Healthcare in Argentina

‘Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.´  The hospitals and clinics I visited in 7 cities were all different, but the story was more or less the same…. there is no money.  I found the hospital staff amiable and competent… always willing to take the time to show me around and explain things.  In the operations I observed, many of the supplies were non-disposable (including cloth drapes and gowns).  Though we have newer technology and supplies in Idaho, I am impressed with the way these hospitals are able to do what is necessary with less.

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A Yoga Class in Argentina

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While we were visiting Bolivar, Argentina, I got to attend a yoga class. The yoga studio was in the back of someone´s apartment in the center of the city. The studio was sunny, had hardwood floors, and pretty much looked like a yoga studio in the U.S.

The class itself however was a different experience, being in Spanish and all. I felt like I had to pay a bit more attention to directions, but it wasn´t a distraction nor a deterrent to being able to focus or be present. It also offered a good review of Spanish body part vocabulary. For example, I had forgotten that your rodijos (rodillos) are your knees.

Through this class, I also realized the universality of yoga. The class was made up entirely of women about my age or a bit older, while is exactly what my classes are like in the states. I think the evolution of yoga is absolutely fascinating and the fact that it has migrated to pretty much all parts of the world is so interesting. We did a fair amount of chanting in the class and the idea of connecting to the universal ´´om´´ took on new meaning. The yoga mats had the following words on them ´´Yoga: un lugar para sentir y compartir´´ or a place to feel and share.

During the savasana (corpse pose) at the end of class, one woman in the class fell asleep and was snoring a bit. She later shared with us that she has been suffering from insomnia for the past 10 years! She is seeing a psychologist and has identified that for whatever reason, she feels ill at ease and unable to relax in the city of Bolivar and for this, she cannot sleep. I thought it was really meaningful that she felt safe and relaxed in the yoga class surrounded by a group of people and was able to finally fall asleep.

My last observation of the class was related to the format of the clas. We mostly did stretching, a few asanas (poses), and chanting. For all intents and purposes, it was not a work out. The majority of yoga classes in the U.S. that I have attended are directed way more in the work out direction. I think this distinction is very interesting. Most Americans hold a notion that movement or exercise is futile unless you ´´feel the burn´´ or sweat or hurt or are completely exhausted afterwards. From the perspective of a yoga teacher, this is a difficult mindset to work with. I believe that yoga is and should be therapeutic. This class is Bolivar was 100% therapeutic and for me, I want to persevere in offering classes that are restorative, therapeutic, and safe. I want my students to leave the class and feel better than when they entered.

 

Libraries in Argentina

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I’ve had the opportunity to visit four different libraries in Santa Rosa, Trenque Lauquen, Bolivar, and Tandil, Argentina. I learned a lot about how these libraries function. The most salient idea that I gleaned from all these visits was related to the need for libraries to be cultural centers. In times of economic crisis and budget cuts, libraries cannot simply act as repositories for paper materials. These three libraries in Argentina promote events to bring the community together, whether for hosting folkloric dancing, chess tournaments, and meetings of celebration and skill sharing. This concept of being a community centerpiece is equally applicable for U.S. libraries. These libraries must be used as a nexus in the circle of connectivity. Libraries still house paper books and they’re going to continue doing that for quite a while longer even as we transition to ebooks. However, libraries also offer a tremendous resource through research librarians who have exemplary resources to search for and find quality information. Libraries should have open doors for anyone seeking information and should only be the first stop as the patrons use the help from research librarians and continue to explore on their own, whether through Internet, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Libraries in Argentina

I’ve had the opportunity to visit four different libraries in Santa Rosa, Trenque Lauquen, Bolivar, and Tandil, Argentina. I learned a lot about how these libraries function. The most salient idea that I gleaned from all these visits was related to the need for libraries to be cultural centers. In times of economic crisis and budget cuts, libraries cannot simply act as repositories for paper materials. These three libraries in Argentina promote events to bring the community together, whether for hosting folkloric dancing, chess tournaments, and meetings of celebration and skill sharing. This concept of being a community centerpiece is equally applicable for U.S. libraries. These libraries must be used as a nexus in the circle of connectivity. Libraries still house paper books and they’re going to continue doing that for quite a while longer even as we transition to ebooks. However, libraries also offer a tremendous resource through research librarians who have exemplary resources to search for and find quality information. Libraries should have open doors for anyone seeking information and should only be the first stop as the patrons use the help from research librarians and continue to explore on their own, whether through Internet, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Vocational Day 2.5– Caitlin

In addition to my vocational visit to the fantastic library in Trenque Lauquen, I also had the opportunity to meet with a group of local writers.

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These writers were astounding! They were unbelivably warm and welcoming and each one gave me a copy of his/her work, whether a published book or a copy of some poems. One woman pointed out that one of her poems was written about her boyfriend who was one of the desaparecidos (disappeared) from the brutal dictatorships of the 70s and 80s. 

We also talked about the process of writing. All of these writers prefer to hand-write their pieces before typing them up on computers. For them, it was very important to experience the sensation of their hands holding the pens and making contact with the paper; typing on a computer was too distant from the writing. One woman also shared her method of biking and keeping a notepad and paper in the basket and stopping and scribbling the ideas as inspiration struck.

I was also curious to learn more about the distinguishing characteristics of writing from the area (Trenque Lauquen). The writers explained that while the writers of the La Pampa region write about the landscape and the gaucho lifestyle in the country. Similarly people who are near mountains or near the ocean must write about things larger than themselves. In contrast, the landscape of Trenque Lauquen is completely flat; there are no mountains, rivers, or lakes. Essentially, nothing larger than the human being and the writer there must turn inward for inspiration and write about their thoughts, sentiments, feelings, etc. They believe that the inner-workings of the human being possesses landscapes as vast and impressive as towering mountains or infinite oceans.

The final part of this visit that made a huge impression on me was the fact that their annual published work is completely self-sustained. They do not receive outside support from the government or any outside organizations. Each member of the group contributes monetarily to ensure that their book is publishe every year. I found this fact incredibly inspiring. This group of writers believes in the value and power of writing and work hard to contribute to this project through not only their art of writing, but also through the process of publishing it.

Tandil Argentina Public Transit Observations-Brooke

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Photo #1 & 2
Route map of the service in Tandil
Photo #3
The buses are color coordinated, this has not changed in over 10 years.
Photo #4
This photo was advertising a public demonstration of the change in fare.
Photo #5, 6, 7, 8
Additional photos of the the students opinion regarding the transit and the governments role and list of changes the students want to see.

My recent vocation visit in Tandil allowed for me a one-on-one opportunity with their Director of Transportation. The Director was gracious to spend the morning answering my plethora of questions regarding their transportation system. The system in Tandil, looking at the map, came close to almost covering the whole community with some sort of transportation. Which I found interesting considering it’s size. Comparable to other communities we visited Tandil was doing a pretty good job with the amount of services available to the community.

Interesting notes about Tandil’s transportation system:

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Tandil has not changed it’s system in over 10 years, they can add to their system 2 kilometers a year but have not made any large route changes. They consider this a benefit as it helps sustain ridership because the community members age with the system and know how to get from point A to point B without little direction.

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Public transportation buses are not ADA accessible, there is a separate private taxi in which folks can access if necessary.

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The routes crisscross across town with the center mid-point originating downtown, this crisscross approach allows for majority of the city to be covered.

Change is hard, no matter what country you are in:

The Tandil transit system recently saw an increase in fees. As a result the students at the local university have demonstrated against this recent increase.

Shortly after my visit with the Director of Transportation our group headed off to a local university, as we walked the halls there was an assortment of posters up protesting the recent increase of fees for students. With a little help from my host mom I was able to translate what they said.

The posters protested the increase in fees on the students as well as their views concerning public transportation. Many of the students view transportation as a right and not a privilege and the government should provide this service. Another poster listed the demands that the students wanted met if the system is to raise their fees.

A few of the demands read as follows:

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All buses should be well maintained and in good operating order

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Buses should be accessible to all, ADA compliant

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Buses should run on time

I was disappointed to have seen these posters after my visit with the Director of Transportation, I would have loved to inquire a little deeper into the issues and concerns of the student body with the Director, but nonetheless the posters and the visit provided me with an insight into similar challenges that face many of our communities in Idaho. The cost of transportation continues to go up and with limited funding, service provided can be greatly impacted. In Tandil the budget constraints impacted the quality of the service provided, for example poor maintained buses. In Idaho, the funding limitations unfortunately impact the quantity of the service provided.

Tandil (English / Espa??ol)

Tandil fue una de las ciudades m??s bonitas que hemos visto en nuestro viaje. Nos gust?? que nos quedemos all?? m??s tiempo (5 noches) y la oportunidad de explorar la ciudad y conocernos con los Rotarios y las familias anfitrionas.

Empezamos la visita con una conversaci??n abierta con el intendente en la municipalidad (foto).  Aprendimos un poquito de la historia de la ciudad cuando visitamos la estancia de la familia Santa Marina.

Durante el giro de la ciudad visitamos la iglesia, la Piedra Movediza, el Calvario, el castillo y un parque con un camino aer??bico y un lago (foto).  La Piedra Movediza que vimos es una r??plica como el original cay?? en 1912.  El Calvario fue especialmente muy impresionante como cada de las catorce Estaciones de la Cruz eran creado por una artista distinta y el bosque donde est??n es bien lindo.  La vista de la ciudad del castillo fue muy impresionante tambi??n.  Despu??s de un d??a aprendiendo de la ciudad, presentamos a una reuni??n de los 3 clubes de Tandil.

El d??a siguiente consisto de visitas profesional por los miembros del equipo y el l??der.  Otra vez fueron a todos lados y les gust?? el intercambio con profesionales.  Despu??s, fuimos a conocer a la universidad y vimos donde los alumnos toman clases.  En la noche uno de los Rotarios contrataron dos profesores de tango a darnos otra clase.  Esta vez los profesores no nos ensenaron pasos, pero improvacion, que fue m??s f??cil para algunos de nosotros a seguir.

El ??ltimo d??a en Tandil fue tan ocupado como los otros.  Hablamos con alumnos de clases de ingles en un secundario.  El equipo de Idaho dividi?? a varias aulas y los estudiantes nos preguntaron de nuestras impresiones de Argentina, de Idaho, la cultura de los EEUU y los impuestos que pagamos en los EEUU, etc.  Fue fant??stico!  Tambi??n conocimos un museo local donde est?? mucha de las cosas hist??ricas de Tandil (foto).  En la noche nos reunimos con algunos socios de la C??mara de Empresarios y discutimos algunos diferencias entre ser due??os de un negocio en Argentina versus los EEUU.  M??s tarde tuvimos la experiencia de la pasi??n los argentinos tienen por futbol como fuimos a cenar en una pena por el equipo de Boca. 

Las experiencias en Tandil contribuyo al viaje de Argentina y otra vez somos muy agradecidos a los Rotarios y las familias anfitrionas por su hospitalidad!

Tandil was definitely one of the prettiest cities on our trip.  We enjoyed our longer stay (5 nights) and the opportunity to explore the city and become close with the Rotarians and our host families.

We started off our visit with a candid conversation with the mayor at the town hall (photo).  We also learned some of the history of the town as we visited the estancia of the Santa Marina family. 

During our city tour we visited the church, the Moving Rock, the Calvary, the castle and a park with a great walking path and lake (photos).  The Moving Rock we visited is now just a replica, as the original fell in 1912.  The Calvary was especially impressive as each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross was sculpted by a different artist and the setting of the Calvary is in a gorgeous forested area.  The view of the city from the castle was impressive.  After a day becoming familiar with the city we presented to a combined Rotary meeting of the 3 clubs in Tandil.

The next day consisted of professional visits for the team members and leader.  Once again everyone headed in different directions and enjoyed the exchange with fellow professionals.  Additionally, we toured the local university campus and were able to see where the local students take their classes.  In the evening one of the Rotarians contracted some tango instructors to give the team another class.  This time the instructors didn???t teach steps, but taught improvisation, which was easier for some of us to follow.

Our last full day in Tandil was just as busy as the others.  We started off talking with English students at a local high school.  The Idaho team spilt up among various classrooms and the kids challenged us with questions about our impressions of Argentina, asked about Idaho, American pop culture, the taxes we pay in the US, etc.  It was great!  We also toured the local museum which houses much of the Tandil historical artifacts (photo).  In the evening we met with several members of the local Chamber of Commerce and had a lively discussion about running businesses in the US versus Argentina.  In the evening we experienced our first taste of the Argentine passion for soccer as we attended a pena dinner for the Boca soccer team.  To describe it to Americans you could say it was like a booster club dinner where the fans were very vocal, ate/drank well, and trashed the opposing team (River) non-stop. 

The experiences in Tandil enriched our Argentina experience and we are once again grateful to the Rotarians and host families for their generosity!

~Krista

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