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Buenos Aires, Argentina
The byline is correct, I am sending in my monthly feature from Buenos Aires. My visit here for the month of June has given me the opportunity to experience two FALL seasons this year. The latitude here is 35 degrees South, just the opposite of Little Rock, Arkansas or Washington, D.C. which are at 35 degrees North latitude. It is cool/cold, the leaves are beautiful/falling and I can just imagine what I am missing in the Mid West! Buenos Aires may get its first snow in 68 years today or tomorrow!
It is my plan to touch on several strands of the Frontier series with my feature this month. We are surrounded by frontiers of opportunity - we just need to recognize them as such. I do feel like a pioneer in this day and age. Rotary International Clubs of the Kansas City District have sent me to Argentina to open doors and build bridges of friendship for future teacher exchanges between the two countries.
Parts of the United States, including the Kansas City area are rapidly acknowledging Spanish in today's North American culture. It has always been there. It is in our schools in English speaking students taking Spanish as a foreign language and as Spanish speaking students taking English/English as a second language. It is in our business communities http://www.dosmundos.com/, on our airwaves KCXL1140 with Michael G. on Sunday), and in the historic names of our communities.
The Rotary InterDistrict Teacher Exchange program gives U. S. teachers an opportunity to experience the language and culture of a Spanish speaking country and for native Spanish teachers to experience immersion in our English based culture. You may learn more about this program through your local Rotary Club, on the WWW at http://www.RITE-Teacher.com/ or through e-mail to me firstname.lastname@example.org. The Kansas City, Raytown, and Independence Rotary Clubs sponsored my trip to Argentina and a number of Buenos Aires Rotary Clubs hosted my stay for the month of June.
Through the members of the clubs, I have made a number of educational contacts. I live in the home of a member, travel about town on the train, subway and bus system, and immerse myself in the culture of the largest Spanish speaking community in the Western Hemisphere.
Filing a feature story via letter, telephone, telegraph or FAX is not unusual - depending on your budget/support, you can even report on a war via live television. But, we are now entering an age when the common man can keep in touch with business associates, friends, and relatives around the world in ´real time´ with little or no expense. The moment I got off the plane in Buenos Aires my Rotary host provided me with a temporary E-mail address. Instead of placing costly phone calls, I have been in constant contact with my sister and Mother in Kansas City, my brother in Alaska, the chairman of the R.I.T.E. Program in Texas, my coworkers in Independence and friends in France and Taiwan.
Telnet via the Internet allowed me to "drop into" One Crossroads Place in Independence, Missouri - chat with friends, check my E-mail at that address, and download a computer program file from the Gibson Digital Library (on the BBS for my host here in Buenos Aires). Earlier this year I was able to place web pages on the OCP server in Overland Park, Kansas from my hotel room in Chicago and to build a web complex on a computer in Alaska from my home in Raytown, Missouri. In the past a traveler from the United States to Argentina might have felt out of touch or isolated (or unreachable by his boss) but there is no need for that feeling in this new cyber age.
For you good souls that might be concerned about my eldercare duties with my Mother, rest assured that she is in the capable hands of my sister. Adelaide came from her home in Grand Junction, Colorado to stand in for me while I am here in Argentina for the exchange. I have been asking about eldercare in Argentina during the past two weeks and I plan to continue my research about the subject in this culture.
Already, I have been invited to visit the largest planned senior community in South America which is located here in Buenos Aires. The community is administered by the son-in-law of my Rotary host (a coincidence) and should be very interesting since the community members are Jewish elders. I plan to report on this subject next month.
Finally, I want to pay tribute to a gentleman from the University of Alaska who made a presentation to the Alaska State Board of Education back in the early 1980´s. His efforts illustrate the well know parable from the Bible about sowing seeds. He made a plea to the Board of Education to include a provision in Alaska educational regulations for the requirement of two years of foreign language study. The Board did not adopt such a regulation at that time but by 1988 I was in China learning Mandarin and have since taken four educational trips to Spanish speaking countries. For the most part, U.S. citizens are behind our world neighbors in the learning of a second/third language. This deficiency may be corrected through the efforts of men like Dr. Wolf and organizations like Rotary InterDistrict Teacher Exchange.
Copyright 1996 William R. Eubank
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William R. Eubank
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