Day 11 may 12

Woke up and immediately said bye to the DTS Argentina teams. One of the members on the DTS team, Ignacio, said that he would pray for me, I thought that was very sweet of him. As weird as it sounds, it is nice to know that I had a big enough impact on his life through our brief conversation the night before. During the Pico de Jaraguar visit, when the chief was saying his prayer, Ignacio had brought up the question as to why I was Buddhist, and I told him, but as conversations on religions tend to go, we talked about legalities. I felt slightly offended when he was interrupting the prayer to talk, but when we got to the base he apologized for potentially offending me. We then had a good, but brief, conversation on religious diversity and people who identify as two religions. He was/is nothing like what I had previously assumed; he is so much more liberal and understanding than what I had expected. We talked about our goals in the future – he wants to go into medicine so that he can help more people. I know that I will think about him and only wish him the best for his future.
We hung around the house most of the early afternoon; I was pretty annoyed we didn’t leave until late afternoon, especially since we were doing nothing.
Went into town, it was funny making fun of the girls with Silas and Bianca about the girls being “menina touristas” or “female tourists”. It was fun just roaming around the city with our contacts, especially two contacts whose English is not conversational. It reaffirms that language is a man made construct that can divide people; body language, tone and hand gestures really help break that divide.
Part of the team split off, some of them stayed in the shopping area to pick up some clothing. The other half went with Bianca and Silas to the tobacco store; I bought tons of shisha, mike bought some tobacco to bring to the indigenous chief when we next visit. I love that mike is genuinely thoughtful; he’s so selfless and willing to go above and beyond to make people happy in his own little way. While we were in town, we were trying to find a plunger to give to Bianca because of the night before; the toile clogged earlier yesterday and started over flowing late at night. Bianca used half of a 2L pop bottle as a make shift plunger – that girl is freaking amazing.
So my main goal in town was to be able to get Brazilian BBQ meat somewhere… And because of the time crunch, I was able to. I was pretty upset about it, but on the positive side: BBQ food stands are a dime a dozen here; I was able to pick up cheap shisha.
We rushed to the supermarket to pick up groceries for Alcione’s thank you dinner. It was a hectic scramble in the supermarket to get all the food. We came back to base, everyone helped prep dinner. Everyone was helping to cut/wash, while I was overseeing it all. We were all able to help prepare a special meal as a team. As much as our team was telling me what a great job I did on the pasta, without them helping – running distraction, prep work, taste testing, the meal would not have been made as quickly as it could’ve. The funniest part of the whole thing was that instead of grabbing potato fries, Kim and Sydney ended up getting manjoca (cassava) fries for our poutine.
Alcione was really happy, she was so beautiful; she dressed up, put on make up, did her hair and put on a nice outfit. When she got here, half the team distracted her and kept her and her kids company. She ate 3 plates of the pasta, It made me so happy to see that she liked my cooking. That woman is like Wonder Woman; I have no idea how she is able to cook so much food to feed so many people two times everyday and not be completely stressed out every time. I had a conversation with her after we were done eating – I told her she was my Brazilian mother and that I loved her tons. The language barrier I have with her is still there, but the smirks and winks she gives me; the hugs and massages I give here is how we communicate. I know she cares about me like a son, and I care about her like a mother. She told me that she loved me too, told me that she would miss me when I left. It was tough, because I knew I would be saying bye to her within the next week, and when she told me that I started tearing up and tried to hold back an ugly cry. She teared up when she saw that I was tearing up.
After the cry session, I went outside to chill. Sydney had her best day today- her goal was to see a shooting star, and today was that day. When she saw it, she was so confused – she thought it was an airplane at first. When she realized it was a shooting star, she had the biggest smile, her face completely lifted, and she was just beaming from ear to ear. I am so so happy for her. I love when Sydney smiles, it’s one of those smiles that can light up a room and bring a smile to everyone else’s faces.
To end off an amazing day, Deanna told her life story.

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