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Latin America Monica Dispatch

Robbed, Again! But Hey, Isn't the World Beautiful...

Gangsters in the house (well, in the bus station anyway)!
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Yesterday we arrived at the bus station in Buenos Aires and were so impressed by how clean and sophisticated everything seemed. We piled all our backpacks and small bags onto a few benches and settled in for a bit. I told Kevin, "Look, here are my three bags," and he said he would watch them as he read more about Argentina in our Lonely Planet Guide. When I returned from the ladies' room (which actually had toilet paper and soap, a first for us in South America!) there were only two bags, my big computer bag and my backpack. My little black bag had disappeared, while Kevin was right there! Which goes to prove that even in Buenos Aires, well-regarded as one of the most cosmopolitan and wealthy cities in the Southern Hemisphere, there are still some sneaky thieves!

Have You Seen Our Stuff?...

These are just some of the things that we've had stolen over the past five months:

  • 3 digital cameras
  • 2 portable computers
  • 2 wallets (with credit cards and ATM cards)
  • 1 portable chess set
  • 1 Leatherman portable tool set
  • 1 box of guide books
  • 1 pair of prescription eye glasses
  • 1 Patagonia waterproof jacket
  • 1 camera
  • 1 address book
  • 1 journal
  • 1 toothbrush and 1 comb
  • 1 pair of stinky Shawn boots!

BUT NO passports have been stolen and all Team Members are still accounted for! Yippee!

Luckily, there was nothing of real monetary value in my black bag. It had my toothpaste and toothbrush, my comb, my crocheting, my prescription sunglasses and a few other small items. However, I did lose a small sculpture my friend Bessie gave me, as well as my journal. At first I was crushed, but as I've come to think about it, the loss of these memories of the Latin America trek might be a segueway into the Africa leg of the trek. I had already sent a list of all the addresses and e-mails I wanted to keep back home, and I had been simply finishing up my thoughts of our stay in Central and South America, and looking forward to our stay in Zimbabwe and Mali.

When I read about the slayings in Littleton and more recent shootings and threats throughout the United States, I am dismayed and disturbed. I remember being in middle and high school. I know how difficult it can be to get through every day, in a routine, sometimes with no thought to the possibility of change. I have participated in this Trek with the Odyssey in the hope that somehow I can share with you how much more exists in the world.

Although you might sometimes feel trapped, or think that your life doesn't have purpose or meaning, I can assure you that, first of all, you definitely count and your presence in the world is a unique and special event that touches other people in ways you might not even know yet. Second, you CAN "make a difference," like we say on our website, simply by taking the time to figure out what you believe in, and taking actions that align with your beliefs. Thirdly, and I wish I could explain this better, you can definitely travel and move outside of your world, into a wider world. Places like Istanbul and Antarctica are NOT unreachable, and in fact, if you believe in it and want it, you, too, can trek by land and sea from San Francisco to Buenos Aires, like we have done these last five months.

Click image for larger view
In five months we have traveled by land and by sea from San Francisco to Buenos Aires
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Although there is violence, uncertainty and doubt, shallowness, superficiality, and hopelessness, I believe that you can rise up out of that quagmire of not feeling anything at all, and that you can truly be all that you dream about, and even more. I really like what Jawaharlal Nehru once said about the world being full of "beauty, charm, and adventure," and I promise you there is a deeper and wider world than you can even imagine, and that it is all there waiting for you. So stay tuned as we bring you reports from Argentina and then: AFRICA! In the meantime, here's a quote that I'd like to leave with you (not verbatim, since my journal was stolen!) but from what I remember. It's by Rudyard Kipling.

"There's nothing there," they said,
and I believed it.
Till a voice, as bad as conscience,
rang interminable changes.
"There is something,
Go and find it.
Go and look beyond the Ranges."

Best wishes to you,
Monica

 

Kavitha - Reunited and It Feels So Good
Shawn - Che Guevara - Giving Everything, Always, Until Victory
Kevin - Journey from the Eyes of a Jeep
Making a Difference - Save a tree, go napkin-free!

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