Sally Fifield. November 2014 YAGM Newsletter.
Times Flies in November!
Retiro Espiritual (Spiritual Retreat)
Every three months my program has a retreat for the 8 volunteers that are in Argentina and Uruguay. I decided to head to Buenos Aires a couple days early to explore the big city with a volunteer who lives there. A bus ride from Corrientes to Buenos Aires is about 13 hours. Taking buses across the country is a common way of traveling. When I arrived, I spent the day strolling the streets, taking a self guided (and created) tour of the restaurants and cafes of the city, and talking in English with the other volunteers.
From Buenos Aires, we all traveled to Uruguay. We spent our spiritual retreat at Centro Emmanuel, an ecumenical retreat center and working organic farm. This was a much needed retreat for all of the volunteers, me incuded. To be able to talk about the struggles of the first three months, how to overcome these struggles, and support each other was a great way to reflect on my experiences in Corrientes. My biggest struggle the past three months is feeling comfortable and confident in myself. Not being able to express myself fully and freely in Castellano, the dialect of Spanish spoken here, was not something I was prepared for. I was feeling like a burden to conversations because of my level of Spanish. Ultimately, I was being the biggest barrier to myself for creating deeper relationships and adancing with my Spanish. Just being back from the retreat for over a week I can already see and feel the difference as I let go of those negative sentiments.
While part of the retreat was to explore these feelings, the other part was to have fun together and learn more about the farm we were at. We learned the process of making cheese from the cows on the farm. We also celebrated Thanksgiving together and cooked recipes from our families. I had the honor of cooking Grammy Char's green beans. I think the turned out pretty well!
After the retreat, I went to Montevideo to see where two of the volunteers are living and later to a suburb outside of Buenos Aires to visit another volunteer's placement. It was a long ten days of traveling, but I returned reenergized and ready to dive into my work and community.
New recipes, new experiences, and new friends. So much to be thankful for.
Beach in Montevideo
Sorry! I know it is snowing in Minnesota right now.
Learning about the plants and work on the farm.
Investigación de La Feria Franca (Research of the Farmers Market)
It has been great to push myself to speak with strangers and get rid of the fear of speaking out loud in public with my accent. I have formed a great bond with the farmers at each market. They are like a family to me here. Not to mention how great it is to have fresh, affordable, and quality vegetables available every day!
Día de Acción de Gracias (Thansgiving)
Saturday I had yet another Thanksgiving to celebrate with friends in Corrientes. I think I have perfected making stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie- all from scratch and most of the produce and the chicken was the from farmer's market.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,