SIT Social Movements and Human Rights Argentina
One of my most memorable experiences in Argentina was when a classmate and I participated in a four day long homestay in a small indigenous Andean community. Our host mom, Rita, worked at the tiny local elementary school. We spent a large part of our stay in the community interacting with the kids at the school, and we helped Rita make fried empanadas for the school lunch. As it turned out, we norteamericanas weren’t too good at the intricate task of folding the dough into a tiny, perfect spiral edge around the meat filling- Rita finally sent us off to practice the art of empanada folding with some spare dough. Our resulting empanadas were never very pretty, but they were delicious! In addition to working at the school, Rita was also a community organizer, and she spearheaded the successful movement to gain legal recognition and protection for her Tastil culture. It was fascinating to hear her talk about how a common Tastil identity and purpose gradually arose from meetings around her kitchen table. On the last day of our stay, our host dad Javier took us on a long walk up into the dry, cactus-covered mountains that surround the community. When we had climbed pretty high, he lit a fire, pulled out a teapot, and brewed us some mate cocido (a very typical kind of tea in Argentina) on the side of a mountain!
SIT Social Movements and Human Rights Argentina, Fall 2011