Having talked about the first two weeks in San Marcos now, I would like to talk a bit more about the children’s home, and what I’m exactly doing here, since quite a few of you wrote and said, “Man, you’re there for a whole lot of time now and you still haven’t talked about what you’re doing there. Stop talking about Argentina and give us some information on the children’s home!”. So here you go:
The children’s home is obviously in San Marcos. Therefore, the Hogar is built on dirt, more or less. The “campo”, land, the Hogar is built on is pretty big. There are multiple buildings. A huge house, in which the three married couples live, plus Julio’s office, a big storage room, and the “ropería”, in which we have all of the children’s clothes. In the
second big building, which was built only a few years ago, we have the washing room, the kitchen, the “comedor”, in which we eat, two storage rooms, the “salón” with a TV, chairs, toys, etc. , and next to the “salón” we have the three little rooms, usually used by the volunteers and two little bathrooms. Next to the rooms of the volunteers, there’s the third building, in which the boys and the little girls sleep. A few meters away, there’s a little house, which looks like a cube, called the “casita”. That’s where the girls, who are older than 15, live. Next to the first big building I was talking about, we have the “galpón”. There, we have a workshop, the room of the girls, who are between 12 and 15, the room of the Argentinian volunteers, and a room, which is usually used for storing books, etc. but at the moment, Martin, one of our kids is living there. But that’s a story for a different post. Other than that, we’ve got a dirt soccer field, a lot of trees, and a tiny tiny tiny river, which separates the soccer field from the buildings.
Julio owns the Hogar de Niños of San Marcos, and runs the “Fundación Sierra Dorada”, which consists of the Hogar of San Marcos, one in Embalse, one in Córdoba, and some more programs, working with families who have issues at home, for example. The organization and the Hogares are all private and are only partially supported by the government, which is arguably the main reason the Hogares are working so well,
compared to others in the country. Patri is his wife. She is … better was in charge of us and taught us some of the differences between normal Spanish, which is taught in school, and Argentinian Spanish. They’ve got two kids, Facundo, 24 years old, and Cynthia, 18 years old. They had three married couples working for them. Susana and Pablo, who started working here two years ago. They are the “strict couple” but I must say, I really enjoy working with them. They adopted Santiago, who was one of the Argentinian volunteers, but had to leave a few months ago, due to some issues, concerning the older girls in the Hogar. Then we have Esteban and Viki, the second couple. They started about a year ago. They are a bit younger than Susi and Pablo, and are the more relaxed couple. They have two little kids, Fran and Enzo, who are usually more annoying, than the kids we actually have to take care of. We had a third couple working here. Juan and Gisela, a newly-married couple, who were in charge of cooking. We really liked them, but unfortunately, they had to leave, as well, due to some problems.
Except of the married couples and us, there are also Argentinian volunteers working. Except of Santiago, they’re all from Jujuy, the north of Argentina. Every few years, Julio drives north, to donate food and clothes to churches. There, he talks to young people, offering them a job in the Hogar. An offer they can combine with studying in Cruz del Eye, while they’re not working in the children’s home. There was Mercedes, or Mechi, a really ambitious 21-year-old girl. She was in charge of the “ropería”. She studied to be a
teacher and left us five to six months ago, when she was finished, to study in Córdoba, enabling her to work in higher ranks of the government. Yahni, 25, was in charge of Julio’s house and their clothes, but is now working more in the Hogar, helping us and the couples. And then there’s Saul and Lino, aka Lingote. They’re in charge of repairing everything that’s broken.
At the moment, we’re taking care of about 25 kids. The number varies every few weeks. They are normally here because of problems in the family or because they were living on the street. I will talk about some stories in another post, if you’re interested.
So, what are we actually doing? Our work consists primarily of taking care of the Hogar, not of the kids, how it was originally promised on the Internet. Which means, cleaning, cooking, preparing clothes for “bañarse”, bathing time, repairing a few things. After all of that is finished, we can play with the kids. I don’t really mind work being this way because it changes things up a little, and honestly, what are we supposed to do, when there aren’t any kids in the Hogar because they’re in school, for example. Other than that, I personally like working with people but a job about people, in the sense of, directly taking care of people all day long wouldn’t be something for me, I’ve already found out.
Having so many other Argentinian volunteers taking care of something, and since Mechi is gone, we are more or less in charge of the clothes now. Which means washing clothes, hanging up clothes to dry, getting clothes when they are dry, folding clothes, putting clothes away, preparing clothes for “bañarse”, for school, or for going to some event, putting names on the new clothes, etc. Being in charge of clothes doesn’t sound that hard, but doing all of this for 25 kids is pretty time consuming at times. And after I finish that, I usually play soccer with the kids or go hiking with them.
We have to work five days a week, seven hours per day. They normally need one person
in the morning and two in the afternoon. Especially on Saturday and Sunday. The forth one has to use one of his/her two “días libres”. Which means that only once a week, two of us can use their “día libre” to do something together. One of the things, that can be quite annoying. Other than that, we have 24 “vacation days” to travel or do whatever we want to do.
During the week, the early shift begins at 7AM and lasts until 2PM. On the weekends the early shift starts at 9AM and lasts until 4PM. The early shift is all about waking the kids up, preparing breakfast, preparing clothes, and helping with lunch.
The afternoon shift begins at 2PM and lasts until 9PM during the week. 3PM to 10PM during the weekends. The afternoon shift is more about the kids. There’s not that much left to do in the “ropería”, which means more time for some activities. But we also have to prepare “merienda”, at about 4PM to 5PM, which is snack time, help the kids getting showered, help with dinner and bring the kids to bed.
There are also special days, when “vísita” comes, for example, which happens quite a lot. People from the church, which the kids visit every second Sunday, schools, friends of the Hogar, etc. It’s more or less a normal day with a ton of people invading the Hogar. It’s fun, usually, but it’s a lot more stress.
So, yeah, that’s it! That’s basically everything you must know about the children’s home for now! You should definitely take a look at sierradorada.com.ar! It’s the children’s home’s homepage. It was a really bad homepage a couple of months ago, but they’ve updated the homepage recently, and it’s really cool now. Unfortunately, it’s only in Spanish, but have a look anyway, there are quite a few pictures, and I believe videos, as well! I’ll talk about what has happened to the children in another post and maybe I’ll do an updated version of what’s going on in the children’s home, since things are changing pretty quickly here, considering the people who are working here, etc.. By the way, check out my previous post, since I’ve been adding the pictures I promised! Thanks for tuning in! See you next time!