Friday, September 28, 2007

Barbara: The eagerness of kids was marvellous

Even before I arrived in Argentina for a Spanish course, I knew I wanted to do some type of volunteer work. As luck would have it, I was placed in a group Spanish class with Helen, who was volunteering at Conviven at the time. Her funny stories about the children drew me to want to go see what it was all about even more.

I ended up volunteering at Conviven, three times a week for four weeks. I had never taught English in my life, let alone taught anything, not to mention in Spanish. It was a huge ego-booster that I proved myself I could do this, but really the most rewarding thing were the kids who came in each day, after their regular school hours, to learn English, on their own will.

Mataderos, the neighbourhood Conviven resides in, is anything but reflective of the stunning, full-of-life Buenos Aires we all come to see in Argentina. Be that as it may, it’s a reality that these children are born into, and to see their eagerness to better themselves at ages as young as five years old is simply “maravilloso,” as the Argentines would say.

Sergio and Evelyn, brother and sister, stick in my mind. Ages ten and six, they were probably the most serious children I had ever met! Showing the enthusiasm and willingness to learn English instead of playing with their friends, showed me that the children wanted to improve their future, learn more, and take themselves somewhere in life, outside of Mataderos, outside of Buenos Aires, and maybe even Argentina.

Barbara from the US worked with us in July 2007 for a month.

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