Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I put up a post. Sorry for the delay. My test in Spanish was far from great after that first week of crash course testing however, they told me not to worry about it. I continue to practice with my family and at work they speak only Spanish which sometimes makes it very difficult. Especially when they ask me questions and I’m sure I have that dumbfounded look on my face like WHAT???? Anyway, I usually take a stab at whatever I think they might be asking and alot of the time they say no and reword the question. I typically understand the question somewhere between rounds 3 and 4 of explanation and trial and error. O boy conversation is hard sometimes. 🙂 At any rate, I’m certainly getting plenty of Spanish practice even if I am not necessarily getting alot better at it. 😉
Last week, I began working at my first placement which was at a place called Tatu Carreta. It is a zoo/park/animal conservation combination. They take animals that are turned in or reported around the general area. Not stray dogs/cats, but wild animals. For example, they have 3 Pumas approximately 6 months old now that are awaiting re-release into a safe area for them in the mountains. In addition they have one sick Puma and 1 younger Puma, each are caged separately to keep them safer. They also have a single Jaguar. There are numerous different birds. Just a few of the cooler ones are 2 separate Toucans, 3 Macaws – 2 red, 1 blue, numerous various Parrots which say Hola every day :), a version of Ostrich, Peacocks, Flamingos, 3 or 4 different variations of Pheasant which are actually very pretty, and a slew of other birds which I haven’t a clue what the name is in English. 😉 They also have Tortugas (Turtles), Monkeys, Llamas, a variant of Llama, a couple Horses, Goats, Rams, Sheep, Ducks, Geese, Chickens, Roasters, Turkeys, a few Deer, Rabbits, and the most popular are the very unique rabbit like creature, I think it would be a Jack Rabbit, but not entirely sure, here they are called Mare. There is one Boa, however it is kept in a small cage, completely separate from everything else and I’ve had a hard time getting the correct story due to translation, but I believe it has something to do with being turned in by the police and possibly being on trial???? Not really sure, guess it got itself in some trouble, however I feel bad for it. In my opinion the animals are generally well cared for except for this poor guy. O well he is hearty I suppose and I at least try to go say hi every day! 🙂 The whole place is huge and there a few parts I actually haven’t really been to. I got driven around on the drive tour, but we didn’t get out at the lagoon for example. One thing that is quite unique is it is a huge place and primarily free range. There are fences for some of the animals to be kept in safely, but many of the animals retain their wild freedom here even though it is a fenced area because it is so huge.
Each day at work I go in the morning and cut fruit for certain animals or assist a staff member named Enrique with feeding as many animals as we can. Corn, here known as Maize, is a staple for many animals even ones who typically would get something else in the USA. I’m assuming because they feed so many animals and they are also able to graze the area they have to give something that is relatively inexpensive. They also have a bird seed, a pellet similar to what we feed rabbits, and few other things I am unsure about, but we don’t use every day. I have learned my arch nemesis when it comes to cutting and preparing fruit for the animals is peeling oranges. Not sure if it’s because they are a different kind than I’m used to or I’m simply not practiced enough in the art of rapid peeling an orange, but it takes me 2 or 3 times as long to prepare the oranges than all the other fruit combined. Different animals get the fruit prepared slightly differently and in different combinations/proportions, but certainly for me the oranges are the worst. lol I’ve taken to just cutting the rinds off, although not as good for not losing some of the fruit itself it is faster for me, so I’m doing what works. 🙂 I hope to be able to get some pictures of the animals tomorrow or Friday as those are my last 2 work days there, but we will see how the weather is. It has been very rainy in the early parts of this week and that makes for a lot of mud and not good pictures.
This placement has certainly been very different from any other I’ve ever experienced before. I do enjoy the animals, however because they are wild, most don’t allow you to touch them. On rare occasions if you have food they may allow a pat in exchange for something for their tummy, but typically they are shy and run away. I am not sure how much I’ve been of “help” here, but I am thankful for a different experience and a beautiful place to work everyday. I get to see some pretty neat animals up close even though I don’t get to touch many of them. I did however get to “pet” the female Puma’s paw through the fence of course. The boys were not so amicable and therefore I left them alone. 🙂 No need to loose some fingers. 😉 It has been nice to see a different side to what goes in to taking care of a bunch of various animals. No 2 days are exactly the same, and I am thankful for the exposure, even if I haven’t really accomplished a whole lot. 😉
This Saturday is my last full day with my family here in La Falda. How crazy 3 weeks is almost gone already. I will make a special meal for them. Midday is the big meal here not night time so I will prepare homemade potato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. They were excited I asked to cook. My mom is not a big fan of cooking, so this was a chore she was gladly willing to relinquish for a day. I think it will be different enough to intrigue them, but similar enough they should enjoy. I will catch a bus sometime on Sunday back into Cordoba and meet my new family. This will be my last home-stay for my time away, so I’m interested to see who I will be spending my last 9 weeks with here in Argentina. I start my first day of Horse Therapy on Monday. They are only Spanish speakers and it will be a whole new set of vocabulary so please keep the language barrier in your prayers. I want to be effective as much as possible. I love horses and have worked with them in the past, but never in a therapy capacity, or in Spanish. 😉
I have enjoyed my time with my family here. They have taken me on a couple outings including a family excursion to a city called Miramar in the Buenos Aires region this past Monday. We went swimming at a beach and there was a lot of sun that day, very hot. The family has been very friendly, talking with me often. They learn a little English while I’m learning Spanish too! I’ve been enjoying the house pets and have made a buddy in the kitten, who is often found on my bed or at least in my bedroom if not in my lap. 😉 I play with the dog and other cat as well when I can. It is nice to be able to show affection to the animals since that wasn’t really an option in the Philippines. Well, I think that about wraps up the last week and a half. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some pictures of the animals in a few days. Will update again soon. I hope you are all doing well and enjoyed your Valentine’s celebrations! 🙂
Lastly, I want to leave with all of you a big thank you! I could not be where I am, doing what I’m doing if it weren’t for my prayer support. I know there are many of you who pray for me daily and I can’t thank you enough! I am very thankful to be able to be a tool used by the Lord. Every day is not easy, but I know it is what the Lord has called me to, so even on the days when things are a bit tough, I am reminded that Jesus is in control and He has many prayer warriors keeping me covered! Seriously, even if we don’t talk, but you are praying I am thankful for you! The Lord works in mysterious ways and one of the things that has been a reoccurring lesson for the whole trip has been to learn to be thankful in every situation. Easy, hard, or somewhere in the middle doesn’t matter. If you can look at just one thing to be thankful about rather than focusing on 100 obvious negative ones you can change your whole demeanor and make a huge impact on those around you who see you showing a much different attitude than they likely anticipated knowing your circumstances. For example, Joy is different from Happiness, primarily in this way. Happiness is a feeling that may come and go for various reasons, but Joy is a choice and it is a mindset. It is choosing to see a reason to be happy even when you don’t feel happy! On our way home from the excursion on Monday, I was tired, both literally and from being in the car for so many hours, but I saw half a rainbow! That unexpected blessing when there had been no rain to warrant a rainbow was just one of many ways God could remind me to get my Joy out of my pocket. Focus on the blessings and positives not the negatives! At any rate, I just want each of you who read this blog to know I am thankful for you! 🙂 I hope you have a blessed day and rest of your week! Hasta Luego – Until Later 😉