Añatuya / Helps (part 2)

Helping hands II

There are many foreign volunteers from different countries: Vicentin Sister Rosita (Paraguay), “Anunciata” Dominican Sister Ma. Teresa (Spain), Sister Marisol (Chile), and other Spanish jewels, like Crescencia, Inmaculada and Pilar.

The Sisters are both a silent and a driving engine in the Community. The only 2 Vicentin Sisters left coordinate the Nursing Home, the Girls Home “Medalla Milagrosa” (Miracle Medal) and the Special Needs School “Santa Margarita” (Sainte Margaret). They are only 2, one almost 90 years old and the other Sister Rosita is like an endless wheel who doesn’t take a break among some many activities. The motto of the Congregation is to be “modest, humble and charitable” and she follows it to perfection, and this is just the beginning. For her is the most natural thing in the world to be at the service of others, when she was 9 years old, she used to play with her brother pretending to be a priest and a nun. She was so humble that it was hard to make her talk about herself, but she would tell many things about the girls, with whom she prays a daily Rosary and lives at the Girls Home. Continue reading

Añatuya / Helps (Part 1)

manos niñas

Almost like a mirror in Spanish “AÑ-ATUYA / AYUDA (=HELPS)”: Nice coincidence… How difficult to summarize Añatuya (city in the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina), if we are still processing it! It is incredible what happens there, in that dusty and extremely warm place for the visitors. And it is not a mystery, is plain courage, will and lot of help from the Above what moves this army of anonymous heroes. They really do what Mother Teresa used to say “To love until it hurts”. Because it really hurts, there are realities that hurt, and they leave their own reality to plunge into someone else’s reality and try to make it better.

We reached Father Cristian in Añatuya thinking he may contact us with one person who helps others and in one sigh we had 9 (Nine!) people to meet, a total record for us, we skeptically thought: “it can’t be possible that all these people work for Love, very likely we will discover after meeting them that they work for a salary and a fixed schedule”. One by one they not only probed the contrary but also showed us Love in action. It seems it is still hard for us to change the way we see things. Continue reading

The Queen Ant

with Reina in St Michael´s Chapel

In the outskirts of Chilecito, in the town-neighbourhood of San Miguel with 1,100 inhabitants, everybody knows “Reina” (Queen) because she is like a mother to the community. She knows and takes care of everyone, and like an ant’s work she gets everything she sets her mind to. Since she has memory, she has always been doing this and will keep on doing it; with over 70 years old she is like a train engine at the service of others. She knows everyone and to everyone she asks for help, thanks to that and with a lot of effort, she managed to make a reality the Dining Room, the cemetery, the Chapel of San Miguel, the Library and so many other things. Continue reading

Curls of Hope

Joyful Mari

In Tupungato, province of Mendoza, Argentina, birthplace of the Uco Valley wines, at the feet of the mountains range, seeing it from the window, the group “Esperanza” (Hope) get together to transform pain in Love. They started meeting spontaneously in the Parrish of Socorro united by a common pain: the loss of a loved one. At the beginning they would talk, hug each other and cry many tears until this was not enough and they needed to transform the anguish into something more productive. This is how they started doing handmade fabric dolls to exchange them for diapers and clothes for the hospital. Fathers Horacio and Raúl gave them the first push and the group was born, with a renewed spirit and driving force. Continue reading

“The Quixote of the Andes”

Family with eight kids

This is how they know Mauricio Alarcón Vidal at the other side of the Andes Mountains. The Customs officers talked to us about him after telling them about our project. Mauricio climbs the mountains to visit the houses of the most humble area of the region and the second most poor of Chile. The 3 officials contacted immediately the Carabineros (police) to get us the phone number of the Quixote. They even called him and he told us that he would be waiting for us at his home. We took a sinuous gravel road going down the mountain to meet him. We arrived there on a Friday night, he welcomed us with a smile, not understanding much why we were there, but with an open heart to talk and get to know each other. He welcomed us with a “mate” (traditional type of infusion from Argentina) that had a drawing of Buenos Aires, capital city of Argentina, and its typical dance, the Tango. This is how, after 2 hours of conversation without even noticing it, he told us about how it all started. Eleven years ago, when he was just 22 years old, he met all these people who live modestly up in the mountains, isolated and forgotten. Continue reading

“Our Friends”

Our friends and volunteers

Our Friends = those who we choose to share different moments, they go with us and help us to double the joys and divide in two the sadness.

In San Martín de los Andes, Argentina, Father Fernando without a second thought took us to a joyful group of volunteers who call “Our Friends” to the men they find abandoned in the streets, forgotten and generally with too much booze. Continue reading

Don Carlos and Don Raúl

Giving hands

We were the first surprised ones. Without much research, a friend, who is almost a brother, gave us the contact info of Carlos, who convinced us of the type of vehicle to buy for the project. Without even knowing it, he was starting to participate in this adventure. We went to meet him with a thousand practical questions; he opened the doors to his house, shared his experience and helped us get organized and the most important thing: he invited us to eat the most delicius “milanesas” of the whole world made by his wife Ana. He gave us lots of stuff, he searched through all his garage to find things that could prove useful for us, he even introduced us to a group of happy and open minded people to whom we asked lots of questions. It is obvious that we ended that day exhausted. Too much information, anxiety, and obviuosly many thoughts going inside our heads that generated more questions just after leaving the house. Continue reading