Making sense of the trip to Argentina
A child at home in Salta Province, Argentina, February 2020
The trip to Argentina has left me without energy and confused. It has been a very challenging experience, physically, as we travelled a lot, trying to visit as many communities as possible, talk to as many people as we could. Some of the places are very remote and getting there is not easy, as there are no paved roads. When you add very high temperatures, and long distances, it is easy to imagine why all was tiring.
Yet, I am much more tired emotionally. Argentina proves to be one of the most unequal country, I have a chance to experience. On one side, there are privileged cities with all the comforts and luxuries of the so called 'First World', and then there are countless number of communities, mostly indigenous communities, whose poverty levels seem to have crossed any level of imagination. Communities of northern Salta, more often than not, are confronted with a constant lack of development, chronic human rights crisis, which today, also translate to acute humanitarian crisis.
Thousands of people do not have enough to eat, have no access to safe water, deal with outbreaks of water borne, mosquito borne diseases, TB, have no sanitary infrastructure. The levels of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality of children and pregnant women, contamination of the environment (every imaginable part of it), lack of healthcare, extreme food insecurity (people do go hungry)… issues are exactly the same as I know them from war-torn countries, such as South Sudan, Sudan, or Congo. Yet, we are dealing with Argentina, a peaceful democracy, with vast resources and considerable wealth. We are dealing with the country, whose cities are chic and elegant, a country that seems to work.
What has gone wrong in Argentina? Why is it that so many people need to go through the unspeakable suffering?
It is difficult to accept what I witnessed. I am struggling to make sense of it all… the differences between the 'haves' and 'non-haves' (within one country) are too large to comprehend.
As I get my mind around it, I would like to share with you some of the pictures from the trip to Argentina. I also promise, I will write more about what we are trying to do, to deal with the emergency. For now, I am signing off in need of some sleep.