transporte.

transportation here comes in every imaginable form. motorbikes spin around street corners, crumbling metal frames posing as cars creak through intersections, and “public” transportation is open to every kind of interpretation: converted station wagons, family vans, garishly decorated school buses — all are encouraged to apply. the point is, people need to get where they need to go, and they do so without much fuss. grandmas load themselves into precarious truck beds with big bags of onions or potatoes or peppers, mothers and fathers squeeze their children and groceries between themselves and the handlebars of their motorcycles, entire soccer teams fit into impossibly small taxis.

my own transportation experiences here have made a deep and amusing impression on me. in spite of the troubling lack of safety precautions (I’ve yet to find a seat belt, ever) I’ve experienced a distinct feeling of community in these shifting, ever changing forms of transport.

here are a few of my highlights:

the ambulance.

when leaving the small farming community of Chulumani, we usually walk for about an hour to another small town where we’re able to catch the first of our shared taxis, or “trufis.” on one of our treks down the mountain in the misty morning light, we got lucky. a boxy ambulance rumbled by and my coworker flagged it down. the driver was reluctant at first but then hopped out of the front seat and opened up the back, where we flung our muddy selves onto the stretcher, grinning at our good fortune. we stretched our legs and happily bounced around with the ancient oxygen tanks.

a true japanese model.

many cars here are imports, from China, the US, or Japan. one afternoon, when headed to a community meeting, my coworker and I were picked up by Don Mario, who drives a most unusual model. at first I didn’t notice much of interest, but eventually found myself puzzled to see that the dashboard features — the clock, the radio and tapedeck, the speedometer — were all on the right hand side, facing the passenger. as I looked more closely, I could see dozens of wires, wild and winding, tracing from the right hand side of the car to the left, to the base of the steering wheel. no matter how it started out, this car had been crudely but creatively converted to drive on the right side of the road. a true japanese model.

the commute.

to get to my little office in Sacaba, just outside of Cochabamba, I hop on a “micro,” a small, school bus type vehicle. every micro has it’s own personality. drivers decorate the cars with posters of Jesus or their favorite music group or public service announcements. music blares cheerfully, no matter the hour. seats are covered in sticky plastic, or leopard print, or on a good day, the seats are plush and soft, as if taken straight from a movie theater. I genuinely enjoy watching the city pass by as we chug through morning traffic, cruise through roundabouts, and turn onto the rough dirt roads of the rapidly urbanizing suburb where I work.

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bloqueos.

blockades are a common form of protest here. protesting groups shut off small highways or streets with their banners and their bodies, making their point. confronting a bloqueo is a common occurrence, so frustrating as it is, people grumble without much rancor or impatience because they’ve been through it before. my favorite aspect is that everyone has something to suggest to the driver — no, turn left here, up this hill, no, turning around is best — it becomes a community effort to employ some creativity to get everyone to their destination.

 

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la marcha.

yesterday I spent the afternoon with my coworker Juan Marcos at a march in downtown Cochabamba. we half walked, half jogged through packed streets to catch up with Ademar, Juan Marcos’ son, who was marching with his classmates from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon. the students were the loudest and proudest of the marchers, dragging dolls that represented the reason for the march in the first place: a group of striking mine workers.

people had come out in droves as a form of counter-protest, mainly to denounce the actions of a group of miners who are advocating for higher retirement pay. although at the outset this seems like a reasonable demand, the miners are considered a very elite group in Bolivia because their earnings put them in the top percentile of the country, some earning more than even the president himself (who earns approximately USD $28,000 per year). even the mere fact of retirement pay is accessible only to about 30% of the country, specifically those who work in the formal sector. therefore, many farmers and workers find themselves opposing the miners because of the disruption they’ve caused over a demand that seems both unrealistic and elitist given Bolivia’s economy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as such, the streets were completely filled with enthusiastic Cochabamb-inos, from the city itself or farther away in the mountainous or tropical countryside. people marched on their own, carrying the characteristic multicolored flag or plodded along proudly with a larger group, behind a banner stating their identity as a farming community, trade union, or student group.

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beyond the political discussion itself, which I feel ill prepared to evaluate at any length, the turnout itself was impressive to me. the resounding theme of the march was support for the national government, led by President Evo Morales Ayma. political involvement, particularly through marching, is incredibly popular here. on a weekly basis, crowds fill the main plaza, or blockade sections of highway in order to advance a range of political agendas: access to health care, higher wages, new educational policies. I walked away from this march with a sunburn (as if it wasn’t enough to be the whitest person in the crowd, I soon became the pinkest) and a distinct sense of Bolivian culture: the willingness to turn out on Monday, in the midday sun, to support the president and hold democracy close in the best way they know how.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

building a biblioteca.

I’m back from another trip into the woods! this time around was a bit shorter, so everything was packed into three full days of work. we spent two days working at the organic agriculture center, cleaning out brush and weeding and plotting out the plants that would need help on our next visit (a bit of fertilizer, more weeding, light fumigation, etc.) our third day was spent at another piece of land owned by CAIQHO, much deeper into the tropical-jungle landscape. we hacked and stumbled and cursed our way through dense green growth for a while before landing here:

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CAIQHO hopes that this dense piece of green can someday be added to Bolivia’s registry of conservation land and used as an experimental or research center. for now, it’s home to several endangered species of giant ferns and what felt like thousands of vicious little bugs. this piece of land is yet another item on the list of CAIQHO’s big ideas. for such a small organization (two employees, a father and son duo) I’m always impressed by their big dreams in spite of the difficulty of finding consistent project funding. the greatest challenge right now is getting their community radio station up and running, since they only have temporary broadcasting status. my coworker tends to bring a little radio with him on our treks, and I loved this image of the radio sitting among the grassy, mossy overgrowth. an important connection even from very far away:

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we also spent two evenings in the company of the Chulumani Student Group, reviewing the next set of human rights of children in the Bolivian constitution. we broadcast a second radio session and each young voice was stronger and more confident when speaking into the microphone. this week we had several younger sisters join the group (ages 8 and 9) and I was delighted by their shyness combined with a determined willingness to read aloud and take a stab at explaining the different articles. below is Rolando and his younger sister Sandra:

sibling two panelas a group, we also discussed the possibility of CAIQHO putting together a small community library for the use of the students as well as members of other nearby villages. when I asked what types of texts they’d be interested in having, the students were excited and thoughtful and I loved the ensuing conversation. the first topic on the list: world history. other book ideas included: the new Bolivian constitution, collections of classic stories and poems, a Spanish-English dictionary and phrasebook, and texts about philosophy, natural sciences, and Bolivian history. for students with limited access to a formal education, I was moved by their eagerness and openness and curiosity. so moved in fact, that I’m fundraising for the cause. before I leave here at the beginning of June, I’d love to get CAIQHO started on a community library for the benefit of these wonderful, thoughtful, young people. if you’re interested in supporting the library or learning more, take a look at a fundraising page put together by a wonderful co-worker of mine, an international volunteer from Germany. the page links to a donation to Sustainable Bolivia, the volunteer network that organizes volunteer placements for people like myself. Sustainable Bolivia will then pass the donation on to CAIQHO. below are a few photos of the students, the goofiest of the bunch taken by the students themselves, of course.

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into the sub-tropics.

just a short week ago, I headed into the “jungle” with one of my two coworkers, a man in his late fifties named JuanMarcos, or Don Juan. we headed out first in a “trufi” a minivan that is the hybrid of a bus and a taxi. people and all sorts of belongings squeeze together in space-defying arrangements. we even managed to bring along a large plant in a burlap sack, curly tendrils poking out. the trufi dropped us off in a small town and from there we hopped into a small, rattling taxi that drove us for about an hour on winding, stone roads through dense green forest, dropping us finally at CAIQHO’s small two story home on a hillside in Chulumani.

we spent the week puttering around the “organic farming center,” working with a group of young men called the “Chulumani Student Group,” and meeting the wide range of characters who make up the farming community here. at the “farming center” I had my first lesson in the use of a machete, wielded it like a baseball bat, and gamely hacked away at the dense brush that threatens the life of every plant in the vicinity. we met with the “student group” for three evenings after they got home from work in the fields or days at the middle/high school about 5 miles away. this week we read and discussed the first ten articles of the “rights of children” in Bolivia’s constitution. the students discussed the meaning of each article, translated them into Quechua (their indigenous language) and at the end of the week, shared each article in a live broadcast on CAIQHO’s community radio station. no exception was made for me, so I dutifully read Article 7 in Spanish and then translated it into English (for all the English-speaking listeners in the area…) and was then subject to a battery of questions by the boys at the end of the radio “show,” including my exact birth date, detailed descriptions of the United States, and if I have a boyfriend. their boldness “on air” was surprising and pretty hilarious, especially given their shyness around me in every other interaction.

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the week stretched on to an eternity and gave me a powerful, if short-lived, view into life here. most of the farming families live close together in small wooden shacks and walk or travel by motorbike to the land where they farm, on average an hour’s walk away. the homes here are very, very humble. the unrelenting humidity in the region means that anything constructed from wood becomes easily warped, and most of the houses have sizeable gaps between each board. though the area is sub-tropical, by late afternoon a humid cold front hangs over the village, settled as it is in a valley, and families find relief from the cold by wearing many layers and huddling around their cooking fires. the families in this particular community are Quechua, one of two largest indigenous groups in Bolivia. although there is now a small primary school in the village, very few of the older generation have any formal education, and most speak a confusing but beautiful mixture of Quechua and Spanish. the farmers here tend to cultivate 2 – 3 crops on their land and are very dependent on whole sale prices for their livelihood, as they sell their crops to an intermediary, who then transports the crop to sell to the city markets. for this reason, part of CAIQHO’s work, slow going as it is, is to help the farmers form associations in order to take more control of the production or transportation of their crops, in order to control more of the potential profit.

though I can’t quite articulate yet all that I’ve learned from this week, I have observed a great deal and been very, very humbled by my time here. to build a livelihood here in Chulumani is a heavy task that requires a great deal of faith and hard work every single day, without exception. below are several photos of the area and the organic farming center where I spent my days. and a teeny. tiny, green friend! we’re headed back next week so I’ll have more photos and stories to share soon. thanks for reading!

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co-cha-bam-ba.

this city is nearly as fun to live in as it is to pronounce. I arrived to the so called “city of eternal spring” in the beginning of April, ready to do a couple more months of volunteer work before heading back to the U.S. in June. the city has around 700,000 inhabitants and when you’re walking though any of the bustling markets or elbowing through downtown streets at midday, that becomes entirely clear. women in colorful skirts and broad hats sell fruit juice on every corner, letting their orange and mandarin peels spin and curl into endless yellow spirals onto the sidewalk, cheerful kids skitter by in starched school uniforms, and each street seems to have it’s commercial theme: photocopy-street, stereo-system-street, hardware-store-street. true to it’s reputation for eternal spring, there are green plazas sprinkled throughout the city and an astounding array of colorful flowering trees and a sun that shines high in the sky every single day, without fail.

ever since I first lived in Argentina in 2008, I’d always had it in the back of my mind to travel to Bolivia. for starters, I have a cousin who lives in La Paz with her sweet, sweet family. beyond that connection, however, I was looking for an experience that would be distinctly different than my time in Buenos Aires. in spite of Bolivia’s beautiful landscapes and diverse natural resources, it is statistically the poorest in South America, with 60% of the country’s population living beneath the poverty line. additionally, Bolivia is “plurinational” meaning that it has a large and very diverse indigenous population, strong both in numbers and in culture, in spite of hundreds of years of colonization, slavery, and mistreatment. and lastly, I was looking for an opportunity that would bring me to understand the realities of rural poverty in South America a bit better.

the volunteer connection is through Sustainable Bolivia, a nonprofit organization that was founded by a young man from the U.S. with the intention of connecting volunteers in Bolivia with thoughtful volunteer placements and housing in Cochabamba. the organization has grown and now has a Spanish school (from which I’m greatly benefiting) and a long list of local partner organizations. I’m currently living in a volunteer house with 6 + other volunteers who hail from a range of countries – France, Belgium, Canada, England, etc. the organization itself is very social, intent on organizing opportunities for volunteers to get to know one another. it’s a neat way to meet a wide range of characters with South American travel tales that have left me open mouthed. my current roommate (who also happens to share my exact birthday) just arrived to Bolivia after putting in 1000s of miles on her motorcycle, traveling south from her native Canada, all the way through Mexico and through to Costa Rica. all on motorcycle, all alone. after so many months on her bike, living from hostel to hostel, she was unabashedly excited at the prospect of having drawers. ha!

just a few days after arriving to Cochabamba, I started volunteering with CAIQHO, a local indigenous farmers’ rights and resources organization. the organization is small, almost painfully so, run by a father and son duo from the front room of their home in Sacaba, a town just on the outskirts of Cochabamba. CAIQHO’s mission is to act as a resource for indigenous farmers in the Chapare region, helping to support organizing efforts when farmers want to start an association for a specific type of product (like honey or trout), or when a group of women want to apply for a government grant to start a small dairy. CAIQHO owns a small brick house and 9 hectares of land in Chulumani, a small farming community in the Chapare region. the house is home to a small community radio station and is also a meeting spot for a group of young men in the community, anywhere from 11 to 14, who meet biweekly to discuss a wide range of topics, anywhere from drug abuse to the human rights of children as declared in Bolivia’s constitution. the 9 hectares is an “experimental organic farming center” with the intention of demonstrating effective techniques for cultivation that don’t require the herbicides and insecticides that most farmers in the region depend upon for a consistent crop. in spite of their small size, CAIQHO has a wide range of activities, a broad aim, and the hopes to continue expanding.

soon I’ll be headed with CAIQHO to their small center for a week and I’ll be sure to post more after I’m back from my travels. but for now, here’s the best Google Maps snapshot I can offer of the remote area where I’ll be heading:

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Argentina, closing a chapter.

leaving Argentina was a strange sensation. I found myself winding wistfully through the darkened city streets to the airport in my last Buenos Aires taxicab, without any real sense of when I’d be back. but upon landing in Peru, it quickly became clear that I’d taken quite a bit of Argentina with me. everywhere I stopped, fruit vendors with juicy cups of mango or jewelry makers peddling on the sidewalk or friendly waiters making conversation asked the same question: Are you from Argentina? even with just a phrase or two from my mouth, my reent past gave me away. I say this not to tout the ebbs and flows of my language skills, which truly vary day to day, but instead to emphasize the distinctiveness of the accent I’ve carried with me, without fully realizing it.

this had me thinking in greater detail about the language I’ve absorbed since my time studying and working in Argentina. though there’s plenty of intonation and accent I’ve taken on without realizing, I have a number or words that I’ve learned since my time in September, whether new words that I love or new words that, upon closer examination, are very telling of the experiences I’ve had. now that I’m settled in Bolivia for the next few months (more on that soon!) I’m able to continue reflecting, perhaps with greater acuteness, on my time in Argentina. I’m truly very grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Habitat in Argentina and to begin to understand how one small organization can proudly, passionately, and effectively face the staggering challenges of poverty housing, one family and one neighborhood at a time. I’ll continue to share my reflections on my work here in Bolivia as well as Argentina, but for now here are just a few of the words that have stayed with me, even as I try to shrug off my telltale accent.

inundación
much like the English word, inundation, inundación means flood or flooding. this word became immediately relevant in the neighborhoods where Habitat works because even with the lightest rain shower or storm, the muddy streets quickly become nearly impassible, making any activity or construction impossible for a day or two.

inundación is equally relevant in Greater Buenos Aires where strong storms continue to douse city streets and create flash floods. Water sweeps through streets and blocks traffic, carries parked cars with an unrelenting current, or creates waterfalls down subway steps and onto the tracks, bringing lines of transportation to a standstill.  Recent flooding took many lives in La Plata, just outside of Buenos Aires, further proving that the issue is not nearly a small structural flaw but rather a great environmental challenge that Argentina must face immediately.

ojo!
although I knew the word, “ojo,” meaning eye, long before moving to Argentina, it’s particular use and intonation in Buenos Aires has been stuck in my head for the past few months. people often say ojo to mean, “watch out,” and will often accompany the phrase with an exaggerated gesture, such as pointing at their own eye. if you, the one being warned are doing something particularly stupid, like using your camera in a neighborhood known for camera-snatching, the gesture will include an exaggerated stab towards your camera. although getting an “ojo” can be uncomfortable, the point is that people want you to watch out and take care.

celeste
the Argentine flag is a set of sky blue stripes. a white stripe in the middle features a a golden sun with its rays outstretched. the word for sky blue is “celeste,” in close relation with “celestial,” meaning heavenly. sky blue is easily associated either with the flag, or the heavens, or both. one particular homeowner held this color so close to her heart that she had her entire new house painted a bright, undeniably celeste blue.

a final build day.

Last weekend I spent my final day in the neighborhood. Working with families and spending days in the barrio has been the most challenging part of being here. And undoubtedly the best. It’s another side of the city, housing and community that I’ve never experienced before. I’m grateful for the opportunity and to have been so warmly received by the families. It was particularly difficult to say goodbye to Noelia (Hábitat homeowner) and her father Francisco and to be unable to say with any certainty when I’d be back.

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We organized a “work day” on two houses and the volunteers were all coworkers at Hábitat. Per usual, I wasn’t allowed to build because I was expected to be a “house leader,” making sure that no one used power tools or tripped on one of the many sunbathing dogs. While being the house leader is a bit limiting (and exacting with all the safety rules) it’s also quite fun to watch the progress of the house and encourage coworkers as they slap and slather and spray wet cement everywhere. This took place while I wasn’t wrangling with the yards of caution tape that wrap around the worksite. One highlight of the day was the new iteration of my name that appeared on my hardhat name tag: “MARGUI.”

P3022131The true highlight, however, were some powerful words of wisdom from Francisco. Francisco is Noelia’s father, and I’ve worked with him on a number of build days because he’s a trained alabañil, meaning that he has a wide range of experience in construction. He is the construction supervisor and I in turn, am his helper, translating or simply repeating his instructions to the volunteers and dutifully gathering the necessary tools for each task. I’ve always been impressed by Francisco’s warmth and patience, his stories and his tireless energy. I’ll always have an image of him striding around the worksite in his jeans and denim shirt, with a shock of white hair and a slight stoop in his back. Francisco is full of stories and when he gets to talking, his warm brown eyes flicker and his fingers flit in the air, and he speaks in short bursts of emphatic Spanish with a heavy accent from the campo (country), way up north.

P3022133This time we were discussing how many times he’d mixed cement in his life (my question, his answer was infinito — infinite) and he started to explain the importance of being a good ayudante (helper) in order to become a good albañil (supervisor). The significance of mixing an infinite amount of cement is not the monotony, but instead the lessons that can be learned along the way — observing the methods and strategies, working effectively as a team member, and learning how teams respond to direction and how work can be done efficiently and effectively. The statement is simple yet had me thinking hard. Effective leadership, whether on the construction site or elsewhere, is built not just on charisma or power, but on experience and process — taking the time to help mix the cement, to haul the heavy buckets along with your team members, to know the cause.

There’s so much that I’ll take away from this experience, more than I realize I’m sure. For now, I’m bringing great stories and a lot of portraits of hammers.

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back to work.

now that I’m back in Buenos Aires, I’m back to work with Hábitat until I depart at the end of March. with the heavy heat of summertime, building in the neighborhoods is at a standstill. although many of the families will continue working on their own, Hábitat won’t be hosting any international volunteer groups until May 2013. this is definitely a disappointment for me, since the volunteer groups were a surprising but undeniable highlight of my work between September and December. I’ve decided I’ll just have to participate in a Global Village trip of my own sometime. who’s with me?

since I’ve got a shorter timeframe for volunteering this time around, I’ve shifted focus and will now be working with the Resource Development department. I’m mainly focused on communicating with the Habitat affiliates who have diezmos (tithes) that are sent to Habitat Argentina. a fundamental part of Habitat International’s mission is tithing, in which each affiliate, no matter their size or location, gives 10% of their annual funds raised to another Habitat affiliate. Habitat Argentina, for example, has been giving to Habitat Chile for the past several years. in turn, Habitat Argentina mainly receives tithes from affiliates in the U.S., ones that have heard of our work or had groups come to volunteer on a build week.

the tithing concept within the organization is rooted in the organization’s Christian identity. from what I can tell, tithing fosters a culture of accountability between affiliates as well as a global interconnectedness. at the same time, however, tithing can be a point of frustration for affiliates who would prefer to operate independently and keep their hard earned funds to themselves, an understandable sentiment in an unforgiving economy.

working in resource development is a distinct shift from my previous work with families and volunteers. although I can tell that development is not a career track for me, it’s neat to think about the organization from a broader perspective and has me appreciating the wide range of projects Habitat Argentina manages to juggle all throughout the year. here’s a great example, with construction of a new Habitat apartment building going up in the historic La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires. La Boca is known for it’s Boca Juniors soccer team, one of the more infamous teams in Argentina’s always unfolding soccer dramas. in the photo below you can see the construction at work with the backdrop of the stadium.

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back to buenos aires.

I’m now back in Buenos Aires after many weeks away. after holidays in Washington, DC, I spent two incredible weeks in southern Chile with Rachel, my older sister, and we both loved the experience. the beauty we saw and breathed and touched and were amazed by everyday was profound. in many ways, the contrast has made the transition back to Argentina and the bustle and chaos and summertime heat of Buenos Aires all the more difficult. during my travels, I felt incredibly far away, in the way that you generally want to on vacation: distanced and relaxed and content. yet at the same time, the distance I felt from my life and experience in Buenos Aires has meant that it’s challenging to integrate back into the city and the distinct reality of life in Buenos Aires now that I’m here again. I offer these two photos as a contrast of the landscapes I’ve been living in during the past month. the first is the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, the second is the view from my old apartment in the Almagro neighborhood of Buenos Aires. no comparison.

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I will say though, that the chaos of the city is definitely dampened by the way everyone gives themselves in to the season. the city is another beast in the summertime; hot, sticky and unforgiving, day in and day out. that said, porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) take the hint and take it slow. little stores have handwritten signs pasted haphazardly on their doors, cerrado! (closed! for vacation), people wait at bus stops with lawn chairs and coolers, old men shuffle along the streets in all white outfits, and the fruit shops all sell huge watermelons and endless piles of peaches and plums. no complaints there.       

 

wrapping up.

things here wind down quickly in december. it seemed that even at the end of october, we were already planning for the oncoming holidays, preparing for when everything seems to just shut down. in light of christmas and vacations and the unrelenting heat, january is a quiet time. quiet in the way summer can have that effect on a city. shuts it down. in a good way.

so for my main project, Tienda Habitat, these past couple weeks wound down our work quickly and we hustled to meet as many of our goals as possible. we spent this past Saturday in the neighborhood, visiting several of the families we’ve been working most closely with and handing over the plans and budgets that our volunteer architects had put together. like I’ve mentioned before, it’s a complicated project given the precariousness of the buildings, the lacking infrastructure and flooding throughout the neighborhood, and the instable income of most of these families. as such, it’s hard to know if the technical assistance we’re providing will prove useful. without the money to buy materials or the time to put in to the labor, these improvements are nearly impossible for a family to achieve. however, for the families that have the income and the time, the plans are succinct and useful guides to making important changes to their living situation — preventing leaks from their roof, improving ventilation, implementing insulation, adding a new bedroom or bathroom. the plans are not only the design itself but also a list of materials, their estimated prices (not factoring in the impending inflation that is always around the corner), and a guide for how approximately how much the family needs to save in order to complete the repair within a six month time frame. the two photos below show Tienda Habitat in action, reviewing plans on the left, and the right shows a home in need of significant repairs.

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as I see it, the perspective of the architect is especially helpful because they’re able to come in and look at the big picture of the home. with good reason, the families are often focused on the immediate need at hand — an additional bedroom for their growing family, for example. while the volunteers work with the families to plan for a specific improvement, they’re also able to look at the design of the entire house and suggest more nuanced improvements that are able to add integrity to the strength of the building, or in many cases, add ventilation and illumination where there was none before. these additions are simple but incredibly significant to the health of the family, particularly in an area that constantly struggles with humidity and flooding. the plan below is a great example of an architect’s suggestion to add a “patio” (the part in green) in addition to a new bedroom, allowing for more light to enter the existing rooms and the rooms to be added. when we visited the other day, the very pregnant mother of the house was cheerful and excited at the prospect of adding a new bedroom (for her promptly growing family) and a new green space to her house.   04

 

in spite of the challenges and uncertainty of working on this project, it has been fascinating and satisfying to see how a new community development project like this unfolds and I’ve truly enjoyed being part of the chaos and continuation of it all. I’m hoping to be able to keep working on the project in 2013, helping to systemize the process, reach more families, and meet more of our goals as the project grows. my role with the organization is still to be determined so for now, I’m wrapping things up with Habitat for 2012 on a reflective note. I’ve learned more about housing and Argentina and myself and poverty and hopefulness and community development than I ever hoped and there’s still so much more to “averiguar,” as the blog title suggests. thanks for reading, I’ll be back here soon.