On December the 23rd Projects Abroad volunteers gathered at the office for a special night to celebrate an international Christmas all together. Every volunteer brought a typical Christmas dish which is eaten in their country.
Everyone had a great time tasting each others dishes and discovering new flavors!
CHRISTMAS IN ARGENTINA!
When thinking of celebrating "la Navidad" in Argentina prepare yourself for blue skies, warm temperatures and a delightful breeze. In Buenos Aires especially, the scent of orange blossoms, jasmine, and honeysuckle is in the air, and lots of beautifully-coloured flowers are everywhere at Christmas time.
During Christmas in Argentina, children write a letter to Santa. This is a unique tradition since in the majority of Latin American countries children write to el nino Dios or baby Jesus instead. This stems from their European influence where writing to Santa is fairly common.
During the night of the 24th of December families gather at the grandparents home, including brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc; all to celebrate “La Navidad.” It is also common to see young people in their 20s go out at midnight and come back home in early morning.
Foods for Celebrating Christmas in Argentina
The families previously agree on the Christmas menu that traditionally requires each participant to bring a dish, a beverage or any part of the “cena de Navidad” – Christmas dinner. Since Christmas in Argentina happens during the Summer time the climate calls for a Christmas menu with cold salads, beverages and dishes that make you feel refreshed.
The favourite cold salads are the Waldorf and the Russian. The main dish can be sweet and sour pig, chicken Provencal style, and “pesheto” or tongue, but the most traditional dish is grilled meat or “parrillada Argentina” as they call it.
The “sidra” used in Argentina for Christmas has a very similar complexion to that of Spain. Argentineans also drink champagne. The best time to drink “sidra” is right after being poured because it has this "sparkling" characteristic you don't want to lose.
In Argentina Christmas also includes delightful desserts like “turrones” –a type of candy- and “pan dulce” or sweet bread called “panetone” which has crystallized fruits and nuts, especially almonds.
Celebrating Christmas in Argentina Must Include “Pólvora” and Presents!
At midnight on the 24 of December you can hear the explosions from the fireworks going on everywhere. “Quemar pólvora” –lighting fireworks - hugging and kissing family and friends, and opening presents that were placed under the Christmas tree is a must at midnight. Another beautiful tradition is to light "globos." They are paper decorations you light inside and they take off into the sky. Argentineans do it at night, and you can see the skies lit with them.
Today very few families go to church to share in the midnight mass. Even though Christmas is one of the top holidays in Argentina, it has become more of a commercial holiday than a religious one. The old tradition was to hand make the presents but as Argentineans became more affluent they started to incorporate imported gifts. Argentina entered an economic recession in 2002 forcing many people to go back to their old traditions of low expenses and hand-made presents at Christmas time.
Traditional Decor at Christmas in Argentina
In Argentina Christmas is an important holiday and this is evident in the decorations that every home displays. Wreaths in green, gold, red and white along Christmas trees decorate the living rooms. Argentineans decorate the Christmas tree with laces, balls, Santa Clause figures or "Papa Noels" -an American influence-, and candles. The “pesebre”, or Nativity, also plays an important role and it is placed close to the tree. It is interesting to see many people use cotton balls on the branches of the Christmas tree and throughout the nativity to simulate snow.
Some of my Argentinean friends tell me that celebrating Christmas in Argentina has a special place in their hearts. You may try it one day and be amazed at the difference between having a traditional cold weather Christmas and warm weather outdoors one.
Like in any other Hispanic country, Christmas in Argentina is about family, mixed with some religion and lots of enjoyment. The difference is that in Argentina Christmas is a convergence of European, American and Hispanic traditions.
Hola, my name is Thomas Hedley and I’m a 3rd year university student from Canada with aspirations of studying medicine. I decided to travel to Cordoba as I wanted an opportunity to experience the medical field all the while gaining exposure to a new language, culture, and way of life. My month in Argentina gave me all of these things and more.
When I first arrived I was quite nervous as this was my first time travelling and I was in a country where I knew little of the language. For 3 weeks I worked at Sanatorio Sierras Chicas in Unquillo alongside Dr. Mulki, a kind and brilliant man. I experienced all parts of this small hospital, including the Intensive Care Unit, the Traumatology Ward, the X-Ray Ward, the medical lab, and the patient clinic. After my first week, I became more familiar with the language and because of that was able to take on more responsibility. Dr. Mulki taught me how to take a patient’s blood pressure and then gave me a chance to do it for some of his patients. I got to know some of the patients in the Intensive Care Unit and the Traumatology Ward, and it always put a smile on their face when I, the “Flaco de Canada”, came to visit them. The important thing I learned from these 3 weeks was to break out of my shell; to not be shy because if you want to do something or know something you have to put yourself out there and ask!
After my second week of work, it was a long weekend and I used this as an opportunity to travel to Puerto Igazsu to see the renowned Igazsu Falls which border Paraguay, Argentina, and Brasil. The 22 hour bus ride to get there is worth every minute when you get to the park and see those waterfalls. They are the most incredible instance of nature I have ever seen and the image of the water on that beautiful August day will be forever etched into my memory. The hostel I stayed in with 3 other volunteers (from all over the world) was so much fun and this entire weekend was one of the most memorable of my life.
I returned my third week to continue working at Sierras Chicas in the mornings, while starting at Instituto de Maternidad in the afternoons with Dr. Mercado, a generous man with a great sense of humour. At the Maternity Hospital, I sat beside Dr. Mercado as he conducted his ultrasound examinations of pregnant women. He took the time to explain and help me understand the details associated with each patient and from this I was able to learn so much about radiology and pregnancy.
My last week, I worked at Hospital Pediatrico in the mornings and continued at the Maternity Hospital in the afternoons. I worked in the outpatient clinic with various doctors, watching as they examined their child patients. It was amazing to see how these doctors interacted with the children; they could always make the kids smile, no matter how they came in feeling. I really enjoyed this experience as all the doctors were really friendly to me and were always happy to answer any questions I had.
When I was not in the hospitals, I immersed myself in the culture of Argentina. Cordoba is an adventure waiting to happen if one embraces the local traditions: speaking Spanish, eating a very late supper, taking part in a barbeque, dancing the night away, going out until the sun rises, drinking matte anywhere and anytime, having a coffee with friends, eating lomos, bargaining at the local markets, and navigating the bus system. Add to that, the incredibly friendly and fun people of Argentina and you have an experience you will get nowhere else in the world.
My experience in Cordoba was truly life-changing and I have taken from it many friends and memories that will remain with me for the rest of my life. It has given me a chance to help people, learn about the medical field, explore a new culture and language, and discover new things about myself. As a result, I see my life and the world in a totally different light.
While you are in Argentina, you will come across the famous Alfajor – a caramel filled cookie. They are very popular in Argentina and are generally eaten with mate which is a typical Argentinean drink. Try out this traditional recipe.
Makes 20 cookies
Last Friday, December 9th, we had our Monthly Social at la Fabrica Cultural, a bar/restaurant in the center of Cordoba city. An electro Folk night had been organized with the performance of various artists. Over 16 volunteers gathered for a great night and enjoyed the sounds of the drums & guitars of the Folk music.
As we all know, the music of Argentina is known mostly for the tango, which developed in Buenos Aires and surrounding areas. However, in most parts of Argentina, folk music—called folklore in Spanish — is very popular and comes in many forms with different European and indigenous influences.
Among the first traditional folk groups to record extensively in Argentina, three of the most influential were from the northwest: Los Chalchaleros and Los Fronterizos from the Province of Salta and the Ábalos brothers from Santiago del Estero Province. Becoming nearly instant successes following their first albums around 1950, they inspired a revival of the genre in Argentina.
A famous soloist in the genre is guitarrist Eduardo Falú, known for the many compositions that set traditional poetry into music. Traditional folk music became increasingly important during the protest movement against the military dictatorship and the community divisions of the 1970s, with artists like Mercedes Sosa and Atahualpa Yupanqui, contributing to the development of nueva canción. Soledad Pastorutti ('La Sole') has brought folklore to a new audience, and in the early 21st century Juana Molina has proposed a fusion between electronic music and folklore with ambient sounds, a gentle voice and short zambas.
A well-known venue for Argentine folklore music, the Cosquín National Folklore Festival, has been gathering musicians from the genre annually since 1961. A modest event at first, the festival has grown to include folk musicians from neighboring countries and Asia, as well as from throughout Argentina, itself. Focusing on folklore music, the festival nevertheless features talent from the worlds of tango, acoustic music and international culture.
Jeg ankom endelig Cordoba med spente følelser for hva de neste ukene skulle bringe.
Jeg ble hentet på flyplassen av Ines, og sammen dro vi til familien jeg skulle bo hos. Og for meg var det essensielt at tingene skulle klaffe hjemme hos familien for at oppholdet som helhet ville bli en bra opplevelse.
Allerede like etter jeg hadde landet i Argentina (jeg hadde første natten i Buenos Aires) ble jeg virkelig gjort oppmerksom på hvor dårlig det sto til med mine spanskkunnskaper og at det skulle bli svært interessant å se hvordan det skulle gå med meg og kommunikasjonen i en spansktalende tilværelse.
Jeg skulle bo hos familien Tomassi, og jeg visste på forhånd at de kun snakket spansk. Familien var en mor – Norma og datteren Ingrid på 28 år, i tillegg hadde de 2 hunder som skapte ytterligere liv i leiren.
Og heldigvis!!! Denne familien var noe for seg selv; utrolig hyggelige, interesserte og hjelpsomme! Ulempen var selvfølgelig at jeg min spansk ikke var tilfredstillende god, men det gjorde meg bare mer motivert til å lære språket, for det første for å kunne forstå korte beskjeder, men også for å kunne uttrykke meg selv og være sosial med familien.
Sofia fra Projects Abroad ga meg en introduksjonsdag 2. dagen i Cordoba sentrum. Mye praktisk info om alt mulig og vi avrunda med en skikkelig god argentisk lunsj – nydelig mørt kjøtt! Fantastisk!
Denne dagen var vi innom kontoret og hilste på spankslæreren Gabriella. Jeg ble sååå positivt overrasket, hun var ei usedvanlig energifylt jente med lovord om at vi sammen skulle få spansken på plass i løpet av kurset. Hun var veldig overbevisende og jeg var nå overbevist om at dette skulle gå bra og at dette skulle bli et minneverdig opphold.
Mitt fokus for denne turen var å lære spansk og bli kjent med den argentiske kulturen. De første ukene gikk fort og jeg hadde glemt hvordan det var å lære et nytt språk. Det tok mye energi å lære, men utrolig artig å lære. Undervisningsopplegget var lagt opp veldig praktisk og det passet meg perfekt. Undervisningen føltes som skreddersydd for meg. Gabriella hadde kjempebra opplegg og var basert på intensiv en-til-en undervisning. Rådene som ble gitt underveis var å bruke så mye av det jeg hadde lært i praksis ved enhver situasjon jeg måtte treffe på, og derimot helst ikke sitt inne på rommet ditt og studer et språk. Undervisningen var variert og vi kunne gjøre ting som; gå på kafè, butikken, museum, se argentisk film, lage mat på norsk og argentinsk vis, og dette ble en unik måte å lære seg språk og kultur på. Jeg rett og slett digget det!!
Jeg følte velkomsten blant argentinerne var varm, især kontrastfyllt blir det for meg som kommer fra beskjedne Norge. Det er lett å komme i kontakt med hvem som helst man møter på, i parken i butikken, på treningstudio feks. Og hvis man bare prøver vil folk fortelle deg at spansken din er god, og det hjelper uansett om det er fortalt deg som en hyggelig ting.
Foruten om spansken fikk jeg en dypere innføring i spising av Asado, det skal gjøres er man i Argentina. Det er grillmat og det er MYE kjøtt, og dette kan de. Vi hadde flere sosiale sammenkomster og det er i tillegg til mat egentlig en stor sosial kose-greie å gjøre sammen med venner og familie. Og sosialt er også matè. Det er en varm drikk, den er smaksatt ved hjelp av urter. Smaker litt te-aktig og gesten er rotfast til historien og det sosiale hos argentinerne.
Kvelder og helger ble brukt til å dra på ulike utflukter. Sosiale arrangementer var en kjempefin måte å få sett nye ting i tillegg til å møte andre voluntører. Jeg tok blant annet del i en dugnadshelg arrangert av Projects Abroad hvor vi pusset opp 4 barnerom på et barnehjem. Andre utflukter ble: Tur til Las Sierras, Tangoleksjon og show, m.m. Utrolig spennede var det å være tilstede under fotball- VM og jeg var plutselig en ihuga fotballsupporter! Gleden og jubelen stod i taket i stua når Argentina scoret og det var masse jubel, klemming og dansing i stua – JUBEL!
Mens jeg var i Argentina fikk jeg veldig sansen for dansen og de latinske rytmene. Rett borti gata lå et dansestudio hvor jeg deltok i timer; Brasilero og Ritmos Latinos. Veldig krevende å få utforsket hoftevrikkingen, men sååå morsomt! Stemninga hjemme i huset var til og med så avslappet så jeg og Norma prøvde noen dansebevegelser sammen på kjøkkenet. Hun er så festlig og frisinnet! Samtalene rundt middagsbordet ble tilslutt svært interessante og sprø når jeg kom dithen at jeg kunne forstå og delta i skravleriet.
Det ble tilslutt vanskelig å forlate alt og alle i Cordoba etter 4 uker, MYE vanskeligere enn forventet. Jeg hadde så mange flotte opplevelser på veldig kort tid og det tok brått slutt og jeg skulle reise videre. Jeg er utrolig takknemlig for alle menneskene jeg møtte som bidro til et fantastisk opphold. Jeg vil gjerne få lov til å takke alle som en som jeg traff på, men særlig takk til Gabriella – den beste læreren noensinne, Norma, Ingrid, Vanessa, Ariel, Carolina og resten av gjengen i Projects Abroad, Cordoba!!
Tusen tusen takk, og jeg håper virkelig vi ses igjen!!
Hidden deep in the South American jungle, the vast expanse of roaring water that is Iguazú Falls takes your breath away. One of the world's greatest natural wonders, the falls mark the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Taller than Niagara Falls, twice as wide with 275 cascades spread in a horse shoe shape over nearly two miles of the Iguazu River, Iguazú Falls are the result of a volcanic eruption which left yet another large crack in the earth. During the rainy season of November - March, the rate of flow of water going over the falls may reach 450,000 cubic feet per second. Swirling mist is cast up by the water crashing over the rim of a crescent-shaped cliff, about 2.5 miles long. Iguazú National Park provides a wonderful setting, full of colourful flora and an array of creatures, ranging from millions of delicate yellow butterflies to silent crocs staring up out the reeds.
The rumble of the water and the rising column of mist make you aware of the falls long before you can see them. They can be visited on either the Brazilian or Argentinean side, but to get a real feel for the place, take a couple of days and do both. The Brazilian side gets you right up to the raging torrent that is the Devils Gorge, whereas the Argentinean side lets you take it all in, in a more scenic manner.
A very special way to see the falls is by moonlight, which is possible every full moon night. A meal is provided on the Argentine side, then you walk out to see the full force of the waterfall in its late night glory. Just don't walk out too far...
Last weekend over 12 volunteers and I decided to escape to heat of Cordoba to go to Mar Chiquita for the day. Mar Chiquita (in Spanish literally "Little Sea") is a salt lake located in the northeast of the province of Córdoba. It is the largest of the naturally occurring saline lakes in Argentina!
Mar Chiquita is a huge wetland populated by a large biodiversity (especially aquatic birds). We saw for example many Chilean flamingos flying over us. A truly incredible sight!
From the southwest the lake receives the flow of the Primero/Suquía and the Segundo/Xanaes rivers, as well as several streams; these inflows vary greatly from dry to rainy seasons. The salinity of Mar Chiquita is quite variable, with measured extremes ranging from 250 g/l in times of low water levels to around 40 g/l in very humid years, such as in the decade following 1977, when record rainfall flooded much of Miramar.
There are several islands in the lake, the most important one being the Médano Island. Mar Chiquita is slowly diminishing in volume due to increased evaporation and elevation of its bottom, and is ultimately bound to turn into a salt flat. The lake was formerly home to a growing tourism industry, and was the site of the Gran Hotel Vienna, a luxurious, lakefront establishment which functioned from 1945 to 1980, and has been the center of numerous mysteries and controversies.
You can't do everything yourself. Therefore, if you want to get something done, you have to persuade others to work with you. When they are listening to your ideas and following your plan, you are leading. But how do you get from here to there?
This course will show you how to listen, to learn the important things about working with a community of people, about reflection - and then about deciding and leading. You will learn how to turn an idea into a bold reality. In the challenging conditions of the High Andes you will
discover your leadership skills.
Through group activities, you will learn specific techniques for self-assessment, for planning action, for resolving conflict in a small group and for organising challenging activities step by step. You will learn how to recognise the kind of behaviour which facilitates successful endeavour and to deal with the kind of behaviour, in yourself and others, which impedes success and generates failure. You will learn how a community functions. If you have it in you, you will learn to be a leader.
Guillermo Cogorno, who leads this 2 Week Special programme, has long experience of working closely with students from American universities on leadership programmes. Guillermo will show you how to meet challenges by earning the help and support of others. He will show you how to create and control the dynamics of the community in which you find yourself. He will, in fact, show you how to be a leader.
At the weekend volunteers usually visit the hills to see traditional villages and huge condors. There may also be an opportunity to visit the house which once belonged to the famous Argentine socialist revolutionary, Che Guevara.
What a wonderful summer's day to start this week in Cordoba. Many things are currently happening here as the end of the year approaches and we get ready to start 2011 with new placements, a new project and many upcoming volunteers!
Last week over 30 volunteers met at our Monthly Social which took place at a bar restaurant called MANDINGA located in the old neighborhood of Cordoba city – barrio Guëmes. We enjoyed a nice meal, good company and watched locals dance tango around us! =)
Make your way down towards the very tip of South America and the cold begins to set in. The freezing waters of the Antarctic lap the shores and icy winds blow northwards. Los Glaciares National Park lies at the southern tip of Patagonia and it is an area of stunning natural beauty.
Here the freezing temperatures and mysterious waters have combined to create a weird but wonderful landscape. Towering, rugged mountains show their reflections in the many glacial lakes, one of which - Lake Argentino - is no less than 100 miles long. The wildlife here ranges from ducks to penguins to pumas, foxes, otters, dolphins and whales.
There are a total of 47 glaciers here, all part of the Patagonian Ice Field that extends over 14,000 sq km, making it the largest ice mantle outside Antarctica. Perito Moreno is the glacier with the most fans. Regarded as one of the wonders of the natural World it rises 200ft above the water and is three miles across. This bluey white giant stretches 22 miles back through the Andes and is constantly advancing and collapsing in a never ending cycle.
To get to the park is an adventure in itself and should not be embarked upon lightly. Thousands do, however, and they are well rewarded for their efforts. Close to the glacier there is a ranger station with plenty of information about hiking routes and safety regulations. A lookout platform provides stunning views and a pier has been built to gain access to the glacier.
To stand on such a frozen expanse is a truly awesome experience, second only perhaps to the thrill of rowing out on the silvery grey waters in a boat. Rangers will take groups out to the glacier but the going is tough. As you near the wall of ice (blue in colour, creaking, thundering and cracking) the wind takes on a terrible chill. You will pass through icebergs recently separated from the glacier. These are dangerous and can roll or tip in the water around you. As more bergs break loose swells are created and great skill is required to avoid being capsized. This is a tremendous display of destruction and renewal.
Those of you who prefer a warmer climate may be surprised to learn that this 1.7 million sq hectare park is the most popular attraction in the Aisén region. Most people visit in the temperate summer months (November to March).
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