Buenos Aires June 8th to July 3rd, 1996
During the summer of 1996, I was invited to go to Buenos Aires by the chairman of the Rotary InterCountry Teacher Exchange, Conrad Heede. I was given about two weeks advanced notice of the trip - the Rotary members in Argentina had moved up the dates of the exchange from July to June and the original candidate was committed to teaching summer school during June at a university in Texas.
I traveled for 26 hours from Kansas City to Argentina and changed planes four times enroute. It was an economy ticket - ;-0! When I got off the plane in Buenos Aires the air was cool - winter was underway in the southern hemisphere.
I stayed at the home of Humberto Gilabert - father of Humberto A. Gilabert a very active Rotarian in Argentina -it was a wonderful place to stay - not far from public transportation which I used exclusively after my first week in town. During that first week, I attended three different Rotary meetings in the city - looking for leads to visiting educational institutions.
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During one of those meeting, I met Luis Marie Rodriguez, who spoke excellent English and just happened to be the Superintendent of Schools for Districto Escolar 16, Municipalidad De La Cindad De Buenos Aires. I was carrying a report about the R.I.T.E. program and he got very excited about the possibilities.
He arranged for me to visit some of the schools in his district. Here I am up to my neck in middle school students at the Number 4 Middle School. I visited/taught individual classes and talked to four combined classes. A 6th grade English class (30K picture) is a 6th grade English class in any country. I talked about schools in the U.S., displayed a map and shared photos of my students back in Texas. All the students, in public and private schools, wore some kind of "uniform".
This school had an Olympic sized pool and a well equipped computer lab. I spoke "computerize" with the teacher that was hired by the local school district committee. I had brought along copies of InfoZine in Neobook format and installed it on many computers while in various schools. We were actually able to log on to the One Crossroads Place BBS in Independence, Missouri from Silvia's classroom.
I was invited to visit the Instituto Superior De Formacion Docente No. 21 in Morano - about 35 kilometers from Buneos Aires. This was a training institution for teachers. Many of the students were part time teachers since there is such a demand for English teachers in Argentina. . The class room filled up with over 100 students from several classes and I ended up teaching for four hours. I passed out copies of Dos Mundos (a bilingual newspaper) that I had brought with me from Kansas City - and there were many questions. The students asked about ads, compared rental prices to those in Argentina and read articles outloud to each other. The teacher here was Antonio R. Restano - one of the original exchange teachers from Argentina to Texas in January 1996.
During my third week in Argentina an Economics professor (Atilio Gallitelli) from the Universidad De Belgrano (also a Rotary member) invited me to his classes. I went to this modern university six times - and I was there the week they opened the school's Internet connection.
Within five blocks from where I was staying there was a private school - Colegio Saint Jean where I visited a 9th Grade Geography class. I always travel with maps of the U.S. that I give away to classes that I visit. This was a very exclusive school - an American student attended through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. There were several other International students and there was a need for a "Spanish as a Second Language Teacher".
I visited the Universidad De Buenos Aires several times. Again I installed programs on computers and visited with the Director of Foreign Languages (Martha Mulville). She and her secretary (Fabiana Vega) were in the process of working on the translation of a book about sailing. It was a good thing that I had lived in a fishing village in Alaska for 14 years - and could answer some of the technical questions they had about sailing terms. Six months later, I was told by Monica Nardelli (the RITE exchange teacher to Kansas City during February 1997) that I met her at the time this photo was taken. But you know, I must have been so focused on the translation work, that I don't remember meeting her - yeah - sure William - it was the translation you were thinking about!!
Luis Marie Rodriguez arranged a contact for me with the Director of Foreign Languages (Beatriz Seveso) for all schools and districts (24) in Capital Federal Buenos Aires that lead to an exchange agreement being drawn up between Rotary Clubs in Argentina and the U.S. This agreement called for teachers from Argentina to travel to the U.S. during 1997 and for up to ten teachers from the U.S. to travel to Argentina during June/July of 1997 - to teach the English teachers in Buenos Aires. We signed the agreement in his school library before I left for the U.S.
This agreement may be download from this site. It is in readroom format and will work in DOS on any PC from an 80-88 on up. The agreement is written both in English and Spanish.
During my stay in Argentina, Mr. Guillermo Enrique Peña offered the use of his computer to me so that I could receive and send e-mail. His family was host for a student from Florida (Phillip Battle) that came to Argentina through Rotary Youth Exchange. Here we are taking an Argentine coffee break.
A wonderful experience!!
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