So I’m back in Melbourne after 3 weeks in Buenos Aires. I was a little worried that we might not achieve much in this time, but we actually did ok. We had some interest from various parties which gave us the luxury of having options. Just before I left we caught up with Natalia from MTD Lanus.
After the first meeting with us, Natalia approached other members of MTD Lanus with the idea of our project. An interesting concept to me is that the MTDs use a horizontal organisational structure where decisions are made collectively and not by a sole managing individual or group. Assemblies are held, active discussions take place and a collaborative decision making process is achieved. I really like this structure as it promotes collective community involvement. I think many years of suffering under military dictatorships has pushed these people towards this horizontal organisational structure! Decisions made by all and not one!
Natalia told us that after her discussions with fellow MTD Lanus members it is very likely that we can start a project within the Lanus region: more specifically within the La Fe slum district. When Esteban gave us a tour he showed us a site beside the community bakery. It was a small room off to the side of the bakery with bench seats and long tables. I think we could function within this space. There are a few details that we have to sort out regarding kitchen space for food prep etc, but apart from this, it seems promising.
We are extremely interested in starting a project here. Valeria and myself have a good feeling about these guys. From our perspective, MTD Lanus as an organisation, has a solid base from which to launch community projects. They have existing enterprises that are benefiting the local families. They are working towards securing basic needs for unemployed in the area. They have functioned in the area for many years. The structure of their organisation allows for collective decision making, and they are willing for us to begin our project with children of their community.
I’m surprised but delighted by how we have been received in Buenos Aires. I guess that those who we’ve encountered along the way could see the nature of our project and that we have the best interests of their communities at heart. I also think that because we have been introduced to them by friend’s, there is a certain level of trust from the start.
Valeria is continuing on the process while I am back in Australia. She is in talks with Natalia and MTD Lanus, and is translating our project plan into Spanish. She is also talking to nutritionists from the region about appropriate food for the children and obtaining information about the local market from which we will buy the food. She is an absolute trooper and I honestly believe that without her we would still be just talking about the possibility of a project. Although sometimes with my dodgy Spanish and her “better than my Spanish” English, we sometimes lose the idea in translation, she has been the key to the Argentinian aspect of this project! I often wonder if it was a coincidence that back in 2007 in Madrid we happened to cross paths.
So onwards we travel on this journey. The next leg is beginning; 3 months to prepare for my return to Argentina. A lot of planning to do but fortunately we have an amazing Australian based SOG crew here in Melbourne; Vanessa, Leanne and Jason whom I also believe that without, this project would just be a thought. I will talk about the crew here in Melbourne in another post.
Next post, another little piece of history.