La primera semana!

So I just finished up my first week in Córdoba and a lot has happened so far!   I had a wonderful first weekend meeting other students on my program and getting a little taste of Argentina's nightlife.  I'm hoping to plan several trips for the upcoming weekends, hopefully for some horseback riding, skiing, wine tasting, and paragliding!  The other students are from all different corners of the globe and it has been so much fun to share the similarities and differences between our languages and cultures.  So far I have met others from Germany, Holland, France, Scotland, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and all over the U.S.

I also am so fortunate to be here during the World Cup--  It is amazing to see how passionate everyone is here about Argentina's team.  Both of the games I have watched here have ended in victory for Argentina and therefore joyous, cheering chaos.  Hereis a photo a friend snapped after one of the games:

Absolutely loco!

I also had an orientation and began work for my program, which was a little overwhelming though exciting.  My program partners with several NGOs and nonprofits in different areas of human rights, so every student has the opportunity to explore various  issues in the field.  My specific placement is at Soaje, "a residential care facility for girls aged between 13 and 17 years of age, whose parents have been deemed by the Court as unfit or incapable of caring for them. The girls may have been living at Soaje for anything between a few days or a few years. The girls live at Soaje until they turn 18 years old, are moved to another facility, or are reunited with their parents/family (a decision of the courts). "
My job at Soaje is to develop a series of workshops for the girls that focus on their rights, self-esteem, and sexual education in order to facilitate their integration into the outside world.  The sexual education focus is part of a larger HIV-awareness campaign that my program hopes to develop not only at Soaje, but at similar organizations as well.   As a result of its deep-rooted Catholic traditions and lack of resources, sexual education is seriously lacking in Argentina. This leaves a large number of the population unaware of the dangers of unprotected sex and unaware that they may have HIV, a potentially deadly virus that is treatable if caught early.  

Though this is my main project, I also will be preparing a workshop engineered for highschoolers attending a two week program to Argentina.  The workshop will introduce them to the general concepts, history, and practice of human rights.  I will also be attending court sessions, performing academic research, offering translations, and transcribing meetings for the human rights office.

The schedule is pretty packed, so I hope I can handle it! I'm excited to start planning my projects and to meet more students on my program this weekend.



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