The October mission was a team effort, just as all the past missions have been. Everybody worked hard at different stages and aspects of the process. However, in the last mission, different skills were needed since one of the projects involved building a garden from scratch in an area where feral pigs and other rodents abound.
As soon as we arrived at the school that was going to have a new garden, The Bernardino Rivadavia School, a few members of the field staff left the truck and started to work on that project. Another group (including me and some of the girls from the office) drove a little bit more to the school that was about to be painted. Once we got there we gave the kids' backpacks with their names on it, full of school supplies and clothes according to their ages and sizes that we'd previously selected when we were getting everything ready for that week. The children were not only happy for the things we bought for them but also they were excited to see us again, they remembered our faces from prior missions and that, definitely, filled our hearts.
Once at Florentino Ameguino School, some of us shared the morning with the kids, painting, drawing, hearing their stories and their day to day experiences. While we did that, I was amazed by the rest of the group, the field assistants in the twinkling of an eye organized everything to start painting. One was on the roof, a couple more painting the outside walls, some of them were painting the inside of the school.... Everybody was doing something and besides the hot weather and the wind, they continued without stopping a minute until the school was ready and looked brand new.
After we were done with the school, we drove to the Bernardino Rivadavia School, and once again I couldn't believe my eyes: the guides and field assistants were working with a commitment that I've rarely seen in my life. In just a couple of hours, the garden was taking shape. The guys that painted the school fastly joined them with the garden and they all kept working until sundown. They put their soul into that project and I could see in their faces the happiness that working together made them feel.
That was my point before starting this report. Building a garden from scratch requires a lot of skills that all of us might not have, such as using a chainsaw, putting up the posts that held the structure together, welding different parts to build a door, among several others. The field staff, these guys that have probably been your field assistants, your guides or chefs at the field when you were hunting, were the ones who worked so so hard and made up such a productive team that I was amazed. And I wanted to highlight this effort because they took the matter into their own hands and were very resourceful since we got there and worked nonstop until the garden was finished.
A week before “the office girls” went to the office at the crack of dawn to start organizing everything. We had been collecting donations and buying supplies for more than 10 months and we had to do all sorts of things. Classifying the clothes according to ages and sizes was the most important task, to know what to give to each school and kid. I remember a pair of purple crocs, you know, the shoes. They were very cute, and I remember looking at them and thinking, oh, whoever gets them is going to be happy. I was right.
The Soaring Argentina mission that was scheduled for October had long been expected for us, the office staff. Besides those 3 days of outreach to the schools, there was a lot of “behind the scenes” planning and working, and creating, and brainstorming. I was going to take part on day 1 when we were going to paint one school and build a garden in another one.
A week before that, Cici, Lori, Vicky, Cami, Marian and I (I will call us “the office girls” from now on) went to the office at the crack of dawn to start organizing everything. I mean, we had been collecting donations and buying supplies for more than 10 months and we had to do all sorts of things. Classifying the clothes according to ages and sizes was the most important task, to know what to give to each school and kid. I remember a pair of purple crocs, you know, the shoes. They were very cute, and I remember looking at them and thinking, oh, whoever gets them is going to be happy. I was right.
Then, we, the office girls, went on to sort the school supplies. Someone had donated a bag full of mechanical pencils. Honestly, they didn’t catch my attention. I have had one every year I went to school and to me they were just “normal”. Well, on the day of the mission we gave the kids the bags with the school supplies and guess what? They were fascinated with the mechanical pencils. Absolutely amazed. They had never seen one, nor used it. Their faces, you should’ve seen them. Curious eyes trying to figure out how to use them. I was not expecting this. But it was at this moment when I realized how happy we were making them, with something so small. We had taken some printouts. Drawing books to color and some simple math activities. The kids were very excited and they wanted us, the office girls, to sit with them and help them with the math exercises and with the coloring. They didn’t need any help, they just wanted our company. Let’s think about this for a minute. They live in the middle of nowhere, where the closest city is 50 minutes away by car through a gravel road, and they or their families probably have no cars. The closest neighbor can be 5 km away, walking distance. Nobody “drives by” their places…What I mean is that they don’t see anybody else besides their families, classmates and school teacher for long periods of time. They were truly excited to see us, they wanted to share every story with us. They told me about how they hunt animals and how they ride their bikes and what games they play during holidays.
Besides the clothes and the school supplies, we were taking bags with snacks for each kid. Inside there were mainly cookies and juice. It was thought as a treat. You can imagine that these kids and their families do not go to the supermarket weekly, they do not get to choose the sweet things they want for dessert. So we thought, let’s buy some sweet things for them, as treats. They ended up being their breakfast that day. The teacher takes the breakfast for the kids every day but thatshe had had some personal issues, was late for school and therefore, the kids were there waiting for her, and by had not had any breakfast. The snacks made them very happy.
I could keep writing about this for many pages, but I just want to wrap this short report with what one of the teachers said “Thanks for coming, you make us feel we’re not alone, we haven’t been forgotten”
The so expected October's Soaring Argentina day is raising. Anxious to meet the Pointer team at the office, left home very early making sure my three children were warm and comfortable. I never thought how important was what we were about to do...
Even though the effort to get everything ready started some days ago we were very excited, finally, we were about to start the so expected October’s Soaring Argentina Mission.We were about to visit two schools today.
At 6 AM the whole team was ready to pack the donations: (school supplies, snacks, first aids kits, clothes, bag pack for every child with each child's name printed in the front, etc). into the pickup truck, and as soon as everything was ready, we depart to la Loma Lodge. Wayne and two new pals ( John and Josh) were as anxious as we, waiting for us and ready to help.
We shared the Argentinian drink “mate” in the way while talking about new Ideas for Soaring
Two hours and a half after we left Jesus Maria, and after driving through a very rough road we arrived at Fabricio’s school. It was too different from what I'm used to see every day when taking my kids to school. Believe me that the long way up to there really worth It was so proud to see the children and Fabricio (their teacher) raising the Argentinian flag...
After greeting everyone, children received a backpack with clothes for each one depending on their size and some school supplies and a snack bag, in this moment nothing was better than looking at their smiling faces, they were happy for receiving some chocolates and juices; some of them wanted to save it for later, cause there are no shops near, neither money to get more candies.
The team started to carry the needed materials to the school backyard in order to begin the garden construction. We were all anxious to help.
Field assistants, drivers, cookers, and some parents joined in this mission, which will not only benefit the children at this school but to the whole community. It's a very rough area, with its lands full of salt, that makes this project special because now they can grow their own vegetables and it will help also to get potable water for drink.
Pablo, Wayne, our special guests John and Josh, field assistants, and the rest of the office team depart to Florentino Ameguino's school where children were very excited about our visit.
As soon as we arrived there, Pablo, the school teacher and I got a brush to paint the front school windows and door, men of the team were anxious to start painting the classroom and kitchen so they started working very hard and some parents joined to them. The teacher told us the last time the school received help for painting was 14 years ago!!! "There's no money for us, or our children" said the teacher with tears in her eyes.
It was near the noon, and the sun was really hot, so we gave a Soaring Argentina hat to every child, now they are part of the working team!
That day everyone worked by shifts: painting the rooms, windows and doors, and the best of all: painting the backpacks with the children, drawing and resolving crosswords we brought for them.
The school looked different once they finished painting… Looks like new!!! But this is something we can't do without your help.
After this, we went back to Fabricio’s school to help the guys who were working hard on the garden construction. As a way to say thank you, parents were waiting for us to lunch.
Fabricio, Pablo, Wayne Lori and Gaby gave a thanking speech encouraging to the community and thanking for the reception.
The food was delicious, but we had to keep on working in the garden construction. Even though we didn't finish that day there was still a lot to do the next day.The sun was going down and we decided to leave. Almost done but tomorrow we will continue.
Tired but proud we started the way back home, thankful for everything we have that seems so usual for us, but unknown for many children.
A new day has just begun. Children were waiting for us since early in the morning. They prepared a welcome sign which was on the wall, draws and paper flowers they did by they own. Their welcome was very emotional.
A new day has just begun and we are ready to leave. At 7 AM the team left from Jesus Maria, a good-hearted man, and his wife are coming with us: Dario and Gladis are parents of Carla, with her students from the sewing untailoring course made the backpacks for the kids. Their pickup truck was full of thing he collected by his own for this kid he heard about.
We arrived at Olegario Rodriguez School. Was very emotional to see that children were waiting for us since early in the morning.No one visits them or takes presents specially made for them. They were so grateful that they prepared a welcome sign which was on the wall, draws and paper flowers they did by they own.
As we came into the school with the donations, Wayne showed them at the America’s continent map the long way to them. It really worth. After this introduction every one on the team got a backpack to give to the children, calling them by their name, just to see their faces getting the presents filled my heart.
Lori, David and I had a good time, full of smiley faces at school painting and personalizing everyone’s backpacks
Before we left they lowered the flag and allowed us to share this moment with them.
We depart to Fabricio’s school to continue with the orchard, it was almost done, everyone worked really hard, we helped to plant some herbs and seeds. We were surprised, the orchard looked better than we thought.
Proud for the teamwork we had lunch at Mario's house where we left clothing donations for the entire community. Mario's family was waiting for us with a delicious grilled pig and salad.
After lunch, Wayne and Mario gave a thanking speech to everyone. After this with our hearts full of love we go back home, thinking about those little smiling faces and happy hearts of having received not only beautiful presents but also sharing our time, joy and teamwork with them.
Hope to see you all soon!
It was a beautiful sunny morning when we started our way to this very -for every single one of us that has ever been there- special place. This time, we had a special guest helping us; Daniel, Lori’s dad. Daniel is a kind and peaceful man who smiles 24/7 and makes everyone laugh all the time, so we were really pleased to have him around.
We first went to the office in Jesus Maria to pick some things up we had been receiving for the kids such as school supplies, clothes, etc., from the hunters we had the pleasure to meet during the past few months.
In this opportunity, we had an specific mission; to make the once given by the government computers that no-one ever installed work for the kids to use and learn.
After we left the office, we went straight to Villa del Totoral town to meet the rest of the Pointer team that had asked to participate that day.
We first went to the local health centre since that place is a pick up point for all the people that live in the surrounding areas. There, we left several bags with food such as rice, pasta, tomato sauce in cans, polenta, milk, etc., as well as toilet paper and other items for health care.
After a quick talk with the woman in charge, we headed to the school we were going to visit in the first place, Fabricio's school.
Let me tell you a little bit of this one of a kind teacher.
Fabricio is teacher, director, and a great example for the kids that attend to that school.
He is from Quilino, which is located an hour away from the school through a gravel road. He starts his day really early in the morning and on his way to the school he picks some students up on his pickup truck. He takes them to the school, gives them the class of the day and then drops them off at their houses. School also includes breakfast and lunch, prepared by the cook.
He’s not only the teacher, but also the mentor and grown up that most of these kids look up to. He teaches every topic taught at any school and everything little kids need to keep their innocence and happiness alive. He simply loves those kids as if they were his own children.
When we got there, Daniel prepared everything to make the computers for the kids work as they should. While Lori’s dad was working on that, Federico, Tata, David, Gaby and the rest of the team from Pointer, took all the food and health care products we brought to that school close by the kitchen area so then Fabrizio could organize everything to divide into equal parts to later on give it to the local families.
Fabricio arrived and gave us a big smile to welcome us, just as he does every time we go there.
A while ago, Lori and Fabricio talked about the running water they have in that area, without knowing if that water was safe or not for the kids to drink. Apparently, the government had once half-built a tank for this school so they could have clean water available, but as I mentioned before, they half built it, so Lori took the bull by the horns and took a sample of this water to analyze it and see if it was potable or not.
After a couple of calls Lori made and emails to the people from the government, it turns out that the water is good for the kids so the construction for the tank is hopefully going to be finished before end of this year!
Long story short, thanks to all the people that have been part of this amazing project, we can now say that the kids from these schools can start seeing the progress and that the world has a lot more to offer.
We are still working on the computers for the kids and on the construction for the drinking water, but it was really good to know that we are almost there, that we have started the process to bring this kids what they really deserve.
Help us help others!
On April 21st we started our morning very early in Jesus Maria, we met up at the office with Juan and Vicky to load the truck with all the donations we had ready to take to the schools and we drove to Plaza Real Lodge where we also picked Wayne and Dale up.
We visited 5 schools that day, 3 of them we had also visited last year in November.
Again we brought a lot of schools supplies to leave at the schools and to give to each kid, also a first aid kit to the schools we were visiting for the first time, and a lot of clothes we collected from hunters, our team and people that heard about our mission and wanted to help.
It was so great to see some teachers again and to meet new ones. All of them have some incredible life stories, proof of their selfless dedication to educating and their devotion to these kids.
We had the pleasure to meet Alberto and Monica, two teachers that drive so many miles to get to the schools each day. Alberto, to teach to 5 students, and Monica to only 2.
This last school where Monica teaches, there are only 2 students, a brother, and a sister. They’re not the only students in that school but they’re also the only kids in the area. It’s such a remote location that there are no other families at least 20 miles round.
We also had the chance to visit Fabricio’s school again, we met him last year. He was still struggling with a water issue. They have running water at the school but it was never tested for bacteria or contaminants, so he can’t risk giving it to his students.
We’re currently working on getting that water analyzed by a laboratory to see if it’s safe to drink it or not.
We got to these schools with the help of Mario a neighbor and now a very good friend of us; he guided the way and also introduced us to more people.
Thanks to that we got the chance to meet a mom that sends her kids to a high school where they go on Monday and stay until Friday, they spend the weekend at home and then back to school. This is the only way they have to finish their studies due to it’s impossible for them to travel every day.
The lack of public transportation makes it very hard for a lot of parents to send their kids to high school to continue with their studies.
We spoke with this mom and tried to find out how much it costs per year per kid to go to that school so we can come up with a number and hopefully in a close future we can start with our sponsoring program, which is one of our main goals.
I think we made a few steps on this last mission that got us closer to our future goals. It was such a good day and I'm so happy to be part of a team that won't accept this reality the way it is. It won't be quick, it won't be easy but I know we already started to make a difference in these kids' life and I'm proud of that.
This wouldn't have been possible without the help we received from all our guests, our team, families, and friends.
On behalf of these kids, teachers, and families, thank you to everyone that made it possible.
Your generosity and commitment are invaluable to us, Pointer Outfitters and Soaring Argentina.
Pointer Outfitters, Argentina
We are offering a free hunting trip to anyone who will join us in these efforts.
For more information about this offer and our missions, please contact Wayne Graham, a key supporter in helping with this local mission. You may contact him at any time for further information.