Find a Wife by Sending Team

Having created over half a dozen websites throughout the year, I have always tried to present them in a very formal and yet accessible way. Each site is carefully written, normally in Spanish first and then translated to English, and much care goes into what is said and the way that it is said.

wedding

All of this just emphasises even more just how great an error it was that I had made only recently which continued undiscovered until today. You see, it all started when I was building a website during my last week in Argentina for a YWAM base there.

During the early part of the week, as I was writing the basic pages of the website, it seemed ok to have a little fun with some of the content. The base here consists mainly of women, and most of them are single at that. None are very young. So while writing about how the base accommodates foreign teams, I ignored the niggling feeling that perhaps I would forget to edit out this bit and continued writing. What I wrote, roughly translated was:

“If you would like a wife, then we recommend that you only send male teams here. Ages from 25 up please, because we are not looking for those who are too young… Be aware that we have already had significant success using this method.”

This was found amongst other paragraphs of serious content explaining how teams could get to the base, what the base would do for each team, and more. It looked like it belonged there.

It ended up on the live website. For two weeks.

Wedding invited

I received no emails about it so hopefully nobody noticed. As soon as I realised it was removed from the site, but by this time Google and other search engines would have already sucked down the site.

So now I’m wondering how many people who are searching for “find a wife in buenos aires” are being sent to the YWAM base’s new website?

Doh!

For being professional, I certainly let my guard down that time. No more games or attempts at being funny on other people’s websites for me… or at least no more rushes to get websites up before long flights.

Now, talking about a wife…

A Week in Buenos Aires

Before leaving Argentina I headed to Buenos Aires for a week. There was still one YWAM base in Argentina that did not have a website yet. My goal was to give them one by the end of the week. It worked.

Through a lot of hard work and some very late nights, it was possible to piece together a website for YWAM Capital Base by the end of the week. This was not without its problems, but with a lot of work and the effortless work of Silvana by my side, we finally did it (now replaced by a newer version done by another).

Working on the website with Silvana

More after the jump…

Continue reading “A Week in Buenos Aires”

Movies and Music

I have just finished watching a movie where the guy gets the girl amidst formidable odds and everybody lives happily ever after.

It was a great movie, but inevitably, at the end of the film we must return to reality. I do not know about you, but my reality is normally far from what I have just seen and experienced on that big screen. To compare myself with the (contrived) reality that is in the movie, there is little in common. The beauty, the excitement, the lifestyle, all so very different. Then there is that amazing ability to skip through all of the boring parts of life and only live the interesting bits.

movies

Something that struck me recently is how the lives of the actors are always immersed in music. Music for when they are sad. Music for when they are happy. Music for when they are in love. Even for when they are scared. It was this that got me thinking about music, mp3 players, and the pervasiveness of music.

Everywhere I go people have music plugged into their ears. Huge ear muffs to tiny earbuds, from the car to the train station, while working or playing, studying or sleeping, even during conversations. Music has pervaded our society in every area. Piped music, personal music, radio stations, mtv, concerts. Music is everywhere these days.

This is where I started to see it. Is it any wonder, if we have all been feeding on these movies now for years, where there is music that suits every situation that the actor goes through, that there would be an increased number of people wandering around the streets with headphones stuck on or in their ears? Walking about while listening to music creates a feeling of energy, of motivation, of everything turning out well in the end. It creates your own movie where you are the main actor.

Heading South to Ushuaia

Every time that I enter Argentina my passport is stamped with a stamp that gives me 3 months to live in the country and move around freely. At the end of this time I may renew my visa by leaving the country and returning again, even on the same day, or I may also extend my visa for another three months at a local immigration office which would make it a total of 6 months before having to leave the country.

This three months has now come and gone and I am still in the country. That makes me illegal. Gulp!

Due to a cash crisis I was unable to sort out my visa while in Bariloche, and with a trip with Jorge planed for Chile within a week it seemed the best way to renew the visa. That trip was then postponed, and later cancelled when Jorge was involved in a car crash with his wife Isa (they escaped unharmed although the car was totalled). I was then going to go alone, but this also has been delayed due to the purchase of land for our base (in the Doradillo Urbanisation) and other unforseen circumstances.

With my visa in this over-stay situation, I must leave the country as soon as possible to renew it and return my status to that of being legal. For overstaying my visa there will be a fine charged when I pass through the border (some say $50 pesos, others $100), but from that point on there will be no other negative consequences (according to a chat with an immigration officer last year). All the same, my desire is to always ensure that I remain legal within the country, so it will be a relief to finally sort this all out.

Living in Puerto Madryn we are a long way from all of the borders of Argentina. Bariloche (16 hrs in bus) to the west is one option, Uruguay via Buenos Aires to the north is another (18 hrs in bus and 4 hrs in boat). But as we had already planned a trip south, it seemed more appropriate to head that way.

So tomorrow I am heading to Ushuaia (16hrs to Rio Gallegos and then another 12 hrs to Ushuaia via several border crossings). While there I will be able to meet up with some friends and to finally get to know this part of Argentina. Ushuaia has been a place for which I have felt a strong desire to get to know for the last two years. The time that I will be there and what I will get up to while there are still very open questions.

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, the tip of the American continent, and home to some dear friends of mine.

So I am leaving… for a while.

Falling from the Sky

Getting the News
It was early in the morning when I awoke to Nahuel climbing back into his bed. I figured that he had just gone to the toilet and was now returning, until I noticed a light still burning downstairs. Then there were noises, and voices, it was very unusual for this time of morning… what time of morning was it anyway? What was all of this noise and action at this time of morning?

I reached over for my mobile phone, the only clock available to me near the bed. In flipping it open I discovered that it was 5am in the morning.

Nahuel spoke, “The bed fell on Vivi.”
I was still trying to take it all in, “The what?” I asked.

Leandro also mumbled something. It appeared that everyone had woken up. I tried again, “What happened?”

Nahuel explained that Kelsey had fallen from the top bunk onto Viviana who was on the bottom bunk, but everybody was fine now.

“Oh,” I thought, “doesn’t sound too serious.”

It was not until breakfast that I would discover the true extent of this simple statement. For now, I tried to sleep.


Kelsey on the guilty bed, now fixed

Continue reading “Falling from the Sky”

Building Rooms, Creating a Home

Our home, affectionately known as "The Base"

Our home, affectionately known as “The Base”

We live here in a rented house. In the beginning the house was at the lockup stage only, meaning that there was nothing more than the walls, roof, and windows, with a concrete floor. Over our time here we have added lights and power points, tiles on the floor, and shelving and curtains. The place is now sufficiently finished to be able to call it a home.

Niko laying the tiles down over our concrete floor.
Laying tiles on the floor

All the same, this home only has one bedroom and a large living area. There is also another room build over part of the house. This room is accessed by a narrow spiral staircase and always seems to be cold, however it is a large room and we are using it as a bedroom for the guys.

The stairs that head up to the "boy's Room"
The stairs that head up to the “boy’s Room”

Now that the cold has really set in, with the moisture that gathers on the windows freezing overnight, it was time to move the students into our home too. But there was just no room for them, so we divided the main living room, taking up one full corner. The wood, obtained through a friend of a friend, took over a month to arrive, and I was then able to build the room shortly afterward.

Looking at the new room from the outside.
Looking at the new room from the outside

Upstairs, we have also built a dividing wall to enable the use of one part as an office. Both constructions have been created to be temporary so that we can remove them when it is time for us to go. Discussions with the owners reveal that they are not willing to sell the house and so all work that we do here must be with a view to leaving somewhere down the track.

The division in the upstairs room to create an office space
The division in the upstairs room to create an office space

Until recently we were walking between homes 7 blocks apart (700mts), as the girls were living in rented rooms belonging to friends of ours. Now, thanks to having our new room, we can all squeeze into our one little home, the place that we call our “base”, and are all much warmer and happier for it too.

Showing the roof that they have too, to make it warmer and give space above to store things.
Kelsey in the new room

The new office space upstairs
The new office space upstairs

The house before we built the room
The house before we built the room

Looking into the bedroom upstairs before the partition was built
Upstairs before the wall

Home Again Gone Again

Well, after 3 days of non-stop travel on buses I make it back to my home in Puerto Madryn. The first day I end up sleeping almost right through from 2pm onward to the next day, although I did get up to eat a quick something during the night. Travelling was exhausting.

Long road
On the road again, heading north to Cordoba.

But today I am on the move once again. This time, as I write this, I’m on a 19hr bus journey northward to Cordoba, travelling with Jorge to a fledgling ywam base where he will be teaching. We will be there one week.

YWAM Cordoba base
The YWAM base in Cordoba.

I guess it is a lot of travelling. Even for me. Somewhere along the way I was even asking myself what I am doing hurtling along to some other place just after getting back. Some people back at my base are starting to ask who I am and what I’m doing there. There are so many new faces now. But here I am, on a bus, heading north.

Jorge teaching
Jorge teaching the Discipleship school students.

As they say… Here again, gone again. Or in my case, home again, gone again. And so I am.

Breakfast in Cordoba
Breakfast in Cordoba (Coffee, maté, biscuits and dulce-de-leche).

Cordoba mall in the city
The main mall in Cordoba city centre.

Cordoba city
Heading into Cordoba city from the YWAM base.

Cindy in Brazil

A good friend of mine from my days in New Zealand, Cindy Ruakere, has brought out her third CD and is now at the beginning of a one year world tour. It starts in Brazil, and involves living in a slum and ministring to the people here.

Cindy Ministering in Brazil
Cindy Ministering in Brazil

Here is a small extract from her email that covers the part about life in the “favela” slum:

Heliopolis Sao Paulo, the place where the druglords are the ministry protection because the police will shoot you rather than look at you. Where we wear bright green vests to show that we belong to Iris ministries which is looked upon kindly as caring for the children of Brazil, so we are afforded relative safety in the incredibly unsafe streets of this the largest slum in the world. Heliopolis with 3 million residents .

Heliopolis, where we have to turn our lights off and flash them once to the druglord guards that are stationed at the entrance and along the streets of the favela (slum), where the Holy Given school is situated.

Heliopolis, where my bedroom window has to be closed at night in case there are intruders who easily climb over the roof and just as easily shoot you in your bed. Where gunshots and machine gun fire is a common enough noise.

This is the Brazil we have entered and where Jesus is walking among us. This the first stop on our world tour. What a privilege and honour to be among these people. In the city of Sao Paulo where 18 million reside and life is cheap, Jesus lives.

More information can be found on her website.

Three Months Engaged

NOTE: Carolina and I are no longer engaged. We broke up in April. Carol has moved on to another YWAM base where she is studying. I will remain here and continue to work in Puerto Madryn.

Today Carol and I celebrated our third month of engagement. In July we will be getting married in Colombia, quite a distance from our current home in Argentina. To celebrate we enjoyed a lovely dinner by the sea in one of the many restaurants that sit right on the beach, and then stopped on the way home to admire the city lights from a very crowded lookout next to the ocean.

Carol and Me
Carol and I taking in the last of the sun’s warmth in the late afternoon.

When Sunday Became Monday

Something went wrong in my head today.

I rose at 8.30am with my alarm, dressed and drove to town to pick up my mail. Arriving, I discovered that the post office was shut – and everything else too. I was confused, so I checked my watch. It said 9am. I then wandered over to the post office door and checked their hours. The sign told me that they open from 8.30am. “Could it be that they are late today?”, I wondered, “But where are all of the people waiting outside?”

Still confused, I checked my watch again. One time recently it showed the wrong time, so maybe it had done it again and I was here are some unearthly hour of the morning such as 6am, thinking that it was really 9am. I grabbed my mobile phone and checked the time on that. It agreed with my watch. That made things really strange, because it received the time from the network and was never wrong.

Then slowly it dawned on me. This was not Monday at all. It was Sunday. My day to sleep in, and here I am, still half-asleep, the day after our big drive from Buenos Aires, totally confused about which day it was. Sunday had become Monday… just for a moment.

Doh!