madre Teresa de Calcuta: accompanies people who feel lonely and dejected.
Equipo Caminar de Nuevo: helps women with HIV Aids.
Testimonial from the volunteer group at Father Alberto Hurtado Hospice.
As volunteers of Father Alberto Hurtado Hospice, we want to share with you a little of our experience. When we came into the Foundation (Manos Abiertas - Open Hands) our country faced difficult times. Economic problems were adding to the social ones and to the lack of values.
The reality showed us that more and more people were forced to live marginally; and they suffered the indifference of our society, being in a way marginalized or at least held back.
In spite of all this, we understood that behind that painful social abandonment, there was a man who needed to start again, we not only understood that it was not enough to feel sorry for that social reality, but it was also necessary to do something for our dispossessed brother.
We knew that we wanted to do something for the most needy people at that moment, and we could make it possible with an invitation from Open Hands.
A proposal of joint work, to make us all conscious of the need we have for each other so that all those who had felt excluded, knew they were all necessary, and that we DID trust all of them.
The experience of taking part as a volunteer at the Hospice is enriching and gratifying, since we all receive a thousands times more than what we give; and that gives us happiness and strengthens our heart.
Today, we feel part of the Hospice, and in the people who form it. This house in the first place is of the people from the street and for them; but it is also ours, because in a way, the men from the streets arrived to Open Hands, and they allowed us to be part of their lives. They let us reach them, and so, day after day, with everybody’s generosity, we could carry out our objectives and the Foundation’s reason for being.
The obvious growth of the Hospice taught us many times even though the events are adverse and difficult, we can fight and go a long way. So everyday we try to get over the small obstacles, as well as to face our own fears of failure. We want to thank all those who make this project possible, for being with us and supporting us however they can.
This is just a testimony of faith and love.
Last Saturday, 6 volunteers and I met at Cordoba bus Terminal to head off the beaten track to La Cumbrecita. La Cumbrecita is a small mountain side village surrounded by waterfalls, rivers and pines. Unlike Cordoba, La Cumbrecita is a pedestrian only village that conserves its German heritage and Alpine style.
We spent the day hiking around town and to the fresh springs. We discovered the beauty of La Olla which is the closest swimming hole in town, but options are unlimited if you are willing to hike around. About a 25 minute hike from town is La Cascada Grande, one of the three waterfalls nestled in the mountain side. Cerro La Cumbrecita (1400m) is the highest point in town and Cerro Wank (1715m) is the highest peak.
This day out of town was also an opportunity to eat some great food! We had an amazing lunch in a restaurant called La Roc-k and later on in the afternoon we got our taste buds waggling when we took shelter from the rain in a traditional teahouse hidden by the river. It was truly a great day and I would like to thank all the volunteers who came to La Cumbrecita!
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