Experiencing different sides
It’s halfway march now,
A few weeks ago, my host sister and me took the bus from Asuncion to Corrientes. A northern Argentinian city where a lot of exchange students live. The bus trip took about 5.5 hours and we arrived around 06:30. At arrival a friend of my sister named Sacha picked us up with her car. We immediately fell asleep in the car and after we arrived at our ‘host’ house the friend of my sister had the idea of leaving us in the car since we were already sleeping.. Well, the holes in the streets didn’t wake us up but the warmth of the Argentinean sun definitely did.
At daytime, Sacha gave us a tour in her city. She showed us that there were two big cities(: Resistencia and Corrientes) that are separated from each other by a large river. She even explained us that in both cities they have a different accent and that they even have a border since they are both located in a different province.
Sacha lives in Resistencia, but a lot of exchange students that I wanted to visit live in Corrientes. So we went to both. What I found most fun in these cities is that there really is a center. A large street that consists of clothes shops, cafes and restaurants. While that does not really exist in Asuncion. Everyone goes to the malls, but really lacks a center, but maybe that is because it’s considered the hottest capital in the world?!
That evening Sacha held a house party at her place. Sacha lives in a very big house including a pool. So we made it a pool party. During my stay in Argentina I also visited a Danish friend of mine who lived in Corrientes. We went to the beach in Corrientes. Well, kind of a beach since its still the same river. Only on the Corrientes side you can swim. We decided to go kayaking as well as taking a trip on the banana boat. This was also super cheap, about 5 euros for 15/20 minutes on a banana boat. The river has a strong current, so we had to wear a lifejacket. I later heard that there were even several people who deceased in the river due to the current. So a life jacket is really needed .. At one point during the tour I had the great idea to just use one hand to hold myself on the boat instead of two. So one side of my body got in the water and with the other side I tried to stick to the boat. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of the fact that because of the strength of the water my short would fall off… Luckily, I did manage to keep my short. At night we went to an Irish pub. With “real” Irish beer. And reggae music, which did seem a little again strange for an Irish pub. During the rest of my time I had a lot of fun and a lot of new experiences.
The weekend after my trip to Argentina I participated in building a house in slum. This is done through TECHO, a volunteer organization that has a lot of projects to improve the situation for poor people in Paraguay. The idea is to build a house in a weekend for a family. When I heard of the idea I immediately wanted to do it. In my opinion, the fact of seeing people happy after you´ve done something gives me so much more satisfaction rather than to transfer money to a charity account where you will never know whether your money actually arrived at the place you wanted it to. We spent the nights in a school near the slum, sadly there were no showers. Imagine, working in 40 degree celcius, all weekend long, with no showers! Saturday we woke up around 6am. Then, around 7 o’clock in the morning we went to the families. The group was divided into groups of 5/6 and in total we would make about 7 houses. First, when I arrived with my group to the place where the family was living it really was a shock. I´ve never seen such a poor place, but this even motivated me more to do my best. Allthough the family was poor, they still were really happy! This gave me a smile on my face for the rest of the weekend. After we met the family we went to work. The first step is to put a foundation in the ground. This is the hardest and most difficult part because it really should be 100% water lead. During the construction the family made lunch and provided us with plenty of water. After a long day of work we finished the foundation and floor. We did manage to clean ourselves a little bit back at the school. That evening the organization organized some kind of dance show. Every construction group had to perform an act. This was also very enjoyable.
Sunday we continued our construction early. We started with the walls, then the roof foundation and eventually attached the roof onto the foundation. Around 5 pm, we completely finished the house and we showed it to the new owners. It was one of the best experiences so far for me in Paraguay.