The past week, and honestly the entire time I have been here, flew by!
Tuesday and Wednesday were class like normal. Thursday we started our Methodology class for the Human Rights Concentration which was actually fun because we all talked a bit about our internships and what we are doing. Then it was Spanish class and worked with a UBA professor for a little bit of time.
On Friday I was back at my internship, and I got a new project which was actually really awesome. I’m making lists now matching up photos with the personal data that’s in the database. It’s really sad and overwhelming being drowned in all the names in the database, all those people who were tortured and killed, and nothing else remains of them but this database. But it’s really cool to put faces to the names. On my way out I snagged this photo of one of my favorite sculptures on the site:
It says “To think is a revolutionary fact…”
On my way out I also saw one of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo coming in with flowers. It was awesome.
On Saturday I did a lot of work and then we headed back to La Fàbrica de Tacos. I had three wonderful tacos – with steak and onions – and we collectively shared two pitchers of margaritas, one lemon and one strawberry. Lots of tequila. When we went to leave, they gave us shots of margarita too!
On the way home we started celebrating Sammy’s birthday with Queso 3ds, a Kinder Egg and an ajfajor from the kiosko! Sunday I did work and slept a lot. And at midnight I showed up at Sammy’s apartment to celebrate her 21st with a bottle of wine!:
Monday I hit up my internship again and then after I bought two cheese and onion empanadas and they were so so so tasty. I was super tired so then I took a two hour nap. But then I was super productive! I took my laundry to the laundry place, went for a mile run, sent some emails and got ready to go out for Sammy’s birthday. We went to a sushi place for dinner:
I don’t really like sushi, but I suffered for the sake of Sammy’s birthday. Then we went over to Casa Bar for drinks… and made friends with the bartenders! They were super super nice and they gave us each this spicy shot for free too, that was super tasty, because it was Sammy’s birthday!
After we got back, I put candles in some Alfajores for a very Argentine end to Sammy’s birthday:
Then I got up this morning to go and try to get my package! It was insane. I spent a while waiting in a line outside the fence of the postal building, and then in another line outside the actual building. Once inside the building I waited in another line to pay and then I had to sit and wait for my number to be called. THEN I had to wait in another line for them to find my package and then I had to wait in ANOTHER line to see a customs person. In that line I made friends with this older woman who asked me if I knew what was going on. Once I had told her that I was an exchange student from the USA she laughed and said “Well they bring your packages to your house there, don’t they.” It was insanity. Finally the customs lady cut open my box, said she wasn’t supposed to let candy in, but then let me take it anyway… and I waited in one FINAL line to sign that I had received my package. It was so crazy, but so so Buenos Aires. Also I was rewarded by it’s contents, thanks Mom and Dad!:
Since it took me almost three hours, I had to go straight to my class, since we were meeting at ESMA today instead of our normal place. I ended up taking a taxi because the buses weren’t coming… and then stopped at a Starbucks quick for a Vanilla Late and this strange but very good salad with lettuce, tomato, cheese, ham, pasta and ranch! Then it was off to ESMA.
ESMA is an old boarding school where they detained people during the state terrorism. It was all absolute craziness and a super sad, overwhelming and just a very heavy situation.
It’s a really different situation here with the terrorism than in, for example Poland during Nazi German power. There the concentration camps were in the middle of nowhere, but here for example with ESMA it was a functioning boarding school and they were detaining and torturing and killing people in the building where the directors were living.
The building was just really overwhelming. We toured the basement where they tortured the people and where they would inject them with the tranquilizers before they put them in a plane and dropped them in the ocean. We also visited the third floor where they kept the detainees in wooden dog crates, hooded and shackled. It was intense. And there was no way that the people working there didn’t know because they made them walk down the stairs hooded and shackled everyday. Plus supposedly people living close could hear the screams.
There were rooms on the third floor too where they birthed the babies before the took them away from the mothers and killed the mothers, before giving the babies away.
Some people survived because they worked. We met one man who had survived at ESMA for four and a half years. He worked in the basement making false passports. Incredible story.
The other crazy thing about the building was how they tried to destroy it so survivors wouldn’t be able to recognize it. An overwhelming experience or not, it was important, because we have to remember so that things like that won’t happen again.
Here’s a photo of the building where people were detained:
It’s a great memorial park now… and I really liked this statue too:
It says “Memory, Truth, Justice.”
After the park, we headed home, I napped and did some homework! I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow to go to Mendoza for the weekend! So I’ll be sure to post about it when I get back.
Also delayed, but I got the greatest mail from APO… such great friends!!
Sarah and my parents come in three weeks, I’m so excited!!