Cows, Horses, and Dogs

08May12

A friend emailed to ask us about the geography of Resistencia. How are the natural and built environments of the city? How do they interact? What is the boundary like between the urban and rural areas?

Here is the view from the bridge over the Paraná River between Resistencia and Corrientes

These are some great questions for us to think about, especially since in our role as missionaries we’re facilitating conversations on community-church relationships. Understanding and appreciating our community can help us discern how we as the church fit in. In order to start to frame a response, I photographed the scenery coming into Resistencia from the bus. In the picture above, taken on a previous trip, you can see some of the buildings and lights of Resistencia in the distance. Here below, one of several smaller rivers running parallel to the Paraná.

The approach into the city can be divided into 3 distinct but overlapping phases: the cow phase, the horse phase, and the dog phase. (This is coming from someone born and bred in a big city. People who have had more day-to-day experience with animals could probably muster a more critical or technical perspective.)

The cow phase includes all the forests and grasslands around where people are living. Cows for milk and meat roam around foraging, often among thick stands of palm. Many of the cows are ultimately destined for asado, Argentine-style barbeque and a local favorite.

The horse phase begins at the outskirts of the city. Horses are useful for pulling carts with produce into the city, and hauling out scrap materials. Here on the periphery live the cart operators, who let their horses free to feed themselves. Horses/carts strike us as an economical and environmental option for short-distance transport in a small city like this one.

Also in the horse zone, we pass by the country clubs, some of which are private clubs (what United Statesians tend to think of when we hear “country club”) and others are owned by large companies for the benefit of their employees. There are also new suburban-style high-end developments underway, even right next to the homes and communities of people without land title.

Finally, as we enter the core of the city, with paved streets, sidewalks, high-end consumer goods, and corner kiosks: the dog phase.

Dogs hang out all over the place. Some have their people, others no one in particular. Here are a few to give you a sample:

This one is following the Argentine custom of taking a siesta!

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