Round Square Regional Conference: Building Houses and Changing Lives

IMG_3934 IMG_4055Saturday April 22:

On the bus ride to build a house today, I thought that I would just be building a simple house. Little did I know that meeting the people who would live in this house, experiencing their way of life, and the hard work I put into this project would affect me so much. 

After getting off the bus, we walked through a town to get to the land which we would be building on. Except this wasn’t a typical town. There were dirt roads, homes without doors and missing bricks, stray cats and dogs everywhere and kids walking around barefoot. It was a complete culture shock. It was crazy to think that just an hour and a half away from the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, life could be so different. 

When we got to the land where we would be building the house, the family that would be living in the house was already waiting for us. A mother and her seven kids, ranging in age from 2 to 19, greeted us. They were so excited and happy to have us with them. For most of the day, I played with the kids. Although they did not speak a word of English, the bond that I created with them will never be forgotten. They tried to teach me some Spanish and I tried to teach them some English. Despite their living conditions, each of them had a smile on their face and were so happy that people were there to play with them. 

The house we built was placed right next to their current house, which is much smaller than the size of an LCC classroom and did not have enough beds for all of the kids to sleep in. The house had a dirt floor and didn’t have a front door or bathroom. 

When we finished putting up the pillars for the floor of the new house, we all wrote messages on the pillars. When the mom wrote her message she started crying and when I wrote my message, I started getting very emotional as well. That was when I truly realized the impact I had on this family. They will have a clean house to live in with wood floors and life will become a lot easier for them. Their lives will be changed forever because of our hard work. 

When it was time to say goodbye, I knew I didn’t want to leave. The little girls came up to me and gave me lots of hugs and kisses and asked me to come back the next day. I wish I could. I wish I could go back everyday and help this family and the millions of others suffering like them as well. 

As we walked on the road to leave, I started crying. This experience was life changing. It made me realize how grateful I am to have everything I do in life and underlined the importance of never taking anything for granted. It makes me sad to think that I will never see these kids again. 

This was an amazing experience and I am beyond happy that I had this opportunity. – Danielle Cutler ’18

Round Square Regional Conference: Beautiful Buenos Aires

IMG_3417.JPGI began my journey on April 22 at 9 a.m. Half of my Barazza (group) went to visit beautiful Buenos Aires on a city tour. When I read the itinerary I thought we would be sitting on a bus and just looking but I soon realized I was very wrong!

We began by taking the metro from Belgrano to downtown Buenos Aires. After getting there we began walking and little did my group members and I know that we would have a whole day of walking. Throughout the day we ended up walking 17.5 kilometres. Yes, you read that right! 17.5 kilometres! The sites we saw were unbelievably beautiful. We began with the Casa Rosado or Pink House. This is where the government comes to gather to discuss issues. We then saw the theatre here which is ranked number five for best acoustics. It was very impressive. After that we visited the Cathedral. I have seen many churches but this one was by far one of the most impressive. The architecture and design were so beautiful. The paintings on the walls were so authentic.

After a long morning of walking we had lunch in a shopping mall in the district of Recolleta. One of the most famous sites in all of Argentina is the “Cementerio de Recoleta” which I was lucky enough to see. As soon as I walked in my jaw dropped. It was so beautiful. I could not wrap my head around what I was seeing. This was the last stop on my tour of the city. We then took the metro back to school and I went home. That night I was greeted by my host family. We went out for dinner at a famous port. It was amazing. It was a long and eventful day! – Savina Cammalleri ’18

 

Round Square Regional Conference: From Argentina to Uruguay

IMG_1521Day 3 of the pre-conference was a really exciting and busy one. We woke up early and left our hotel in Argentina to catch a ferry to Uruguay.

After an hour and a half, we arrived in Colonia del Sacramento, a city in the province of Colonia on the same river as Buenos Aires, Río de la Plata. We walked around on the boardwalk along this river and reflected on our journey so far.

Following this, we made our way to a restaurant for lunch and ate Chivito, a delicious Uruguayan dish made of meat, eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and fries. After lunch, we met our tour guide for a walk around Colonia. She took us to the old city and told us some of Uruguay’s history before and after its independence. We also learned that there are only two traffic lights in all of Colonia! We even saw a UNESCO sight, which was part of a wall that bordered the city many years ago. In addition, we climbed up to the top of a lighthouse with 118 stairs that gave us a beautiful view of the city. Finally, we went to one of Colonia’s ports.

Afterward, we went for ice cream and into some of the stores on one of the main streets, Flores. We then went for dinner at a really cozy and authentic restaurant.

All in all, traveling to Uruguay was a great experience and it was so interesting to learn about their culture. The conference starts tomorrow and we can’t wait! – Meghan Fersten ’18

Round Square Regional Conference: Our First Day in Argentina

Argentia_2017_2018_001On April 16, we landed on Argentinian soil. Ms. Shadley, Maria, Savina, Danielle, Meghan, MariaLuisa, Carson and I were exhausted from our 13-hour flight. However, thanks to our positive vibes and food that we purchased from McDonald’s, we gained a bit more energy. As soon as we walked out of the airport the heat rushed onto our faces. We then met a woman called Mariana, our very own tour guide. Mariana took us to a bus where we ate delicious cheese empanadas while driving to El Tigre, a small township of Buenos Aires. In El Tigre we took a traditional South American boat where we travelled down a canal and saw many country houses and elegant fishing boats. On the boat, we socialized (in Spanish) and made many new friends with the inhabitants. 

Afterwards, we walked to a local market where we looked around and purchased souvenirs and small gifts, that will forever remind us of our amazing experience. 

When we got to the hotel (Hotel Two), we unpacked and relaxed.

To end a  beautiful day,  we ate at a restaurant called Cabildo, and enjoyed some well-deserved pizza.   

All in all, the first day of this trip was fantastic, and we are all curious and excited to see what this Argentinian adventure brings next. – Renée Williams ’18

Round Square Regional Conference: Immersed in Argentinian Culture

RS_ArgentinaToday in Argentina we spent the day at a farm called Don Silvano. At the farm we had many exciting things to do! First, we got to ride horses! We rode them on a track around the farm and had beautiful views of the surrounding green fields. Then we went to go see all the other animals. We saw pigs, chickens, bunnies, flamingos, peacocks and many more. Next, we tried a local drink called mate. It tastes like bitter tea and is a very prominent part of the culture here in Argentina. It’s a social drink and it is customary for people to share it with the same straw. If you add a lot of sugar, it’s actually really good!

Lunch at the farm was a lot of fun. There was a singer, singing Argentinian music, and dancers who danced for us. We even joined in on the dancing! After lunch there was a horse show. It was really entertaining to see men on horses complete a number of races and competitions. Finally, we got in the van to head back to our hotel. We stopped off at a pedestrian street called Avenida Florida and walked around and shopped. We walked into many cute local stores and got a good sense of the Argentinian way of life.

Overall, today was an amazing day. From being on the farm to just walking around, we really got to experience it all. -Danielle Cutler ’18