Background Image | Imagen al fondo

(Background Image | Imagen al fondo)

other portals

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Short story o cuentos 10-26-2010

This is my first attempt at a videoblog. Enjoy. It is just about how the church came about.
some cool facts to keep in mind...

1.)everything has been recycled and donated to make this building since 1994.
2.)volunteers built it.
3.)used to be a bus terminal.
4.)I live on the 5th floor (top) and my calves are constantly sore.

A look into La Misión from Paul Holzman on Vimeo.

Part dos.

La Misión Part 2 from Paul Holzman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some Perspective 10-6-2010

While I was in Buenos Aires back in 2008 I was studying at a private university, living in Recoleta, spending my free time going to "cultural events", museums, festivals, markets, drinking lots of Malbec wine, staying out until 4-5am with friends and from time to time volunteering to to feed a philanthropic bug. I could walk 5 minutes to the Fine arts museum to check out Picasso and Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, etc or another 10 minutes to see the latest contemporary visual arts exhibit at the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) displaying beauty, exposing poverty, highlighting obscurity, protesting war, or just entertaining my senses. I am not trying to cheapen or complain about that part of my life, I was able to live that and cherish all the experienced moments in 2008. However, I am trying to make sure I grasp the difference of where I find myself today.

(Photos from some areas I spent a lot of time around in 2008)

Today I will be going to Carrillo, near Villa Soldati in Bajo Flores, it all depends who you talk to. When they use the word villa down here it does not mean a nice big comfortable house like in the States or in Qatar. It is a neighborhood that was typically squatted by immigrants of other countries like Paraguay, Bolivia, Perú, and also by Argentines from the more rural or interior regions of the country. This is a picture of a typical villa. Cement blocks stacked upon cement blocks and wires that run all over the place.

In three weeks I have had 2 people tell me the best way to solve the problems in the villas is to just burn them down because all they bring is immigrants who sell drugs which creates crime and violence. I've heard this before. Where? In regards to whom? Spoken by me? By leaders? By angered humans blinded by injustice and hurt?

I'll conlculde with 2 pictures of villa 31 which is the largest villa in Buenos Aires and is found smack in the middle of the Capital Federal. There is a very high concentration of people not living in the greatest conditions living right next to some of the wealthiest people in the Americas and Argentina.

How can peace and injustice be in such close proximity? What brings justice? Can true peace and justice coincide? Is there true peace in those skyscrapers and lofts across the way? God is just and peace. How? I know that God is love. Does love solve this paradox? Just some things I have been thinking about. Trying to put things in perspective. Maybe happiness is inside the villa? Maybe we are the unhappiness and we project it on the aesthetically mediocre and unattractive?

Disclaimer: this phenomena is not specific to Argentina or Latin America. The paradox, anomaly, or whatever you want to call it is a global problem. I have seen it in Doha, Qatar and the United States. I simply must right about the right here and now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sabbath. Painting. Double Hammock. 10-4-2010

So this year my Monday's will be sabbath days or days of rest.

In my mind I was thinking "no Internet Paul, no Internet!" I think out loud when I'm alone.
Although, as I find myself typing up this blog I continue to indulge in one of the most self-amusing times during my days which involves making plans or developing ideas and never sticking with them. Sometimes these ideas or plans can be a little more detailed than fasting from the Internet for a day.


"In 3 years I want to be settled in a nice corner studio apartment in downtown Denver with an easy drive to the mountains. I will be volunteering with Latinos, mainly of Salvadorian decent, working on my masters in Social Work (emphasis on border cultures). I will own an English Sheep Dog named Liam, playing Thursday nights with my band The Monotones at the cafe/microbrewery I work at part-time during the week."

thats honest.

Today is a beautiful day in Buenos Aires. I woke up early to check if the gas had been turned back on at the church, so far no signs of any. Consequently, that means no hot shower and preparing my pot of water for Maté on the gas grill. My plans consist of reading, praying, and wandering around the city. Those are some different ways I like to rest and reflect on things.

Before heading out of Bajo Flores, my neighborhood, I will walk around the block.
I intend to chat it up with guy who sells, books, magazines, and newspapers at the corner and talk about a few current events (and see how much a paper costs) then I will mosey on down to this small cultural center just 3-4 store fronts down from our church front door to see if they could use a hand throughout the week. They usually don't.

This past weekend I hung out with the youth of the church. We had a Saturday Night meeting with all of them which will be once a month. Then on Sunday some of the guys came over and we watched some football (soccer) matches while they also played Monopoly. Our group and I ate with the elderly ladies and man, Señor Marcos. Marcos and I seem to have a lot in common (My group in Mission Year consists of 5 women so we sort of have this unspoken common bond).

A few of the ladies sang some tangos for us as well as recited some poetry, it was lovely. Definitely different after church lunch experience. The beauty of different cultures, religions, practices, values and beliefs. I will always opt for after service poetry readings!

Last week my team and I went around to different sites of the community to see and experience some of the possible volunteer opportunities.

I leave you with some pics from the first week. The first few are of a painting that Scott Erickson painted live in the park across from our church/apartment and another one of Marcelo (the lead pastor of La Misión) attempting to hang out with me in the Double Hammock. Peace.

In Plaza Francisco Sicardi

Scott explained his appreciation of most graffiti. Also, he mentioned that graffiti is part of a city and can be one of the most representative elements of the city. Generally, many people tend to see it as dirty, as vandalism, and send out signals of oppression, darkness, pain and hurt. Many people think they must get out of a city to be refreshed and to actually feel the light and newness of life. But the Roots of these Easter Lilies, or of Life, are found at the heart of the city and humanity. If the heart is pure and alive and rooted in Truth and Love it can create something beautiful in the midst of something that is perceived as ruined, damaged, blemished, hopeless, or unattractive.

I forgot this puppy can only support 400lbs and realized that I currently weigh 200 plus and Marcelo is taller than me.