Tuesday, May 19, 2009


A big Gracias to our host families in Clorinda. It was a quick trip for us, but in a short time they welcomed us like old friends. There was a conference and presentation in Clorinda when we first arrived, so we were joined by some important local Rotary officials. Below is the District Governor of 2008-09.Melia and Tonya's host dad, Walter, invited our group to eat a typical Argentine asado (barbeque) with the local coast guard. Here is Walter preparing the meat.
The Jefe.

Las Lomitas

The Formosa Rotary Club os 9 de Julio accompanied our team on a trip to the rarely visited town of Las Lomitas. On our way, we were stopped on the road by a protest. We had to wait for almost an hour for the road to open up again (the protesters took a 30 minute lunch break).
We visited a school that the local Rotary Club is helping support. The children performed a local dance for us.Next we drove to the stunning Bañados de los Estrellas. It was one of the most unique places we've ever been. It was a surreal landscape, like a mix between Middle Earth and Dr. Seuss.Finally, we ended the evening with dinner and dancing until 4 am with the Rotary Club of Las Lomitas. The woman with the microphone is the founder and director of the school that we visited and the following photo is the president of the Las Lomitas club..

Monday, May 18, 2009

General San Martin

Thank you Rotary Club San Martin for a wonderful visit! We had a great time dancing and visiting with the club that's proud to be the youngest in the district.
Our visit with some city officials.
There is a big Carnaval celebration in San Martin and we got to try on the costumes.

Melia and I stayed in a house by ourselves in San Martin. The owner was a single guy and he let us have full reign for the two days that we were there. When we first arrived we noticed that he had stocked the kitchen and refrigerator with bread, cheese, soda, crackers, meat, dulce de leche, etc. I was feeling hopeful that there might be more goodies (ice cream!) in the freezer so I flung open the door...
Welcome to Argentina! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Legend of Gauchito Gil Lives On

What can we even say about this man? We`d seen the shrines. We`d heard the name. We`d almost bought the yerba mate brand. But in Mercedes we finally learned the legend. Apparently Gauchito Gil is Argentina`s version of Robin Hood - a cattle rustler who robbed from the rich to take care of the poor. As the story goes the man who finally captured and killed Anotonio "Gauchito" Gil was told by Gil before his execution, "When you return to your household your son will be dying. He will not survive unless you return to the place of my execution and beg forgiveness." The man killed Gil and returned home to find that his son was indeed gravely ill. He rushed back to the beheaded body of Gauchito Gil, buried him, and begged forgiveness. When he returned home the second time his son had been healed. And thus the legend of Gauchito Gil`s miracles began. Now, built around the supposed execution and burial site of Gauchito Gil a strange and eclectic homage has been built up to honor this man.

People travel from all over the country to make promises and ask for miracles. Here you see the candles that are lit, and just a few of the thousands upon thousands of plaques honoring Gil. Each year, on January 8th, up to 150,000 people make the pilgrimage to this sacred place in honor of this beloved hero.

People bring all types of offerings to Gil, from wedding dresses to soccer jerseys, bicycles to weapons, and even cars!

But this place is not only for the giving, it is also for the receiving. Because who can leave this sacred place without a plastic souvenir statue, sticker, t-shirt... or perhaps some rosary beads?

Mercedes, thank you for sharing this legend with us!

Monday, May 11, 2009


The Rotary Club of Mercedes received us with a fun, warm welcome - waiving banners for our arrival!

We toured the "tranquilo", small city and walked through their cultural center, but the main attraction of this visit was a place called "Esteros de Ibera". This is the second most important wetland in the world. We got up close and personal with the wildlife - crocodiles, capybaras (carpinchos - the world`s largest rodent), and at least a zillion different kinds of birds.

A great shot of a crane snacking on a pirahna. Buena suerte con su almuerzo!

We also had our first glimpse of a true gaucho, the Argentine cowboy. Yee haw!

Mercedes is the only club we`ve seen that owns their own meeting space. It was adorned with rotary banners from all over the world.

We ended our visit to Mercedes on a sweet note - CRE-MO-LA-TI!! You scream, we scream, Rotary screams for ice cream!

Thank you Resistencia!!

Thank you to all our host families, Rotarians and new friends in Resistencia. You truly made our stay enjoyable!