May Newsletter

Sally Fifield | YAMG 2015

Hi folks!

Autumn/winter has finally come to Corrientes. I cannot express my excitement to see the changing colors of leaves on my walk to work and to feel the cool breeze winding through the city. And with the falling leaves there is also an abundance of orange trees in the plaas full of fresh fruit for picking!

This month I celebrated Día de la Patria, Day of the Motherland. It is about celebrating your Argentine pride. I celebrated with some vendors from the farmers market. We ate the traditional dish of locro. This is a calorie heavy soup for the winter with beans, corn, and lots of cuts of meat, including pig intestine. It was very delicious. On various busy street corners you could see HUGE pots of locro with people lining up with tupperware to bring home. This is something very Argentine for me. A day of celebration is not cooking in the house, but sharing in communal cooking.

So this newsletter is devoted to the Day of the Motherland and sharing some of the great things that Argentina has brought to the world.

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How much do you know about Argentina?

President of the Republic of Argentina: Cristina Kirchner (part of the Justicialist Party)

Government: has the same process of checks and balances and the three same branches

Provinces: 23
Official Religion: Catholicism

Language: Spanish (Italian and German are spoken within some families who recently immigrated in the 1900s, along with English and Indigenous langauges)

National Tree: El Ceibo (from the national tree and flower), but I prefer the bright flowers of the lapacho tree and the spikey fat palo boracho tree (translates into drunk post because it has a beer belly for a trunk-- see photo).

National Bird: Hornero (I prefer the pitogue, pee-tow-weh. Legend says when this sings in the town that someone is pregnant)

Founding Father: General José de San Martin

Argentina is as long as the U.S. is wide

Argentine Inventions

Next time you see an Argentine thank them for inventing the following:
  • Helicopter
  • Animated Shorts: It was not disney! it was Quirino Cristini. He made a political cartoon about President Yrigoyen called, El Apóstol
  • Buses (1928)
  • Ballpoint Pens
  • Blood Transfusions
  • Night navigations for planes
  • By pass surgery: René Favaloro
  • Artifical Heart: 1924 Domingo Santo Liotta
  • Barbed Wire

Famous Folks from Argentina:

  • Che Guevara- Activist that traveled throughout Latin America to understand the struggle of society. Ended up un Cuba as a political leader.
  • Pope Francis- current Pope of the Catholic Church from Buenos Aires (I visited his home church!)
  • Lionel Messi- Famous soccer player for team Barcelona. Won various awards like best player of the year for FIFA in 2009, for all of Europe in 2010-11, and is the teams top scorer of all time. When I asked about famous people from Argentina many people could only think of football players. There is still bitterness from the Argentina-Germany game from the world cup.
  • Jorge Luis Borges- Essayist, poet, writer. Most common works: El Aleph and Ficciones
  • Mercedes Sosa- argentine singer from Tucuman that is known is as "the voice of the voiceless" because she sang of the struggle of the people
  • Soda Stereo- one of the most famous bands from Argentina. If you like alternative rock/ska you should give them a listen

Legends and Folktales

Here in Corrientes there are two common images that you on t-shirts, car decals, keychains, tattoos, business signs, and framed pictures in the house. These are stories important in understanding the culture and history of Corrientes.

Guachito Gil:

A Robin Hood type story about a man from Mercedes, Corrientes in the 1840s. During the war between Argentina and Paraguay Guachito Gil fought and then fled the war. He became an outlaw and gave to the poor. He was in love with the sheriff's sister which made him a target for the police even more. The police found him one day, before they killed him, Guachito Gil said that the sheriff's son would become extremely ill and if they asked him, Gauchito Gil could save him. They killed him anyway. When the sheriff returned home his son was sick but the spirit of Gauchito decided to save him anyway. Now the story is that people pray to Gauchito Gill for protection and safe passage. It is common to see little shrines dedicated to Gauchito Gil on road sides. He is known as the saint of the truckers.

Virgin de Itatí:

This is the story of an appearance of the Virgin Mary in the town of Itatí. After Jesuit missionaries converted much of the land this image appeared two time in the same place signifying that the Virgin Mary was protecting this land and the people. Now every year people make pilgrimages to Itatí to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for protecting and taking care of them.

Two shout outs this month:
I want to make a shout out to my mom because I forgot about Mother's Day this year-- I LOVE YOU MOM! and I am sorry!!
And to Claudia, the german volunteer, who spent this past nine months with me. She left last night to return back to Germany and will be missed very much.

Until next time,

Sally Jane