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David Mather Foundation

By on Dec 15, 2011 in Uncategorized | 14 comments

Salta, Argentina. The locals call it la linda – the beautiful. At first glance, it’s easy to see why. Arriving fresh from a month spent in a poor town in the Peruvian Andes, Salta’s refined streets practically glittered. Designer clothes boutiques stand beside upmarket souvenir shops, leading to the central Plaza, where well-heeled locals sit at pavement cafes, sipping espressos. The cathedral – pale pink with ornate white adornments – certainly takes the prize for one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. But this is only one side of Salta, the tourist-friendly face. I was soon to discover another side to the city, which is a different picture entirely. I had come to spend a few weeks volunteering at the David Mather Foundation. It is a charity which helps to improve the prospects of disadvantaged young people in Salta, founded and run by Ian and Ceri...

The Long Way to Salta

By on Aug 23, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It should have been an easy trip, especially by South American standards. Salta, a northern city in Argentina, was just a 9-hour bus journey from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. However, when I first arrived in San Pedro, the woman at the first bus company I enquired at bit her lip. “Monday might not be possible,” she informed me. “We’ve had a lot of snow. But definitely on Tuesday.” One extra day. That didn’t seem so bad, given the delightfulness of the little desert town. However, when I went back to check on the Monday, fresh back from an excursion which had taken us past a long line of trucks waiting to cross the border, I was told that it would be Wednesday. I went and asked at another bus company and was told the same. At this point, the details start to sound a little like Groundhog Day, so I shan’t bore you with them, but suffice to say...

A Little Night Music in South America

By on Jul 29, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m not generally a highbrow-entertainment type of girl, more for financial reasons than anything else. I love going to the theatre and I’m always on the lookout for offers for London’s West End, but the prices of seeing the ballet or high-calibre symphony orchestras are usually well out of my reach. Not so in South America, it would seem.     I had never been to the ballet before, but a few weeks ago, I was in Arequipa. This city has culture in bucketloads: poems inscribed into stone arches, stunning, creamy, colonial architecture and a tradition of ceramic artisans. All of this I had seen during the day, and as dusk fell, I began to wander back to the hotel, thoroughly contented with all that Arequipa had offered me. However, on the way, through the bustling shopping streets, I caught sight of the theatre and the large signs proclaiming that it was the...

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