(from a letter to Mom and Dad dated August 22, 2014)
Through letters I like to be able to send/write things that I forgot or don't have time to write in my emails. For example a description of what Argentina is like, something that I hardly ever have time to write about.
In the northern part of Argentina it's more desert-like, not in the sense that there is nothing for miles, but there is dust everywhere (sometimes despite the humidity) and the type of foliage is similar to that in a desert. But that's not everywhere, there are plenty of areas that are far more forested/ swamp-like. Reconquista for example, is further south and therefore a little cooler... and gorgeous. Quite literally every open field that can possibly be used as a futbol field, is, and has two goal posts, one on either end. In the streets (most are not paved at all, but dirt roads), there are usually ditches on either side called zanjas (sawn-haws) that are little open sewage trenches. Not all zanjas are for THAT type of sewage, it's more common that kitchen or washing water is drained there, but the other type does happen/exist. Sheetrock and insulation don't exist here. Every house, store, building whatever-you-name-it is made of concrete and bricks, so controlling the temperature on the inside requires a heater or air conditioner running 100% of the time. There are dogs, quite literally, EVERYWHERE. Not just normal dogs either, there are random stray dogs that are very often super ugly/damaged/currently pooping in the street. Just the other day a dog peed on my ankle while we were contacting an old investigator! Yeah, that was funny. Not a lot of people here own cars, it's way more common that someone owns a moto (motorcycle or moped/scooter) and I've seen up to five people (usually families) crammed up on top of a moto, sometimes the kids have their own kid-sized helmets. I've come to love Argentina, even though I doubt that it escaped your notice how much I didn't love it upon first arriving
(from a letter to his siblings dated Aug 23, 2014)
Here in Argentina, we pretty much are without washing machines (as missionaries) and have to wash our own laundry by hand unless a really nice member offers to wash them for you, with washing machine or no. Just last week, Elder Smith and I were walking along this long dirt road, chucking our laundry bags over our backs. Soon, we became aware that there was someone following us, a 16-18 year old kid in shorts, sneakers, jacket and ski hat. Once he saw that we noticed him, he asked if we knew the time. Once he spoke, we knew he was drunk off his rocker (because obviously he didn't have his rocker with him) and we stopped a bit and he caught up with us, asking us where we were from this time. We told him that we were from...Viviendos (the barrio we live in) and this obviously confused him for a bit before asking again what time it was. We told him and then he told us his name (don't remember) and that he was waiting for a friend of his. We told him great, but see ya' (not exactly like that, but you get it). After about one minute of walking, he calls us back again and asks us what we do, we explained that we're from The Church of Jesus Christ and then he asked for something to read (a fairly common drunk guy thing to do here) all with the obvious air of trying to stall or something. We gave him a Palabra de Sabiduria pamphlet and shook his hand to leave. As I shook his hand, a kitchen knife fell out of his other sleeve and all three of us stared down at it for about five seconds before looking back up to his now terrified face. Elder Smith and I swung our bags over our shoulders, smiled, and said bye. His face was so funny, worst thief ever.