Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 5: Empanada Cooking Class

Day of Service
After our commute to the daycare and second breakfast, we went straight to work. There was still a lot to do in the backyard. Yesterday we focused on clearing garbage from the area, and today we are focusing on evening out the backyard by adding a rock layer to the back area. We will later add cement which will serve as a base for the playground we are installing. 
We took turns working in the kitchen, working outside, and working with the children inside. The daycare runs on parents' donations and can only survive because of the generosity of volunteers. There are 3 wonderful ladies who dedicate their time to taking care of the children cliclose to nothing-Samy, Jenny, and Micaela. Samy and Micaela also are in college (which is free in Argentina) so they are very, very busy all the time. 
We took turns touring the neighborhood in Cristian's car. Cristian and Cecilia grew up in the shanty-town on the other side of "The Wall." This wall was built to keep the poorest area from spilling into the neighborhood. Cecilia told us about her difficult childhood. She told us that she and Cristian grew up living in a cardboard box with their mother (who is the nicest woman ever) for years before moving to their current home. They come from deep poverty, so they felt the need to give back to the community by establishing this daycare center, which has helped so many. Cecilia opens her doors from 8:00am to 3:30pm, then goes to another daycare center (her paying job) until 11pm. The tour made us all realize how fortunate we are to have everything we have and how important the service we are doing is to the Jardín. 

Argentine Cuisine
After coming back from the daycare, we went to the Milhouse Hostel on Hipólito Avenue. We tasted Malbec wine and made our own empanadas. We learned about Argentine cuisine, the origins of it's famous wine industry, and the correct way of drinking mate. 

We even had an empanada making competition! We used all kind of fillings to make them: traditional ground beef, squash, and all sorts of other veggies. For dessert we had alfajores, Argentina's famous dulce de leche cookies. We ended our meal like true Argentineans with a cup of delicious mate and headed back to our rooms for a good night's sleep. 

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