I’m sorry I haven’t written on this blog for awhile! My days tend to be very full. Full of what? Full of variety, that’s what!
Luckily, I have been keeping a journal. I bought it shortly before I left for Argentina and it’s called The Happiness Project: One-Sentence Journal. Like blogging, I’ve never been much of a journal writer, but this book is great because I only get four lines! It’s not possible for me to tell myself that it’s too much effort to write a one sentence summary of my day. However, there have been weeks I’ve been backlogged by 10 days! Those times have made me realize even more though, how important it is that I write every day because trying to remember what I did for the last 10 days is difficult and I’m living moments that I don’t want to forget. Thankfully, my lack of discipline luckily has been slowly eroded by my motivation to remember.
What needs to happen now, is I need to SHARE what I’ve been doing with all of you who have made this year possible for me. I truly apologize for my lack of blog dedication. As always, if you have any specific questions feel free to email me and I’ll reply as soon as I can.
In the next couple days I will select a variety of different days/journal entries and post them here. I’ll also include pictures. Before I do that though, I will summarize in this post what I have been doing and major events that have taken place so that you have some context to pull from when reading the journal entries.
I’ve been working at INCUPO everyday during the week and traveling often on the weekends visiting different farmers markets to do interviews. The information I am collecting from these interviews are used to collect information about how the farmers markets got started, what challenges they face, and what their future goals are. This information is helpful because right now, there is very little information written down about the ferias francs and the impact they have on the producers’/vendors’ lives has been tremendous. There is also very little regulation with agro-chemicals here which are often used at very unsafe levels so these farmers markets are incredible resources for consumers as well to procure organic produce. I can write more about all of this in another post later if you would like!! I’ve created a blog and interactive map for the provincial association of farmers markets as well. See! Haha I have been blogging!! You can check it out at: feriasfrancasdecorrientes.wordpress.com
It is all in spanish but google chrome has a translating tool for websites in other languages if you are interested in reading it.
I was traveling and away from my computer for the majority of November. I went and visited 2 farmers markets in San Roque, Corientes en route to Buenos Aires for a YAGM retreat. We have retreats every three months here. It was great to see everyone. We traveled together from Buenos Aires to Uruguay by ferry, spent several hours exploring Colonia del Sacramento, and then spent 5 days together at a spiritual retreat center/organic farm. At the retreat we had workshops, worshipped, shared our experiences, made a thanksgiving meal together, and had a 17 hour long silent reflection time. It was wonderful. I thought I would hate the silence since I’m not a very silent person, but I actually really enjoyed setting aside intentional time for introspection. It also helped that we were in such a beautiful place and I could stare at cows, plants, and the big expansive sky. What surprised me about Uruguay was how much the countryside reminded me of MN. That was a nice surprise;)
After the retreat I went and spent time with Jen and Elizabeth where they live in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. I then traveled back by bus and ferry to take a 14 hour bus ride to the eastern side of Corrientes Province to visit the farmers markets there. I spent 3 days in Colonial Leibig and 2 days in the countryside around Virosoro. It was a really really great week. I was invited to celebrate Christmas with both the family’s I stayed with in Colonial Leibig and Virosoro! I will be spending Christmas with Alicia, my godmother here in Corrientes capital, but it was so so kind of them to invite me with such open arms to spend the holidays with them!!
After my week in Colonial Leibig and Virosoro, I returned to Buenos Aires for a 3 day long IELU Lutheran Assembly. Congregations from Argentina and Uruguay came together for a weekend to discuss the life and mission of the lutheran church. It was neat to be able to see how the lutheran church operates here- and more than that, I met some really fantastic people and made connections to hopefully be able to volunteer at a lutheran youth camp next month!
After 18 days away from Corrientes capital I was happy to come back to what I call my home this year. I love that I already feel such strong ties to my community here that I was so excited to come back from my time away even though I was doing exciting things elsewhere.
Shortly after coming back, I organized a Thanksgiving potluck with the help of my church here. I made 3 pumpkin pies and a large apple pie with Aleja, one of my close friends who lives with me here and is from Colombia. Anita also helped me later that day with the homemade stuffing. She is a genius and we found some large buckets that we washed and used to mix all the stuffing ingredients together because I definitely went overboard and made too much. WAY too much.
I had people from all different areas of my life here in Corrientes come and it was great. Everyone got along really well. How could they not? They are all so great. We had a short biblical reflection that I have already posted on this blog about Jesus and the 10 lepers and then we went around and said things we were thankful for. Some people got teary eyed and told me it was so meaningful for them to take time and think about all the things they were grateful for. Later I read the article that i posted last month while everyone was eating their dessert. Fact: Pumpkin pie was a huge hit.
The following weekend, there was an Encuentro Provincial de las Ferias Francas. Almost all the farmers markets came to the event here in the capital for a weekend to sell and showcase their products. It was sort of a family affair, since the farmers markets have created such a close knit community. It was their 14th annual event. Fact: They also like pumpkin pie.
Since then life has been composed of a lot of conversations, lots of baking, birthday parties, drinking terere, clown practice (that’s right! I joined an improv clown group!!!!!) going to the costanera ( the 3 km long river front), working, Christmas activities for youth with the church, and trying to stay cool in this crazy hot weather.
Always with love,