A harsh reality

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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The sad reality.

 

Friday May 19th 2006

 

I consider myself an explorer,  I am fascinated in general by unfamiliar territories, faces, situations, etc. Contrary to most people, I like change. For instance, I like taking unfamiliar roads on a common trip. I get this quality from my father, and growing up when he took unfamiliar roads, my sister and I began to coin it ¨long cuts¨. I found myself doing the same thing as I grew older, turning on a completely unfamiliar road, or even purposefully getting myself lost to see if I could find my way home.

 

This quality in me has brought out my passion of traveling. When deciding where to study abroad there were a lot of factors that played an important role in my decision. Initially I wanted to go on the GT Lorraine program, but thought it over a lot. I am familiar with the French culture, my mother is French, I know what the food is like, what the culture is like, I have been there before (although I was young), from that moment on after looking through the various programs offered I decided to choose somewhere completely foreign to me, something completely new that I have never experienced before. I strongly believe that when one travels outside of a familiar territory,  they experience sights they never experience, and it generally makes them more worldly, and appreciative of what they have.

 

I walk to class everyday because I feel it gives me a chance to explore the city, time to go window shopping, of course to do my favorite people watching, and to relax, and reflect on the previous day, or day to come. Although I do take various routes to class, I typically like to walk on Santa Fe Avenue because it is always packed with people and it is quite entertaining. Melissa had told me to go to Florida street to shop, but warned me about the homeless children that she said broke her heart. Thursday on my way to class was my first true experience with this in Argentina. A woman sat on the ground watching her three kids play with trash in the street, I slowed my fast paced walk to absorb it, but tried to remain discreet as not to offend her. On the way back from class I noticed the same woman, the same children, still in the street doing the same thing as earlier in the morning. It broke my heart,  but I rationalized it--thinking that maybe they were just poor, and stayed there during the day. It wasn’t till the next morning when I felt like everything got sucked completely out of me. I gazed deep into the woman’s eyes and sympathized with her. The woman curled up in a ball to keep her warm, her dark black hair greasy from not showering, her pale blue eyes gazed as people walked by, her expressionless face displayed her lack of hope and her sense of survival. Looking at her took every ounce of energy away from me, my fast paced techno music that was blaring on my ipod instantaneously turned to a tone of sorrow, because I knew realistically I could not help her. I did not bring my wallet with me on Friday, primarily because I did not want to be tempted to waste money on food, or items I truly didn’t need. I regretted that decision.  I wanted so much to scoop her and her 3 beautiful young boys, and to take them home back to Georgia.

 

The only time in my life that I have seen such vivid sights of poverty in the streets is in Lebanon. I was younger at the time and it did affect me tremendously, but seeing this again tears me apart more and more, giving the justification (in my eyes) of the stereotypes of the naive and ´rich bitch’ North American. In my opinion, many of the homeless back in Georgia are on drugs. Although I realize this is a bold statement, and that many are not, I have had so many experiences of cracked out and drugged up homeless people, resulting in my lack of genuine care for many that are left stranded. It is a different story when you see homeless families, with no where to go, and no governmental help available. Children begging in the streets, gaze deeply in your eyes, telling you to buy a pack of stickers for $1 because they need to eat.  It really breaks my heart so much. I wish that I had all the money in the world, just to help these mothers, and these families--those sleeping out in the cold,  spending countless days and nights uncertain of what the future holds.
travelman727 says:
Gigi,

I understand your feelings after looking at real poverty. I urge you to lock in your emotions from this experience. When you return home, find a tangible way to help.

I go into poor parts of the world and help build churches. There are many other worthwhile projects. We don't realize how blessed we are until we see how much of the world lives.

Gigi, always keep your heart open and care about others. The Lord gave us only two commands: Love God and love each other as He loves them.

Have a great time in Argentina and Brazil. As the Irish say, "May the road rise to meet you and may the sun be always at your back."
Posted on: Jun 07, 2006
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