Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I have not dropped off the face of the planet--I just went missing for a bit.

Che tanto tiempo! I know, I know—it's been too long. I'm a slacker,
a procrastinator. But really, I was just waiting—waiting for
something I felt was worthwhile to write about. While traveling in
Mexico and Cuba, I was on the move every four or five days. I was
hiking gorgeous mountains, experiencing new cultures, struggling to
maintain a healthy vegetarian diet, and getting myself into ridiculous
situations. In short, I had new blog material nearly every day. Life
didn't move quite as fast once I arrived in Buenos Aires. Apartment
hunting, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, and
negotiations with the roommates just didn't seem as exciting as
illegal travel, clandestine drag shows, and solo hikes in cloud
forests. Moreover I think I was waiting until I could write about
triumph here in Buenos Aires, but academic or professional
accomplishment was slow to come by, and I hesitated to publicize my
nightclub romps and romantic trials for my all to see. Much has
happened, however, in between dancing wildly until 7 in the morning,
long runs, lots of experimental cooking, and springtime reading in the
park. And so I will try to start catching you up to speed.

I sleep on a pullout couch. It's a futon, actually. It's in the
living room. But it's cheap and in a beautiful neighborhood. Enough
said. (I found out today that the owner of the apartment is the son
of a one-time Argentine general who served under the dictator and
directed the Malvina's (Falkand Island) War. After the dictatorship
fell he struck a consolatory note and said that nobody in the army who
violated human rights could claim innocence under the hierarchy or
chain of command, because nobody should have carried out orders they
deemed immoral and unjust. For this rarely seen public apologetic
tone he was awarded an ambassadorship. Yes, I do feel a bit dirty).

I recently started working with an organization called the Buenos
Aires AIDS Foundation (I say working with rather than working for
because they can't pay me). It's a great organization that does a lot
of amazing work in HIV prevention, treatment access, civil rights for
people living with HIV/AIDS, sex education for vulnerable youth, and
sex worker outreach. Right now I'm helping doing development work
(i.e. looking for money from the global north). It's challenging and
slow-moving. In this economy few organization are looking to grant to
new organizations and it's further complicated by the fact that
Argentina is an upper-middle income country and not considered a
high-priority by any international donors despite high rates of
poverty and soaring rates of HIV in marginalized communities. But I'm
happy. I enjoy the people who I'm working with, and I'm continuing to
learn and develop skills.

Rather than write a long entry, I'm going to keep this short with
hopes of writing more frequently.

Much love and many kisses,