Argentine Culture on Hold
Quarantine, a word that we have heard more lately than ever before. In Argentina we are going on two months of the process of mandatory quarantine, meaning we each are separated and isolated completely. Throughout all this, our country (Argentina) and the world have each lived through this: a process. The process began with not leaving our homes, and in the following weeks we were getting out very little, only when we needed to fill our fridges, and now they are allowing children to be out on Saturday and Sunday for an hour. We are still feeling the process continue on.
For many people, it has not been easy, but technology has helped. Since we began quarantine the ladies of our church decided to meet Monday through Friday every week for a devotional and to learn from each other (we haven't done this in a long time, because of everyone's busy schedules). It has come about because of quarantine, and has been a blessing to each of us. We have gotten to know each other more, our trust has grown, we have been encouraged, we have eaten together (virtually), and fasted and prayed together. It has been such a blessing. And it's not just the women, I have also heard that the men and married couples are having their "meet-ups." One way or another, even if we work from home, quarantine has made our schedules more flexible. It's not the same, but I have seen a church more united, with deeper roots through the fact that we've gotten to know each other at a deeper level. When we know the situation of each brother, we are able to think of ideas to help financially, through friendship, prayer and being there for what they need.
For many people it is so strange not to be able to see the ones that you love, your close friends or your extended family. Giving a hug or sitting down for yerba mate (see video below) or coffee is prohibited. What used to be so common is now valued even more, what was part of the day to day, is now more treasured. We don't know how long the quarantine will last here in Argentina, but we know that because we love each other, it's best that we stay apart. It sounds strange, but love takes care of another.
Below is a message from an Argentine actor, Guillermo Francella, who speaks of Argentine customs: (see translation below)
"Message from one Argentine to another: We are all about getting together, greeting one another, squeezing each other with hugs, it's what we are known for, but in this moment we have to say no to these Argentine customs, because it's the only way to take care of each other. We resist the urge to give a kiss (on the cheek), shake hands, meet together, sit down to eat at a large table together, but this won't be forever, its only for a time, nothing else. And afterward, well!... prepare yourself because you will need to go to a chiropractor for them to adjust all your bones again after the big hug that I'm going to give you. Until then, we have to think of each other, staying at home even though it's difficult and wait to get together. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate that in times like this, we are all united."
We are all responsible for each other, we continue to pray for those who have been directly affected by the virus and those who have not. Our goal is to take care of each other.
The Redentor Church of Christ made the following video saying that they miss drinking yerba mate together.