Have you ever felt like something wasn't quite right? That's how Joo and I have felt for the past week. Our translation deadlines seemed a bit weird, correspondence was coming at a different time than normal, people were calling at strange hours, TV shows didn't match their scheduled time, our favorite local shops seemed to be opening and closing differently... what could be going on???? It suddenly hit me that this was about the time of the year for Daylight Savings Time. Could that be it? No, because we GAIN an hour in the fall, and our twilight zone was happening in the other direction... we were always late for things. Pause now to see if you can solve our mystery, and then scroll down for the answer...
We finally solved the mystery when we showed up at a volunteer center one day at a time we believed to be 20 minutes early. I was afraid no one would be there, but the other volunteers were already deep in a discussion and the director, with a smile, gently chastised us for being "extremely" late. He showed me his watch, which was an hour different from mine, and exclaimed "Oh, I see! You never switched your watch!" and started laughing. Then it hit me. We were in the SOUTHERN hemisphere and here, the time moves FORWARD in October!!!
After we got that figured out and caught up on what we missed, the group hopped on public transport to go to the poorest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Barrio de Villa Fatima. The area had been a garbage dump 30 years ago, until immigrants from Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina started moving in in droves. The population density soon grew far beyond what health standards would consider safe and the problem continues to worsen.
That said, Joo and I were both surprised at how clean the neighborhood was. Evidently, there has been a government cleanup going on for the past month. The government intends to bulldoze the central section of Villa Fatima and I'm guessing the cleanup program was somehow connected to bureaucracy.