…was absolutely awesome.
I found this organization called LIFE Argentina that works with children in low income areas and decided to check it out. It seemed pretty legit so I told them I would be back to help out the following week.
Yesterday I signed up for “juegoteco” in Ciudad Oculta in Buenos Aires. I was a bit as nervous as I had never gone to extremely poor area to do volunteer work and Ciudad Oculta, which translates to Hidden City, I knew was very rough, but I was with a group that goes regularly which helped me feel more comfortable.
When we got there, the things I had heard were not untrue; shanty houses, run down buildings, trash in the streets, horrible stench and stray dogs everywhere. In contrast however you could tell there was a lot of life as children began running up to the van as we approached our destination. Once we got there we helped set up table and brought out paper and pencils for the children to draw with. While helping out one kid came up to me and said “¿Quires jugar?” I responded yes, and as we walked away I asked what we were playing to which he responded “Beisbol.”
I thought this was almost to good to be true, I’m playing baseball with underprivileged children in my first ten minutes of volunteering, but it really was true. We started out with six of us playing but the number continued to grow and grow. Some of the funniest moments were when I was playing defense and other kids would run up and ask you to pick them up and play. I would oblige and swing them around or toss a ball but soon the kids on my team would realize I was not paying attention and starting yelling at me to do so, especially this one girl who was about eight years old. It amazing to see the passion they had for the game and that they had no qualms about challenging a person who was over twice their size. It was just as fun to watch how they had adopted their own rules, but argued just as kids do in America whether the person was safe or out or if they swung or not.
Eventually it was time to leave, but I had an absolute blast. By the end there were some 30 kids playing, both boys and girls, ranging from the ages of 4-15. There is no other way to put in besides that it was quite an experience and unlike anything I had been apart of before.