I had a really good skype conversation with Elizabeth who is doing the YAGM program in Montevideo, Uruguay. I make a contract about my work with Paia today at the office and then attend the monthly feria franca association meeting. I meet the feriantes from San Roque who will take me from the bus terminal to their farmers market on Saturday. They are really nice. I find a way to slow down the speed of interview audios and now it is so much easier to transcribe. In the evening Anita teaches me to make chipacitos -cheesy bread made with tapioca starch. I use cheese from the Itati farmers market.
Lini helps wake me up at 5 AM even though she doesnt need to get up that early herself. She then helps me call a remis when the one I reserved for the day before does not show up. I bus to San Roque and the hospitatily the feriantes give me is unbelievable. I have two interview with two different ferias francas, one in the morning, and another one in the afternoon. Rita is very kind and makes lunch, she is such a joyful woman, and has uncontainable joy. The sister of one of the feriantes surprised me and had a prepared shower waiting for me at her nearby house so that I could shower before my bus departure to meet up with the other YAGM volunteers in Buenos Aires. She heated hot water over the stove and had it waiting in a large bucket in the bathroom for me to use along with shampoo, soap, and a towel and then surprised me again by making me dinner with homemade handcut noodles during my shower. I was able to meet her 94 year old father. He was really sweet.They then took me to the bus stop. My backpack was twice as heavy as it was before I came because I had so many peanuts, peaches, fried cakes, and fruits gifted to me. I am glad that I will be meeting up with the other volunteers tomorrow so that I can share this food. It is too much for just me! I hope that the information I obtained about their farmers markets can be useful for them, I am learning so much and being shown such kindness.
I make friends with the kind smiling women on the colectivo. It is so great to have someone nice by me to talk to during our 12 hour bus ride. I give her some of the peanuts! She is excited to share them with her grandaughter who she will be visiting in Buenos Aires. I arrive to Buenos Aires and Ignacio shows me how to use the subte to get to ISEDET. Krystle has sewn a new zipper on my backpack for me. She visited me in Corrientes last week and took the backpack with her to fix for me. I am so impressed by the professional job and little blue ribbon she attached to it. It is so good to see everyone. It has been so long. Kristyn, Jenn, Elizabeth, and I walk around Buenos Aires for the afternoon. We come back and see Tyler, Erin, and Josh. We are all together again! Krystle cooks with fresh food from San Roque. Delicious! Kristyn surprises all of us who had birthdays in September and October with a birthday cake after dinner. Krystle puts a firework candle on it.
We toured the organic farm that is part of the Valdense Spiritual retreat center. First time in my life that a cow calf sucks on my fingers. We talk in small groups about how we so often forget to value the simple act of being present and accompanying someone during joys and struggles. We start our silent retreat. I thought it would be harder to do then it was. I really enjoy sitting alongside the country road and meditating on some of the liturgy and prayers in Common Prayer Pocket Edition: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne and Jonathon Wilson Hartgrove. I feel so much more centered afterwards. I especially like this prayer:
Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it its in dying that we are born to eternal life.