Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Argentina to Arizona

I arrived in Arizona about 10 a.m. Monday, November 17. My two week journey to Argentina was a fabulous trip. During the hustle and bustle of tours, bus trips and meeting fellow Germans from Russia, I barely had time to think much less write on my blog. Now I am back at work, probably have less time than ever, but I have the Internet access to share more about my adventure.

One of the reasons I traveled on the fourteen hour airline flight was to visit Marienthal, Argentina. Marienthal means Mary's Valley to honor Mary the mother of Jesus. The village is named for the colony in Russia from which my paternal ancestors came. In Spanish, it is Valle Maria.

Unfortunately, Marienthal was a site of a minor vacation disaster. I dropped my camera (a Canon Power shot aka the Maria Sharapova camera). Dare I say I was waiting in line at the ladies room and tried to juggle camera, toilet paper and brochure all at the same time? But, alas, I lost one camera. Today I discovered the memory card still worked. Tonight I finally saw some of the pictures I took in Marienthal. I have a few more technical difficulties to work through.

As I traveled in Argentina, I quickly recognized when I was in a German Russian settlement. The streets were clean, the houses shone fresh with paint, and the graffiti walls were left behind in energetic Buenos Aires. Marienthal is a peaceful, quiet and comforting small colony. Thoughts of retirement penetrated my mind as I watched the relaxed atmosphere of the town.

Beautiful mural behind the altar honors Mary who is
surrounded by Jesus and God as the angels look to her in adoration

Here are my notes as recorded in my Journal
for November 6, 2008.

Ate breakfast and finally connected to the internet to update my blog and check emails. Left the Gran Hotel at 9:30 a.m. and drove to Basilera. We met a group of German Russians at the church and Judy met Julia Gareis. Judy shared her Pleve Chart and we met many others. We visited the Church and enjoyed our visit in Brasilera. Brasilera was founded by Volga German who originally settled in Brazil and moved to Argentina for greener pasture. It is the second village founded in Argentina by German Russians.

Next, Valle Maria, or Marienthal, the first colony founded by German Russians in Argentina. These settlers were from the same village as my grandmparents, Clementine Herrmann Dalhaimer Bauer and Johannes Dalhaimer.

We met the pastor Miguel and many other members of the Valle Maria church. The church was gorgeous, wit the wall behind the altar painted as a beautiful mural representing the Mary, Queen of the world. In the center she is crowned as Queen. On her right side is Jesus and on the left side God the Father. She is surrounded by angels and the adoring people on earth all look up to her.

I gave my card to everyone I met. A young boy said he would email me and I will cross my fingers. Helen had him write down his email address so I will get a copy of it from her.

I also dropped my camera after my batteries went dead. I now know I need to bring paper, pencil and extra battereies with me and not leave these items in the hotel.

Next stop was Protestante. At this Evangelical village we met a group of Volga Germans at their hall used for their Volga German functions

They served us an outstanding lunch of cole slaw, rolls, sausage, chicken, potatoes (cut like broad but baked until crisp), and kuchen. The beverages included Schneider beer which is brewed locally. This group was fantastic and they presented Jerry Siebert (President of AHSGR) with a great award and t-shirt. We all ordered t-shirts which will be shipped to Lincoln and sent on to us.

The beauty of the villages is an incredible contrast to the graffiti and trash filled cities we have seen in Argentina. All of the houses are neat, clean and well-kept. There is no trash to be found. The industrious German Russian traditions hold true here and leave the rest of Argentina wanting.

We also stopped at the Evangelical Church and cemetery. I found three Reimers and a Wiegand there.

Next we drove back past Marienthal and I saw their cemetery. Isabel said Miguel the pastor would have the record of names. The next stop was past the village of San Francisco in Spatezenchuter. At this cemetery Judy located two, possibly three Gareis graves. In addition, this cemetery has preserved many iron crosses from around the area and from Russia. Many were unkept for years and Isabel’s group set aside an area and relocated the crosses there. It is a beautiful monument and way to preserve our heritage.

Then back to Parana and the Gran Hotel

1 comment:

Frank said...

Sorry about your camera. Bathroom lines are notorious for causing accidents. Especially while juggling. I know someone who dropped a cell phone into the toilet. It didn't break but he didn't want to use it afterwards.
The pictures and blog are great. I can't wait to see more and read more about your adventures.