Browsing articles in "Rodney’s Blog"

An Argentinian Adventure, (a true “Who do you think you are?” story!)

Jan 18, 2015   //   by admin   //   News, Rodney's Blog  //  No Comments

A tremendous article originally first published in the Methodist Newsletter by Laura Griffiths

Please see News

Enjoy

Rodney

Christmas Greetings

Dec 10, 2014   //   by admin   //   News, Rodney's Blog  //  No Comments

It’ s been an enjoyable and varied year here at The Esperanza Trust. Earlier in the year we had the opportunity to catch up with Augustina as she entered her final year of secondary education at The Colegio Alfredo Furniss. We received encouraging news from Emmanuel Zavaleta and Vanesa Acuna of the ongoing work in Zanjon . A work we have been privileged to be part of for some years now. In addition we had some lovely first hand accounts of the ongoing work in Santiago del Estero from Clare, our latest recruit to The Esperanza Family. Clare provided us with some fascinating blog accounts and photographs of her time in SdE. Clare visited many projects and was able to immerse her self in the language, culture and generous people that make up that small but significant part of Argentina.

We may say it regularly but it really is true. Without you our loyal supporters we would not be able to do the work we do year after year, SO…….

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

TO ONE AND ALL WE WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A
PEACEFUL AND HAPPY 2015

Cloughfern Guides and Rangers

Wondeful donation from the Guide/Ranger group – Cloughfern Guides and Rangers.

Nearly time to head home

Nov 3, 2013   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  2 Comments

The time is fast approaching for bags to be packed and last minute discussions and visits to take place prior to boarding our TransferLine Coach to Buenos Aires on our homeward journey. In many ways, I am pleased that I will soon be on my way home simply because temperature wise it is beginning to feel uncomfortable! Temperatures this week have soared! Just imagine taking a leisurely stroll to the main plaza which is the Plaza Libertad, not currently accessible because of major road works being in progress around its entire circuit. Nevertheless, as one walks past at 8.00 a.m. it is hard to ignore the huge sign that not only gives the time but also the temperature and as you look up the actual temperature at that time of the morning is 31degrees Celsius which gives an indication of what the day will be like later on. To cut a long story short I can just mention it reached 46 degrees but the thermal sensation is much higher due to the reflection of heat from buildings as well as from the concrete roads and footpaths.

This week I have managed to resolve some of the problems and difficulties that were of a real pressing nature and whilst still not completely at peace I have accepted the responses given but will continue to keep my eyes and ears open!!

Visits were made to the community school at Brea Pozo and to the Wm Morris School in Frias. It was joy and a privilege to be at each of these establishments and to see the advances that have been made even though both institutions continue to look to the future in the hope that all their dreams will become a reality. Brea Pozo now has 198 pupils of which 70 are boarders, 35 boys and 35 girls. I have never had so many kisses in my life on just one day because not only do you receive a kiss from each of the staff from that occupying the most humble position to the principal of the school yes, and including the men!!! Then as children emerge from their classes they each kiss you as they utter, “hola tio!!” We did a round of the classrooms while children were in class and it was a joy to be able to speak to them. I would ask a class if anyone knew English and a number of hands would go up! I would point to one for a response and the general answer would almost always be, ” what’s your name?” but some would name animals, others would count and some more adventurous children would try and have a conversation. The effort from these kids were most encouraging! The same can be said about the school in Frias and each has had a profound effect on me that I want to see Esperanza putting a lot more effort into helping both establishments to progress further for the full benefit of the children sRBI suFandobviously, for the encouragement of staff members.

Being the final week I am in demand from people wishing to entertain me! On Wednesday night I was the guest at a friend’s home where 15 other males, also friends new and others of long standing, were present to enjoy a typical Argentine “asado” (BBQ) with barbecued beef, pork, and kid meats along with a variety of sausages and tasty salads followed by “canastas de helado” (ice cream in crunchy edible baskets). Thursday night another asado this time at the home of Roberto & Maria and again some 20 other people present to enjoy an evening of food, chat and laughter. Friday, is yet another enjoyable asado night but in a much smaller and family setting.

Yesterday, Thursday we had several power cuts during the day, some of long duration, the skies darkened and as night drew in the rains came in full strength accompanied by strong winds that felled trees in its pathway. In places there was flooding as the rain overflowed unto footpaths and the streets became like rivers. The rains then eased but later returned in torrents accompanied by gale force winds and the lightning together with the roar of the thunder was a fantastic spectacle to observe in the skies! Today the winds continue and there is the odd drizzle but the atmosphere is far more acceptable to the extent that some locals are complaining it is cold and are again wearing cardigans and sweaters!!!

Tonight we have an invitation to yet another asado, a late night as far as I am concerned, but which is common here and which no doubt will bring to an end these good occasions for another year. But this morning I spent time with folk who are seeking to build a new place of worship as the hall they have been renting has been severely damaged by the construction of a tower block now in progress immediately next door. A plot of land, 8 x 28 metres in area, has been donated but the expensive aspect now comes into play as they design and obtain quotations for the new building. I also spent time with our 3 volunteer workers, Roberto, Maria and Silvina, formerly active in the Barrio Bosco II area now wishing to establish a centre as a meeting place for local children in the “Ejercito Argentino” area of the Capital and for this to happen it requires the building of a multiple-purpose hall some 10 x 6 meters in size. This is their dream and we want it to become a reality. Future plans include a new kindergarten in another part of the city.

Tomorrow I plan to visit the local cemetery to spend some thoughtful moments at the graveside of Alfred Furniss and to thank God for this man and his wife, Mary, for the love, the care and above all, the Gospel they brought to the people of this province. They were my grandparents, a wonderful couple who left their homelands to be pioneer missionaries and whose work and service over a 40-year period has left an indelible mark in this place.

Saturday and Sunday will be the closing moments for this latest visit to Santiago del Estero and it is my prayer and heartfelt wish that the work God put in my heart some 18 years ago will continue for years to come with the main aim to help and encourage poor and needy people in this northernly province of Argentina.

Thank you dear readers for being with us on this journey. With my very best wishes to one and all.

Rodney

The time has flown..

Oct 28, 2013   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  No Comments

Time moves on which means we are into our final week here in Santiago del Estero before travelling to Buenos Aires on our homeward trail.  Yes, time passes by but there are occasions when it might seem to grind to a halt or move at a slower pace so it is good to keep busy and accomplish as much as possible during these Spring days which are rather hot.

Further visits have been made to the Colegio Alfredo Furniss to see staff and chat to pupils who are always keen to say “hello” and then hold some sort of an English conversation with them. One does not want to discourage them otherwise they lose interest and the capability of speaking a second language.

Last Saturday we attended the children’s meeting, “Camino de Esperanza” (Road of Hope) at Zanjon and although numbers were lower than usual, they all seemed to enjoy themselves singing choruses and then moving into two study groups in accordance with their age.  The younger group spent their time making coloured pictures while the older ones were given a Bible story. Prior to leaving for their respective homes they played around all received some light refreshments and a few midget gems and other chewy sweets which I had brought with me.

After Zanjon we motored to Maquito for a baptismal service.  The only candidate was a local lady who has been living in Australia for the past 7 years.  She decided to come back to her home country for this act where she would be surrounded and supported by family and friends.  The meeting was well attended and It was a great night for renewing old acquaintances as well as making new friends.

On the Sunday we were on the go again!  After the morning Communion Service at Calle Salta I met with my son, David, for a cold drink in a local bar where we had a good time to talk without outside interruptions.  Later that day we were back at Zanjon to celebrate Communion with people from the local area and although numbers were again on the low side nevertheless, a good time of fellowship was had in the company of friends.  From Zanjon we then journeyed on to Arraga for their evening service at which the local children put on an excellent display for “Mother’s Day” before Edgardo Mulki preached the Word of God. A very pleasant night of celebration!

The week continued in the usual pattern of meeting people and calling at businesses where friends either worked or were the actual employers and on the whole, useful discussions have been held.

Liz Buckland, my companion in travel, has managed to secure some voluntary work teaching children and young people to swim at the Santiago Lawn Tennis Club, where together with my late sister and late brother, we were members in our teenage years.  Liz has also been assisting Mariel, David’s wife, in teaching English to the children of the Kindergarten at the Colegio Alfredo Furniss.

On Thursday afternoon Liz and I boarded a coach for the 6-hour journey to Cordoba for a very brief stay at the home of Ricardo & Margaret Schramm, dear friends I had known from the days of my youth. This was indeed a brief visit but welcome break as we were back in Santiago del Estero on Saturday evening and I went direct from the bus terminus to a church service at the Iglesia Evangelica Cristiana in Avenida Moreno, as time was fast running out to put in an appearance at different churches that were seeking my attendance.

I conclude this Blog with the favourite subject of the weather.  Having experienced some quite fierce thunder and lightning storms with heavy downpours during the initial days of our stay here those temporarily disappeared.  We have being “enjoying” beautiful sunny skies with temperatures that can be bearable if you keep in the shade as you walk the streets and/or have air conditioning in one’s room.  Some of us however, have to put up with a central ceiling fan with a whine while in operation throughout the night but it is better than nothing at all!  Temperatures outside have peaked at just over 41 degrees Celsius but on an average the maximum has been 38 degrees or thereabouts! Nevertheless, the night prior to travelling to Cordoba there was a strong wind storm which certainly cooled the atmosphere and while away on our brief visit we enjoyed much cooler weather under cloudy skies!

This is likely to be my penultimate Blog.  I shall attempt to draft a final brief one prior to leaving Santiago del Estero for another year.  In the meantime, all the very best to my readers if there happen to be any out there!!!!

Second week and things are hotting up……

Oct 22, 2013   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  No Comments

We are now into our second week since arriving in Santiago del Estero, so what has been happening in the past week?

For the first few days we had, on and off, electrical thunderstorms with heavy downpours of rain which did not last too long but in the last couple of days the temperature has been rising  and yesterday it peaked at 41.5 degrees Celsius, not bad for Springtime!!! On my way, to the Culture Centre this morning where I’m drafting this Blog the temperature was registering 23 degrees at 8 a.m. so what will be in store for the day is anyone’s guess!

Last Sunday, the day after we arrived we were treated to afternoon tea/dinner by David and Mariel and then attended the evening service at the San Lorenzo Church in La Banda.  This was followed by a family gathering again at David & Mariel’s home for further eats and a catch-up chat!

Once the national holiday weekend which was in force on our arrival had gone into history for another year, Santiago del Estero returned to the normal busy streets where “merchants” displayed their wares on the street footpaths with the confidence they would be sold to people like ourselves and all passers-by.  General stores also seemed to have got busier although I would guess that many were just general onlookers and not buyers!

In the meantime, along with Liz and Maria Matos we visited the morning and afternoon sessions of the Colegio Alfredo Furniss meeting staff as well as pupils who were interested in getting to know us. Our visit also included, “Mi Pesebre” the Kindergarten Section where children as young as 2-years attend and eventually graduate to the Primary Grades of the Colegio.

In walking along the streets of this provincial Capital one cannot help bumping into people you know which can become a very embarrassing experience when their names do not immediately come to mind and especially for those I have known for many years!!!   I sometimes stumble through the alphabet while chatting and it’s a surprise when the actual name comes to mind but other times I have to admit defeat by asking!  A clear indication that growing old raises ever so awkward problems and difficulties!!!

Since none of the three schools that we support have swimming facilities we have had to make general enquiries with State schools about the subject and through the kind help of a brother of Maria Matos an opening at the Escuela Normal seems to be showing promise.  We made a visit to that school during the past week to meet staff and to see the available facilities and now live in the hope that Liz will be able to carry out some swimming classes in the coming days.

As for me, my mobile phone rings quite regularly and in general are from enquirers wishing to meet up to discuss ideas and potential projects in which Esperanza might be interested  and able to provide support.  I cannot and do not make any promises but take on board particulars fed to me for further consideration at our Board meetings.

There are many good changes and developments taking place in the provincial Capital and elsewhere in the province such as new buildings, high-rise apartments, new government offices, much needed improvements to the drainage systems and the development of a fast train service between the Capital and the nearby city of La Banda.  But those in need continue to live in all parts of the province as well as in the Capital itself, in very precarious situations and it is to those people that we need to continue helping through the efforts of The Esperanza Trust (Argentina).

Until my next contribution it is Adios with my very best wishes,

Rodney

Back again in Argentina!

Oct 15, 2013   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  2 Comments

How time flies! It doesn’t seem that long since I was last here but this past Thursday, 10th October I set off from Heathrow Airport in a British Airways 777 aircraft for the South Atlantic accompanied on this trip by Liz Buckland, a swimming trainer from Glenrothes, Scotland for the thirteen and a half hours flight to Buenos Aires. It was a great flight with very little turbulence and we touched down at Ezeiza Airport on time, 07.30 hours local time. My taxi driver met us as we emerged from all the usual things one must go through in having arrived in another country. Angie Doukatas, our taxi driver conveyed us to the apartment in Palermo where we left our luggage and hoped to get a little rest. But sleep deserted us and so we pounded the local streets having first had some liquid refreshments, all in an effort to pass the time. We soon got bored doing this and so returned to the apartment to try and have a rest as there is nothing so boring as having to put in more than 8 hours prior to continuing the journey by coach to our final destination, Santiago del Estero!

Angie called at 18.30 hours local time to transfer us to Retiro, the Bus Station but as we neared it the roads were utter chaos with traffic as there was a concerted move by everybody to get away for the weekend break as the 12th October is “Dia de la Raza” (Race Day). Buses, taxis and other vehicles were locked in an unmovable grid across traffic lights and street junctions! We sat in the taxi for seeming hours metaphorically speaking and eventually decided to abandon it and walk the final few hundred yards up ramps and into the Bus Station. We got our tickets checked and waited for the 20.30 coach to arrive on the stand for boarding and then departing north to Santiago del Estero. But nothing happened and the place was teeming with people on the travel exercise. It was not until 22.00 hours that our coach pulled in, just 90 minutes late. Everyone boarded pretty quickly and we got on our way but arrived at our final destination two hours late!! Our son David, was there to meet us and so too was Jorge Salum our local legal representative. We were taken to our respective lodging places and so our tenure in this northerly province of Argentina began where we will be engaged in the activities of “The Esperanza Trust (Argentina)” over the next 3 to4 weeks. More to follow in the days ahead!! So please don’t forget to look-up the further Blogs!!!

Love Birds or Looking for Lice?

Nov 16, 2012   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  1 Comment

It is hard to believe that my time here in Santiago del Estero is rapidly coming to a close.  I arrived here on Wednesday, 24th October and leave this coming Saturday night, 17th November en-route to Buenos Aires and to the UK on the Monday.  It has really been an interesting and busy time, obviously with the ups and downs that can take place anywhere one goes but more likely when you are here in this part of Argentina.  One of the huge downs was the large bank cheque destined for scholarships that went missing but I am pleased to now report that following the valuable efforts of my cousin, Valerie and my daughter, Noreen I got the excellent news that the cheque had been located and so all is now well.  Thank you to all who were concerned about this matter and to those who prayed for a positive outcome in due course.

Plaza Libertad ObservationsI was sitting on the usual bench the other morning and spied a couple of teenagers sitting on another bench at an angle to mine some 30 feet away.  The odd thing was that the girl seemed to be preening the boys head which I thought was something that birds did and then my mind was illuminated, they were actually “love birds!!!”  On the other hand, maybe she was looking for lice!!!!!  Sometime later they decided to move and as they did I spied there was a child with them, not more than about 3-years old, so really this was Mum and Dad, but I thought what were they doing in the Plaza at this time of the day?  Should they not have been at college or maybe working?  Well, whom am I to query the case, but the truth is that there are many teenage Mums with children or pregnant teenagers who in all honesty are really not old enough to be parents!  A sad state of affairs!

A further interesting observation – anyone thinking of opening a business selling women´s clothing, especially frocks and skirts then they need to think again because the enterprise would be doomed from the start as very few women are seen in dresses and skirts, trousers and jeans is the dress code!

The people or should I say the menfolk here are football crazy, football mad!  When a few get together after the kiss and hug greetings the subject rapidly emerges and if its not Boca Juniors then it is River Plate.  Television also has numerous channels broadcasting football matches throughout the day including live matches from the Premier League in Britain

Weather has mellowed somewhat since the torrential rain we had last week when it absolutely poured one afternoon/evening for well over and hour which also included a time of hailstones.  It made me think what it must have been in the days of Noah!  After the rains stopped the streets were flooded and the place looked more like a poor version of Venice rather than the Santiago I know.  The good thing about that storm was that it brought the temperature down from 40+ degrees to around 24 degrees which has been much more bearable.  This milder weather has continued for a few days but today the temperature has begun to climb again so maybe it is just about the right time for me to be leaving for cooler climes!!!

Last Sunday night we were back at the small rural church in Cuyoj who were celebrating their 46th  Anniversary.  The church was full with people not only from the vicinity but also from the surrounding districts and quite a number children were also in attendance.  But I must add that the congregation paled into insignificance by the number of mosquitos that were present despite repellents being used and furthermore, they seem to be very fond of anglo-argie blood as I was been eaten alive!!  Following the close the celebrations we enjoyed a refrigerio of snacks and a special celebratory cake all washed down with a gaseosa (coke!)

Visits were also made to San Fernando, Barrio Borges and El Porvenir to see newly opened centres for worship in these rural areas of the province.  I also had an interesting and profitable time with Jay Cook, a missionary from the USA, who among other things is exploring means to obtain potable water for poor communities living in very primitive and isolated areas throughout the province.  In Barrio Borges I attended a meeting of Elders from various churches throughout the province and a group photo.

Lastly, eating habits!!!!!!!!!!!  I must say that I have tried to be good on this trip and to a certain extent have achieved it despite the great temptations all around!  But it is being very difficult this last week especially as folk are most keen to entertain and so my confession is that every night this week I have in my agenda somewhere where I will be entertained to, not a snack, but a variety of delicious foods that one cannot ignore!  This culminates on Friday night when there will be a totall Arab Menu.  Can´t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A final comment – there is the probability of some needful practical voluntary work emerging during 2013 and if there is anyone interested then a visit to Santiago del Estero could be arranged for August/September next year

I must now sign off and hope that you will have enjoyed something from my rantings during this latest visit to the place of my birth!  Thank you for taking the time to read these contributions.

Best wishes to one and all,

Rodney

The Sparrow and the Obesity Club!

Nov 9, 2012   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  2 Comments

Weather report for Santiago del Estero –  8.00 a.m. sunny skies and temperature 28° Celsius; 12.00 noon still sunny but 32°; 3.00 p.m. still sunny and 36°; 4.00 p.m. 40° but dark clouds begin to appear and soon spread across the sky in a menacing manner, lightning flashes next appear followed by heavy thunder and by 6.00 p.m. there is a heavy downpour which lasts some 45 minutes leaving many of the centres streets flooded due to the poor drainage in the city.  The main outcome from the storm and rain is that it cooled the atmosphere down to 24° which made the evening/night more bearable.  However, the forecast now is hot and getting hotter!

What is new to report? –  Last Saturday I was invited with Jorge to lunch at a Finca (rural agricultural setting) owned by Roberto & Maria Groppa.  It was great occasion and we enjoyed a good meal with our hosts and other family members that were present.  It also provided a good opportunity for useful discussion which could in the future be of benefit to Esperanza.  Since then I have been having further conversations with Maria and I am pleased with the outcome for future collaboration with her and her husband.  At the meal I was nicely surprised when the dessert was brought in, an emotional moment for me and the reason for this can be seen in one of the attached pictures.

 

It is my usual practice each morning to walk the quarter mile or so from where I am staying to the Plaza Libertad in the centre of the city, where I often spend about an hour seated on a somewhat hard bench while I watch the world go by.  The Plaza is criss-crossed with footpaths that also includes the huge fountain, the bandstand, a statue of General Belgrano on horseback as well as other icons, flower beds, grassy areas and plenty of trees which makes it an ideal area rich in bird life whose chirping and songs compete with the traffic noise circulating around the huge plaza area.  As I watch people coming and going along the various pathways it reminds me of ant colonies moving in all directions in a garden on a hot day.  One special moment of interest was as I watched a female sparrow hopping around feeding on anything it could find when all of a sudden appears a frisky male sparrow all puffed up who begins to make a variety of moves trying to seduce the female but all to no avail.  However, the male sparrow continues to follow the female, dancing, hopping and doing all sorts of acts in the hope of a conquest.  Finally the female sparrow takes flight into a tree and the male, now all deflated looks on in anguish. He then takes flight in the opposite direction and I am certain the words going through his mind must have been, “Well that was a waste of time!”

Another but a more serious observation I noticed while sitting on my usual bench was the great number of people, both male and female, who are either overweight or obese.  I decided to carry out a small survey on one day and in a period of 15 minutes had acquired enough candidates of both sexes to get quite a useful percentage.  This worked out at 51% for males and 56% for females but had insufficient numbers for children as I suppose many had already gone to school.  However, I have seen many overweight children as I have walked the streets of the city.  My figures turned out to be not too different to those mentioned at a church service, (60%), which I attended in La Banda on the previous Sunday night when it was announced that they were considering starting a group to help obese people.  Obesity is a major issue in this city and unless something is done to counteract it this will spell a serious health problem in the not too distant future.

I mentioned above my attendance, with Jorge Salum, at an evening service in La Banda last Sunday night.  The service was a closure to a campaign entitled “40 days with the Word” and was an interesting event.  Following the service refreshments were offered to all in attendance on the forecourts of the church.  After this we ended up at the home of our son´s (David) in-laws for further chats and more tempting delicious consumables which we really enjoyed.

Yet another experience as I sat there at the Plaza.  A man with a frilly hat, sunglasses and a couple of bags in his hand approached me and immediately put me on my guard thinking here is someone looking for money.  But how wrong I was!  After a brief introduction we spent some 25 minutes chatting together.  He happened to be on a visit from his home area in Tafi Viejo in northern Tucuman and in his bags were 2 shirts and some woodcraft he had bought while wandering around.  We talked about a range of subjects and then he asked me why I was in SdE which I briefly told him.  He put his hand on his heart and uttered that this was obviously a passion visit from my perspective to which I agreed.  He then told me about his father-in-law´s brother who was a Catholic priest who had gone to Africa to help poor people and from there to Rome and the Vatican where he remained for some time.  He too was a Catholic.  The time came when I had to move on and for which I apologised but before I left he posed a question to me and was this.  He said, if two people die and one is buried in the earth and the other in a mausoleum he wanted to know if both returned to earth.  I gave him the answer he was looking for but sadly time and space forbids me to explain it here so any reader of this Blog would like to know the response I gave him then they will need to ask me personally.  This man, a 63 year-old, wished that we could have spent more time together in discussions but we had to say our good-byes and as we did he gave me such a strong hand-shake that my hand hurt and as he did said, “Dios te Bendiga Ricamente” (God Bless you Richly) and we went on our separate ways.

My days are not boring and often can vary at the last moment from what I had planned to do but I am also in demand for invites to homes for either lunch or evening meals and I suppose it is good that my stay here will come to an end within the next 10 days or I might end up being a candidate to attend an “Obese Club!”

Will be back again soon and which might be my last Blog before leaving this wonderful place that I love so much.

Until then, I wish all my readers a good time,

Rodney

One week in and a trip to the Zoo!

Nov 2, 2012   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  No Comments

 

It´s hard to accept that a week has gone by since setting foot again in Santiago del Estero on this my latest visit to Argentina. It has been a week with ups and downs but still one which I am thankful for because of good things having been developed as well as ongoing developments currently in hand since my last visit. Elaine enjoyed here 5-day stay and left last Monday for her return to the UK and her work with British Airways.

The face of Santiago del Estero is continually changing because everywhere you look one can see buildings being erected for government purposes as well as by private enterprise. The government projects have posters displayed on their buildings having the strapline which says, “Santiago sigue Creciendo” (Santiago continues to grow), which is true as you look around the skyline. There are numerous multi-storey buildings being constructed for both commerce and as dwellings. Millions are being spent on these and other enterprises and yet the poor continue to exist with little or no help.

Last Saturday, Rosendo Salto and a colleague took Elaine and I to visit Rita Perez and what a surprise awaited us. The building to which Esperanza contributed funds for its erection was functioning as a sort of day school for children from its vicinity. The tasks to which Rita gets involved are amazing, she has also got a large part of her plot sectioned off as an allotment and sells vegetables to locals in order to raise funds to finance some of the activities as well as helping in her daily living. The work with young people caught up in drugs also continues. I strongly believe and recommend that when funds become available Esperanza should continue to encourage Rita in her great endeavours.

We were able to visit the Cuyoj church, a small place of worship in a rural setting last Sunday where there were no more than 12 of us at the Communion Service but it was a good time of fellowship as well as worship. Afterwards we visited a farming home next door to the church which has hundreds of Orange, Mandarine and Lemon trees but our main interest was the wide varieties of beautiful birds, ducks, geese, wild boars, rabbits, gazelles and other beasts. It was like a zoo! On Sunday afternoon we went to Zanjon for a meeting and again I was surprised with improvements since my last time there but much still needs to be done. In the evening we attended a service in Forres and afterwards went to Beltran where we were entertained to a delicious asado (bbq for the unintiated!).

The biggest downside this past week has been the loss of a large sum of money that was assigned to scholarships for children at the Colegio Alfredo Furniss here in the Capital as well as at the William Morris School in the city of Frias. The matter is now in the hands of Esperanza´s bankers and we hope it will be resolved soon and to our satifaction.

Will be back again before too long,

Rodney

Rodney has Arrived in SdE

Oct 26, 2012   //   by admin   //   Rodney's Blog  //  1 Comment

Two full days have passed since arriving here in Santiago del Estero on my latest visit.  Accompanying me is Elaine Waring who has taken a week´s holiday from her work to enjoy a new visit to this part of the world.  Sadly, Elaine departs on Monday as she has to return to her flying duties!  But our journey from London Heathrow last Monday night has been one that I think we will not forget for quite some time because from start to finish it has been nothing but delays here, there and everywhere!!!   Our departure from London was delayed by one hour due to mist and fog earlier in the day which meant there were queues of planes waiting for take off.

Once in the air, my journey was much more than a comfortable one thanks to Elaine having adopted me as her British Airways friend for 6 months.  There were one or two bouts of turbulence during the flight but let me assure you it wasn´t with Elaine but simply due to outside atmospheric conditions.

On reaching Buenos Aires we circled the city for 45 minutes again due to queues of aircraft waiting to land because of strong winds in the area.  Once on the ground, there was more delays of greater than 2 hours in getting through immigration and customs all because we were unfortunate of having landed after a number of other aircraft!  Eventually we got into the centre of Buenos Aires and having temporarilly disposed of our luggage were able to wander around the city where from time to time we popped into a confiteria for a coffee and if temptation got a hold we succumbed to a nice “media luna” (croissant for the uninitiated)!!!

At 8.15pm local time we were off again, this time by coach to our final destination, Santiago del Estero, a 12-hour overnight journey but in the end turned out to be 15 hours long due to several deviations en-route as a result of river floodings in the province of Santa Fe!  Finally, we arrived a bit the worse for wear but warmly welcomed at the Bus Terminus by David, Mariel, Rebekah, Nat, Daniel, Jorge Salum and Tucho Auad.  Not a bad welcome for two weary travellers!!

Since then we have again met many of the warm friendly people in this part of the world which I know many of you who have visited Santiago will recall from past times.

We visited the Colegio Alfredo Furniss yesterday where we were welcomed by both staff and children from the kindergarten, primary and secondary sections of the school.  Plus other contacts have been re-established just by walking around streets in the city but I will report on these and other activiites in future blogs.

I will finish now before anyone gets bored out of their mind and send my warm good wishes to everyone reading these lines.

Rodney

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