As my readers have come to realize, I am not the greatest at blogging. So I’d like to take a quick moment to post about a volunteer job I participated in a few months ago.
Since I only worked 15-25 hours a week at the community with Project MATE I joined a small group of volunteers. We volunteer for an NGO called Banco de Bosques (the Forest Bank). I mentioned the NGO in past blogs because they are coordinating a project with the community I work in. This new project is a campaign to create a new National Park in the northern province of Chaco. In Chaco, there is a forest four times the size of the Iguazu National park: 130 000 hectares. It is the second largest forest in the Americas after the Amazon! Many endangered animals reside there such as the yugaurate (translated to jaguar but is actually a slightly different species), the giant armadillo, the crowned eagle, and the pig quimilero, as well has over 150 different species of birds!
The group of passionate young people create awareness about the threatened forest at the Iguazu Waterfalls. (Yes, I work twice a week at a Wonder of the World!) We spend the day discussing with tourists the importance of conserving the park and what our NGO and its supporters are doing. We give a short speech, which due to our international group we offer in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and English. My biggest (and truthful) selling point is that every hour companies cut down the size of 20 football fields (I have yet to clarify whether it is a field for soccer or American football). Once the tourists hear that line, we collect their emails and then they are sent more information about the forest and how they can donate to help.
The job is tiring: we are in the sun, smiling, sweating, and switching languages all day – but I love it. While people are signing, often the same reoccurring conversation passes of the usual where are you from, where are you travelling after, but sometimes this small talk expands into interesting stories and I have to remember to move on to another group. The volunteers are great as well and help with the long hours. All are friendly, have a great sense of humour, and are very passionate about the cause. As a political science student I am not well versed on environmental issues especially not ones pertaining to Argentina, and so, every day I am learning a lot.
Also, from time to time we escape the heat into areas of the park restricted to the public that the workers at the Falls tell us about. Yesterday, I spent my lunch at this incredible place: