It was a long-standing promise that I had made to my friends that one day I would return to my old original YWAM base in the north of Argentina. Even though it was my first contact with YWAM and a place where I still have many friends, Corrientes was not a place that I really wanted to return to. However my promise to return still remained, and I believe in keeping my word. So it was now a place that I needed to visit a some point in the near future. Little did I know that this visit would turn out much more pleasant than I first imagined.
It was in July 2004 that I first arrived at Corrientes YWAM base to do my DTS. According to my first diary entry about the place I was not too fond of it:
Now I am here at YWAM Corrientes. When I arrived here, I hated the place. God said clearly that I am to stay. Slowly I am seeing why. Now that I have been here 5 days the place does not seem so bad either. Incomplete, muddy, or hot, or cold, and rarely in between, unfinished, un-maintained, dirty, full of mosquitoes, and far from town. Little to recommend it – except for the people.
So it was that the people here had once again drawn me back to this place.
Since I did not have any official business reasons for going to Corrientes, it had to be for the weekend only. Being in Buenos Aires at the time would cut the 36hr journey (from Puerto Madryn) down to an overnight trip of only 11hrs. It seemed wise to take advantage of this greatly reduced travel time.
The visit ended up being three days. The first day felt strange, being back in the place that had brought me so many memories, but by the time I left I really wanted to stay longer. People tend to have that effect on you.
The highlight was being able to catch up with (almost) all of my old friends, many of whom were part of my DTS and others whom were my leaders during that time. We have all been in the mission now for over five years… old hats. Oscar and Karin and their ever growing family – Karin gave birth to their fourth child just before I arrived, Paul and Norma, David and Mariana, David and Mari the base directors, Facundo and Vanessa, Gaston and Nicole, and many, many others.
Chipa was of course the very first thing I bought when I arrived there, and was part of my staple diet throughout my three days. There is nothing nicer than chipa, a delicious mandioca root flour and cheese concoction that is truly addictive.
After chipa, it was wonderful to also wander along the cost of the river and watch the sun set during my last hours in Corrientes. There is so much that I could have done, wanted to do, and never was able to do in the short time that I was there, but it was a sweet visit that has left me with many rejuvenated memories of my first YWAM base experiences… and a strange desire to return and visit my friends in the future, God willing. The next time though, it would need to be at least 5 days, and a week would be much better. Short visits just never seem to be enough.