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Caroline Monfort: El Trapito, Buenos Aires

Caroline Monfort: El Trapito Human Rights, Buenos Aires, Nov 2004

"Hola! Well it took me nearly a month to reply to you - I am really sorry but been busy visiting Patagonia and Chile...!!
My time in BA was fantastic. The host family was very nice and the school and especially the teacher was excellent. It was really serious stuff with homework and all and I got a pretty good report back from the teacher so I was very pleased. My Spanish is much much better and it certainly was the best thing to do, as now I can use it while travelling around South Amreica.
The volunteer placement at El Trapito was good even though I feel this would be much better for someone who has some social work experience. The good point was that the group of people were very nice so we ended up having discussions about Argentina politics or ways of life. I sometimes helped to gather information in files and once did a table on Excel and typed a letter...!!! Still, it was a very good experience as from time to time I was invited to witness a new discussion with a newcomer from the street and the person was exposing his or her problem in front of me. I was of course purely a witness but it was eye opening. All the problems in the world are in La Boca....drug abuse, women mistreated and beaten up, people without work, with illness, leaving in the street, numerous amounts of children and not enough place for the family, imprisonment...anything goes. It was certainly different from all the things I have ever known in my life.
The only thing I would say is that I wish I had been more needed as I felt more like they were doing me a favour just because of course I was not able to help as am not a social worker or a lawyer. Still, the group of people at El Trapito was very nice and made me feel welcome all the time so all in all it was a very good experience for me.
There you go, you know it all...!! Good luck with work and thank you for your help. Take care, Caroline."

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