Friday, April 10, 2009

Meeting he Team from Argentinat

It has been a real pleasure meeting the GSE team from Argentina. I was at The Woodlands Rotary luncheon and took photos that are part of my blog posting.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Descanso...March 24

We have been to several cities since Tandil: Sierras Bajas, Olavarria, and now Bolivar. Although these are our resting days, I have enjoyed this city very much. The families we are staying with in Bolivar are great. Melissa and I are staying with Miguel, Alba and their daughter Paola. The family lives above their jewelry shop that they own. Miguel repairs jewelry, Paola designs bracelets, and Alba directs the sales. While in Bolivar, we saw a rugby game- very popular here. We also went to an amazing volleyball facility that was built not only for the local team (that is very good I might add) but for all members of the city to use. The facility was impressive: an on-site hotel, swimming pool, sand volleyball court, weight room, locker room and 2 courts. The local team was playing in another city when we arrived, so we did not get to meet them. The locals really enjoy the game, though, considering volleyball is not as popular a sport in Argentina as futbol (soccer). I think the quality time with our families is improving as we become more familiar with the language. We eat every meal together with our families at the table; and every meal lasts several hours. Not 30 minutes. And guess what else…no cell phones, texting. Just wholesome conversation, good laughs, “ching, ching” (it’s what we call having the toast here), and excellent food! Our last night in Bolivar, all of our group and our host families went out to a pizza place. The pizza was the biggest I have ever seen. It was muy delicioso!


In America, the standard procedure for greeting someone is a brief handshake accompanied by fleeting eye contact. Sometimes, if we are greeting someone close to us or someone we have not seen in a while, we brave the uncomfortable territory of close proximity and actually move in for a hug. Usually this is a measly side hug or perhaps a short full frontal hug, but it is rare to experience an enveloping, consuming bear hug from another American. We are terrified of affection. We even have a derogatory term for it. PDA. A public display of affection is a formidable offense. Appalling. Disgusting. “Get a room!” we shout.

In Argentina, these words are never uttered. (Or perhaps I just couldn’t understand them since they were in Spanish!)

The standard greeting in Argentina is a simultaneous hug and kiss on the cheek. That’s right, besos! And gender does not change this. Men kiss men. Women kiss women. Besos a todos (kisses to all)! Furthermore, they carry out this greeting every time they say hello or goodbye to ANYONE! When they get home from work, every member of the family is greeted this way. When they meet up with friends, every amigo is greeted this way. When they walk into a panaderia (bakery), the store clerks are greeted this way!

Furthermore, it is a common sight to see two people embracing. Men put their arms around other men. Teenage children embrace their mothers. Lovers swap spit. On the street, at the dinner table, on a park bench. Wherever.

And no one gawks or looks disgusted.

Argentines are just very affectionate and loving people. They realize that love should be expressed in a tangible way. Not just in flowery words scribbled inside a flimsy and overpriced Hallmark card, but in a true physical manner. Besos a todos!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Catty-whompus March 18

We stayed in Tandil after leaving the ranch in Maria Ignacia. I am staying with a host family- Osmar, Monica and their daughter, Dama. Very, very nice family. Dama can speak English, and she is just wonderful. We went to a city- Rauche- the next day. Visited with teachers from Rauche at an art museum. We discussed many similiarities and differences in our school systems. Melissa and I tried to explain the TAKS test to them. I found it interesting that one teacher told me she had read the book, “Freedom Writers”…I show that movie in my class during the semester to show that although we are all different, we still have many things in common. Went to see a recycling plant, a science lab, and a nursing home after lunch.
The next 3 days we stayed in Tandil. Melissa and I went horseback riding with Dama and a member of her church, Gabriel, in the evening. It was beautiful. You could see every star in the sky. My horse’s name was CiCi. Who would have thunk it?! The whole ride was so peaceful and amazing. Afterwards we sat around a toasty fire and listened to Gabriel sing and play guitar. He did wonderful! It seemed so surreal just relaxing and listening to the soothing music.
Melissa and I went to visit a private school in town. This school was so nice. 200 students in all grade levels 1st through 12th. The students study English everyday. We got to visit with the students and answer questions that they had for us. Learning that teachers here in Argentina work 2 or 3 other jobs to make enough money to live has probably been the most influential aspect of this trip for me so far.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Work to Live!"

In Argentina a job is a job. It is a place you go for the sole purpose of providing for your family. That is not to say that people do not take pride in their work or that they are not passionate about their work, because, indeed, they are. But what is different about the people of Argentina is that their jobs do not consume their lives. Although they may consume a lot of their time, Argentines refuse to let their work incapacitate them.

Instead, they pour their passion into their relationships. Their families and friends are of utmost importance. They value long conversations over three course meals or witty banter over a cup of mate, the official drink of Argentina. A lot of time is spent (not wasted) communicating with friends and family.

For example, for lunch most people (both adults and school age children) leave their jobs or schools and go home to a house with a table large enough for the entire family. And they actually eat at it! Hard to believe, I know, but the entire family sits at the same table without iPods, cell phones, or television, and they consume a hearty meal accompanied by face to face conversation! And they do this todo los dias. Every day. A meal. At a table. Preposterous, I know.

Furthermore, many families even have a special room or house just for these family gatherings. It is called a “quincho” and contains a built in grill on which to cook “asado” or barbeque. The quincho is used for the bigger family gatherings that most families hold on Sundays where they barbeque and eat several courses of meat and some kind of dessert. These gatherings usually last all day with no one cutting out early to get tasks completed before the work week begins.

Mate, the herbal drink unique to Argentina, is another example of how the people here cherish their relationships. Mate is a social drink; it is meant to be shared. The mate mug is filled with several scoops of “yerba mate” and hot water, and then is passed around a circle of friends, each person sipping from the same metal straw. It is a tea-like beverage with a stronger, more herbal flavor. Argentines consume mate quite frequently, some every day or multiple times a day. It is an obsession similar to that of the Starbuck’s phenomenon. Except it is less fattening and much more fun since it is shared with friends!

These are just a few examples of how the value of relationships is carried out in their everyday lives; however, there are countless more. Immediately upon observation, it is clear that the Argentines believe that time spent with family and friends is most precious. In fact, I have heard more than one Argentine refute the statement “time is money” when it was suggested by an American. Unlike Americans who view socializing in the workplace or leaving work early to go home to their families as a waste of time or a missed opportunity to earn that cash, Argentines believe time is valuable, but not in a monetary sense. Time should be spent in the best and most enjoyable way possible, a philosophy we could all benefit from adopting.

Me encanta Argentina!

Argentina is a country far too complex and great to be summed up in a silly little blog written by the likes of me. However, I will try. Because what I have learned from this country deserves to be shared.

Overall, I find Argentina to be a living paradox. The country’s economic situation seems to be worse than that of the U.S. People work long hours at multiple jobs to provide for their families. Workers go on strikes frequently. (We have witnessed numerous strikes and protests since we have been here).The government and legal system is somewhat corrupt. However, despite this, the attitudes of the people remain blissfully optimistic. And it is not due to ignorance as the old adage “ignorance is bliss” suggests, and as it is in America. Optimism is simply their mentality. I have a few theories as to why the Argentines are the way they are, but the lifestyle of the Argentines is so complex that I have chosen to break up my observations into smaller topics. It may take me awhile to complete these because I am still analyzing the country and the people as we continue our travels. Please remember that these are simply my humble observations and analyses, and they cannot act as a generalization for all the people of Argentina, nor should they be taken too seriously since my time here in Argentina is short, and I am not one to be taken seriously anyway!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

La Realidad

I think I got it. This might be the real thing. Tandil, Argentina. Not well known from outside the USA. Better that way. The day began with me going to the main university here in Tandil (UNICEN) only knowing that I would be meeting with a professor from the International Relations department. Fernando took me to meet some of his grad students who work with him at the Centro de Estudios Interdisciplinarios en Problemas Internationales y Locales. This quickly turned into a international discourse of politics, sociology, government, development and other international topics. It became quickly became clear to me that these were some brilliant minds at work. There we were drinking mate, and dicussing latin american politics. Well I didnt think it could get any better until Sr. Fernando, invited me to the local futbol match for that evening. Santa Marina vs. CiPolleti. Ive been to Brazilian matches before, as well as Spanish futbol matches. But this match, was something different. Watching the 3000 people cheer thier team on, Fernando later told me that "futbol here in latin america is about passion. The team has it. The crowd has it. They may not be the best team in the world, but their passion makes them the best team for thier supporters, and thats what matters" Passion. The smoke, the cursing, the yelling, the protesting when they ran out of chorizo, the continous singing. Wow. The fouls were harsh, the crowd's words were harsher. Even though the match was a tie, the energy never ended.

Afterwards I was taken to a place I will never forget. It was if I had stepped into the the inner sanctum of one type of argentine life. La Realidad, is a loft style restaraunt whose owners had remodeld to make it thier own. A unique menu, bossa nova in the back ground, and eclectic(yes jodie i used it) art work makes this place feel like you are somewhere unlike anywere else. The conversation we had was amazing. The food was incredible. A chicken rissotto, with a side of bread was all i needed to go with the 3 bottles of wine. The conversation went well into the morning with all being satisfied. My thrist was satisifed. I was told that the place had just opened in December, and that the owners had only recently returned after cooking in some hotels in europe. I was thrilled to finally feel like I was getting a taste of how some argentinans live. Places like these are not a dime a dozen. They do not grow on street corners, they are not the pocket tourism that so many people believe is worth something. En La Realidad I felt at home. The food, the company, the music, and the ambiance was a bit of Argentina that I could at that moment call my own.

After such a great evening, how could it get any better right? Well today I had a little bit more. After a long morning of museos, meetings, and more, I was able to get some time alone amongst the town center in Tandil. Looking far and wide for postcards but to no avail, I finally came upon a few bookstores which I furiously began scouring, for good reads. Happening upon a couple books(not to be mentioned because they are gifts to Significant Other) I needed a place to read, have a cafe, and wait for a call. Perhaps by chance or perhaps not. I found myself on the same street as La Realidad. Going upstairs I met with the cook/owner and a local artist who decorates the place. I proceeded to take photos, and will be sharing this blog with you sir Tuculet. If anyone reads this and has the opportunity to vist Sarmiento 743. I highly reccomend you do so. Moving on; I went to a little courtyard that caught my eye, and there began drinking my cafe con leche, reading a few books, and people watched as time went on. The people in the little courtyard were local vendors, who drank mate and smoke Camels while they waited for customers. They knew everyone who walked by, and anyone who walked in. Just to able to sit there and perhaps blend in a little was comforting. The anonomity was most welcome.
En fin, what can I say but I will miss Tandil. The people, the food, the local pleasantries. Its ironic that I must return to reality, after having such an amazing experience en La Realidad.

For more pictures of La Realidad and others that accompany this travel blog.. click here

Friday, March 20, 2009

Real Talk- March 17, 2009

Our next move was 3 cities over a 5 day period. Maria Ignacia was our first stop. Population about 500. This city was very unique for me and one of my greatest memories so far. We only stayed for the day, and the people were so very welcoming. We went to a school where we were able to interact with the students inside the classroom. This was the first time we had been able to actually see high school students and get to communicate with them. The students reminded me so much of my students back home. They like when visitors come- I think it gives them a sense of importance (which they deserve). That afternoon we had some very delicious asado (barbeque) and met with other rotarians from the city. Laughed a lot and just enjoyed the company of the people. Even though I cannot understand the language, I do my best. The use of body language has gotten me through many conversations (not to mention Raul and Adriana helping ALL THE TIME). After lunch, we went out to a ranch, which took us about 45 minutes of driving offroad to get to it…I was not expecting what I saw. This ranch was hugemongous. Let me put it this way- this ranch had 3 stories, its own church, 3 separate chapels, 3 tennis courts, a large swimming pool, 3 ponds, access to a lake (which had another home and a boat), and hundreds of acres of just hills and trees surrounding the estate. Net worth: $20,000,000 and in Argentina. It was far better than any house I have seen on the MTV show, Cribs. I sat on a stair column just staring out into the open land trying to take in everything I was seeing. It was one of the most beautiful sites I have ever witnessed.

Movin’ on up…March 15, 2009

After leaving Mar del Plata, we travelled to a city called Balcarce- land of the potatoes. We only spent 2 days there, but the friendship and warm welcome was all the same. We went to a museum in the city dedicated to a famous formula 1 race car driver- Juan Manuel Fangio. If you are into NASCAR or car racing, I bet you know who he is. I had no clue, but I learned that he is very admirable and a hero here. We also went to the mountain side of the city to visit the great outdoors. We saw a beautiful lake, sierras, peace and quiet. No traffic, no rushing, no noise. It was absolutely fantastic. I keep thinking this is a dream because I never expected anything like this on the trip. I am loving this country more and more by the day.

I Will Survive- March 12, 2009

Hi everyone- this is my first post for our trip. Destination….Mar del Plata. I am not sure where to even begin explaining my experiences here. Well, I was really overwhelmed when I stepped off the bus and was greeted by about 12 people hugging and kissing me, speaking to me in Spanish; and I didn’t even know them. Everyone referred to me as “the one who plays volleyball” and “yes, yes” (aka CiCi in Spanish). My first thought was, “Oh my gosh…what did I get myself into?” That’s exactly what was running through my mind. A little nervous and scared.

Within the next few days I felt like I was right at home. The people here in this city are more than welcoming and kind- they are something that I want to model and be a part of. For example, every time we greet one another here in Argentina, both people give each other hugs and kiss one another on the cheek- guys with other guys, old and young. The best part is that no one is weirded out about it. It is just a form of greeting. The fellowship is amazing (not to mention that the food is too!). We eat dinner starting between 10-11. Dinner consists of an appetizer that is always enough for a meal. Then about 3 helpings of the actual meal. Then dessert, then more dessert. After visiting for about another hour, dinner ends. Then we usually go to bed between 4-6 am (after experiencing the nightlife). One night we went to a karaoke bar and sung “I Will Survive” in English. It wasn’t pretty, but we gave it our all!
We have seen the important industries that provide many people with careers. We visited all occupations relating to the fishing industry including rope factories, tuna and anchovie canning companies, and ship yard workers. We even got to spend a professional day with a person who is in the same career as us. I went to visit one of the local private schools, and I got to talk to a young man who plays on the Argentina National Volleyball Team here. His name is Juan. The school system is very different than in the United States, but Juan and I had very much in common. It was an amazing feeling to be able to express my passion for something and share it with another person (who I didn’t even know). So far, I could not have asked for a better experience and I hope that the rest of this trip continues to make me feel this way.


March 20, Olavarrias, AR.

Writing from the hotel lobby, waiting for a ride to lunch with the team.

Spent the morning at the "Poder Judicial" (courthouse), visiting with two judges and about five lawyers. They find the US system very strange. We have juries (at times), they do not. Our judges in towns of this size are not specialized according to the type of case (civil, commercial, family, criminal) as they are here. We make widespread use of mediation in civil and family cases. They have it only in Buenos Aires, where it is "mandatory." They have continuous involvement by court officials in the progress of a case. There is no such thing as pre-trial discovery outside court supervision. The witnesses appear before court officials and give their testimony, which is summarized by court officials, transcribed into documents for the court file. This is studied by court lawyers who recommend a disposition of the case, which is ultimately decided by t he trial judge. Very seldom is there live testimony before a judge in what we would call a trial.

There are very long delays in the disposition of civil cases. Much longer than in the US. Civil cases drag on for years, 4-10 years is not uncommon, according to the lawyers. It appears to be the same in criminal. (In another city I witnessed the trial of a young man who had committed robbery of some soccer shoes from the owner, including some violent beating. The offense was committed May 5, 2006, almost 3 years ago! The penalty would be handed down within 3 days by the "jusgado" or trial judge. In more serious cases the trial would be before a 3-judge "tribunal.")

There is much dissatisfaction with the justice system, especially in criminal matters. The people express disdain for the police and the courts. I think this would be improved if the judges spoke publicly about their work more often. There is a tradition here that judges do not discuss court procedures publicly, for fear (they say) that the judges will become "contaminated" or influenced by the public. The result is that the people only know about the work of their courts through the newspapers and other media. As usual, there are no stories about hard-working public offials; only inflammatory reports of seemingly outrageous court decisions.

Going now to lunch with the team and club members.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Argentine Way of Things

There alot of things that can be said for Argentina butI dont have the time or patience though to write them all down. It wouldnt do it justice. But hopefully these pictures do bring to mind some thoughts.

Argentina from what I have seen so far is a land of complex feelings and diverse mentalities. Nothing is black and white here. The political ideals change depending on where and with whom you talk to, as it would in any country. While visiting Mar de Plata I found many people in favor of the current president Kirchner. In the country, most were very opposed to her due to her harsh anti-agrarian policies. But aside from the politics of it all, Argentina is interesting because of its people and the cultural mindset they have. It is one of tranquility. It is one of familiar surroundings and family gatherings.
It is one of contemplation of the next meal and the next time they will have yerba mate with a friend. True for many there are challenges that arise, and we have seen that the problems the people face vary in intensity depending on where they live and what they do. But what I have observed so far is that for the most part the people here are welcoming, warm and always looking to feed you lots and lots of meat.

This is one of my favorite pics on this trip so far, (well this and the one of CiCi drooling on herself in the car as she sleeps,...just kidding CiCi). This man stood ourside his little cabin and just stared out onto the lake for about an hour. Why was he there? What was he doing alone? What was he thinking? Impossible to tell, but I....was...envious. Americans are so rushed! Not only do we not stop to smell the roses, but our problem is we want to try and figure out how much we can earn from cutting them and selling them.
Not so in Argentina.


In the morning we were whisked off to a lovely neighborhood where we met Martiniano who opened his arms and home to us. We saw the first Quincho which is a special room that has a built in¨Bar-B-Que grill¨, kitchen and space for tables. In this case it was his garage. We had our first homemade empanadas, which were to die for. Then came the asado ¨BBQ¨: Argentine sausage, beef on bone, beef without bone and then as the guests we were offered a grilled small intestine. Martiniano was kind enough to offer his home for us to practice our presentation. We went for shopping for essentials hair straightener a computer cord with the correct plug. We were whisked off to dinner with the lovely Maria. We went to ¨Studio Cafe¨ that looked like a Hardrock Cafe with a live band playing Argentine songs with the crowd singing along. It was Karoake night and as typical americans we decided to grace the crowd with ¨I will survive, by Gloria Gaynor.¨ It was a huge success. We went to a local cafe and had our first Argentine coffee ¨cortado¨ half coffee and half milk.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mar de Plata

It seems that we carried some rain clouds with us because it rained Saturday morning. We saw the coast and the sea lions. We went to the pier where the Italian fisherman were preparing their nets for departure. The fish market has fresh seafood from fish to squid. I was able to finaly make contact with my family and inform them of my arrival. After a long morning of touring the city in raining weather the sun came out and we had lunch in a lovely resturant where we had our taste of calimari, fresh fish, batata and dulce de leche (which is something they put on all their desserts). I went to the enchanted Sierra de los Padres with its wonderful seanery and tasted Argentina´s version of orange juice, which is hand squeezed fresh oranges. I went to the local hardware store where I discovered that the two head skeleton key was the most common house key. We were invited to a masque party that the Italian embassy held. We danced and were surprised to hear YMC and some 80´s music. We than went to Mar de Plata´s version of 6th Street where we witnessed the night life which did not end until 5 am. It seems that people like to start the night at 2am and end at 7am. The next day I visted a local university which had metal bars on all the doors for security reasons. The scientist were packed in a very small building however, I witnessed the great friendship that each colleague had with one another. They worked as a family, with each other taking care of each others needs. TEAMWORK is family.

Some pictures from our first city, Mar de Plata

After our first presentation

Our first meal hosted by one of the Rotary clubs in Mar De Plata

Yes those are sea lions...

And of course the coastline...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Arriving at Mar de Plata

As we made our way through Mar de Plata I notice all the beautiful people. The streets were narrow and crowded. When we came to our final destination and disembarked the bus I noticed that the all the passengers had a huge group of what appeared to be family and friends. We became a little sad but where quickly happy to realize that we also had our own group of friendly faces. We quickly greeted each other and were divided into our new homes. Analia was my hostess who lived in an apartment downtown. We had enough time to refresh and change. We arrived at an "asado" which was a Bar-B-Que. The meat was melting off the bones we had a mild sausage and a "morcillo" or blood sausage. Since we were so tired from the travel we slept around 1:00 am.

Argentina here we come...............

I apologize in advance that I am new at this and I do not know how to post pictures. We started our trip late Thursday evening at 9:00 pm as we were packed into a plane. During the flight some of us slept and some of us did not. It was not a comfortable ride but the final destination was worth it. We landed in Buenos Aires at 11:30 am and I quickly realized that I was not in Texas. We waited in line for immigration and walked through a store then a hallway and to the luggage carousel. After several rotations our luggage was all collect were we preceded through customs and purchased a bus ticket to Mar de Plata. The ticket was for 12:50 pm so we were quickly rushed to make the bus and left at 1 pm. The view was amazing and as the drive proceeds the landscape became breath taking. IT WAS GREEN! The bus made one stop were we made contact with a fellow Rotarian and arrived at Mar de Plat at 8:00 pm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Two Days Before Departure

Having been in the team’s situation nine years ago, I remember well what each team member is experiencing as the days, and soon just hours, count down. I recommend that each of you pause, take a deep breath, being conscience of your breathing for about 60 seconds.  This will help relieve some of the tension.  Keep this in mind and do it every now and then. 


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our Rotary GSE team

The photo at top right on this blog site shows our 2009 GSE Team from Rotary District 5910. From left to right: Raul Avalos, Melissa Martin, John Delaney, Adriana Mendoza, and Cici Anderson.

We feel honored to be the representatives from our Rotary district who'll travel to Argentina's Rotary District 4920 this Spring. We'll spend a month traveling throughout that region of Argentina (south of Buenos Aires), visiting Rotary Clubs, giving our slide presentation, seeing the sights, and especially staying in host family homes.

Here's a short history. The District's GSE Committee selected me for Team Leader on September 6, 2008. With me added to the committee, it proceeded to select the rest of the team on October 18. Once the team formed, we started preparations immediately. In addition to on-line work, getting passports, insurance, and other documents, and doing as much language study as time allowed, we've met for day-long training sessions on November 15, December 13, January 24, and January 31. Our last scheduled session (we think) is February 22.

Past team leaders from our district, headed by Kenne Turner (5910's Team Leader to Brazil), gave generously of their time to prepare us for this "trip of a lifetime." Kenne has been a tireless mentor, meeting with us during every training session, taking great photos for our various needs, and generally guiding us through the preparation. Dr. Susan Andrew, Team Leader to France in 2008, has been a marvelous help in so many areas, especially with our Powerpoint presentation. Prof. Jack Skaggs, Team Leader to England, gave us a helpful lecture on the history of Rotary and its ongoing work. Judge Don Taylor, Team Leader to Canada, gave us valuable training about how and what to pack.

But the training wasn't limited to our own district. We've benefited a lot from the information and tips given by the team from District 6990 in southeast Florida, headed by Team Leader Joe Roth, that traveled to the same District 4920 in Argentina in the Spring of 2008. We will follow the same tracks they laid down Our thanks to Joe and his team for that invaluable help. We hope to "pay it forward" by helping future teams.

To say we're excited about this adventure would be an understatement. That spirit of excitement and anticipation has helped us overcome the challenges of preparation.

Dividing up the tasks, we've planned and purchased our blazers and other uniform clothing. We've designed and bought badges, thank you notes, business cards, team brochures, and business cards. We've found photos to include in our slide presentation, which is nearly done, and we're hastily gathering up gifts for club presidents and host families. We're writing our individual presentation scripts, hoping to do a credible job delivering them in Argentine Spanish. We're working on what to do about cell phone communications to and from the US, and a host of other details. We're about five weeks away from leaving!

Meanwhile, we get frequent e-mail and photos from Argentina, courtesy of Maria Pardo, Team Leader of the group coming to Texas from District 4920 after we return to Texas, and Ana Spivak, with District 4920's GSE Committee. Argentine team's stay in Texas is being coordinated by our in-bound district chair, Mary Matteson. I look forward to hosting Maria in my home when her team travels to Bryan/College Station in April.

No more time for this today. Have other GSE work to do. Then a golf game and Superbowl this afternoon!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Are Linked

Incidentally, great blog site! I have placed a link on my blog


It's A Pleasure!

It has been a pleasure working with this GSE team as they prepare to leave for Argentina, March 6th. I look forward to their posting, both words and photos.


Meeting 1/31/09

The team met today for our fourth meeting. We mainly worked on our presentation that we will be giving at Rotary meetings in Argentina. The presentation consists of photographs of each team member's family, home life, and work place, as well as pictures and information about the region of Texas that District 5910 entails, the southeast region of Texas. We also were able to attend a portion of the District 5910 Rotary Mid-year Assembly that took place today on the campus of Lonestar College where we hold our meetings. At the assembly we introduced ourselves to the group and met and mingled with Rotarians. We listened to a presentation given by Andy Smallwood that helped the team members gain a greater understanding of what Rotary is all about- helping others by spreading peace and goodwill. We found a renewed sense of purpose through his words and are even more excited to be embarking on this adventure!