Yesterday we went on a cultural tour of Lanús (the district within which Monte Chingolo is located). The ministry of culture organises outings during school holidays for children to get to know the district a little better. They came and picked us up in a small bus around lunchtime and we were off to see Lanús!
The first stop on the journey was the house of the first Mayor of Lanús. You can imagine the children's excitement! (yes, sarcasm). There were photos on the walls of famous generals and political leaders, a couple of pieces of old furniture, and an exhibition dedicated to old communication technology (cameras, video recorders, phones, and music players). To the children's credit, they weren’t as bored as the adults where. This was a zero-interaction tour. The words ‘don’t touch’ were used on several occasions.
Behind the house was the local council’s building for microenterprise. Inside we were given a brief presentation. The discourse was basically, “Hey kids, this has nothing to do with you, but if you know of an adult that would like to make a mini business then they could come here”. Once again, the children were very respectful of those providing the small tour.
The next part of the tour was definitely the highlight. We stopped at a small playground jam-packed to maximum capacity with kids on school holiday. The parents were all sitting around the perimeter keeping an eye on their young ones. The main attraction was a halfpipe skateboard ramp. The sides were just high enough to make it relatively challenging for most kids to be able to reach the top. There would have been at least 30 children at any time running, climbing, dodging, and scrambling to reach the top.
It was absolute chaos, but at the same time, the perfect environment for a team-building exercise created by the kids. The bigger kids could reach the top by themselves with a good run-up. The smaller kids needed help. We (I had to join in) spent about half an hour non-stop, scaling the edges, dragging the little ones to the top by any means possible. Afterward, dropping back down into the pipe and having another go. There was a mixture of kids from Food for Thought and numerous other children on their school holidays. In the end, it didn’t matter who was trying to get to the top, you would just grab any hand that was offered and drag that person to the top in the manner that worked at that present moment in time.
Unfortunately, the fun and learning had to end, and the tour continued. Next stop was an art exhibition. The life collection of a local artist was on show. The art pieces were great. All sorts of collages, colours, mixtures of materials, and in three dimensions as well. After the excitement of the playground, even though interesting, the art exhibition didn’t quite match up. Especially because of those two famous words that would have to be on the list for ‘world’s most confusing words for kids’, “don’t touch”. The immediate response, as if a reflexive reaction, is the exact opposite of their intended meaning.
We then finished off the day with a short bus ride back to the venue. I love getting out and about with the kids. It didn’t matter too much to me that the tour was almost a complete waste of time. The skateboard ramp and 2 bus rides each side of the tour made enough excitement for the day. The kids were amazingly respectful and tolerant of the tour but ended up created a fun learning experience for themselves. The best thing that the adults did that day was providing the transport to and from the skateboard ramp!