School No. 38 “President Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín”, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year (since the administration of Tierra del Fuego took over the institution, although the school program has been in place since 1978) is run by a couple of teachers composed of a woman from Jujuy (Soledad Otaola) and a man from Corrientes (Denis Barrios) who live in the Fuegian city of Río Grande.
Denis Barrios, from Corrientes, a Physical Education teacher, spoke exclusively with Carlos Simón on the Radio Dos Breakfast program, and told what it is like to live in Argentine Antarctica: “I am living in Tierra del Fuego, I am a teacher, a Physical Education teacher With my wife we presented a project and there was a selection where out of 10 couples they chose one and it was the two of us”.
life in Antarctica
The Esperanza base has the particularity of being the only Antarctic station in which the scientific and military personnel assigned to spend the winter there are accompanied by their families for what functions as a town that includes independent houses, a church, a school, a post office , a radio station and a civil registry to the usual Antarctic structure of hangars and laboratories.
Denis Barrios specified: “We are at the Esperanza base teaching primary school and kindergarten. We have been here for a week. First we were in Buenos Aires doing isolation and then we traveled here, we came from El Palomar on the Hércules, to Río Gallegos, and then we went to the Marambio base and from there we went up to the ‘icebreaker’, where we spent three days to get there. Due to weather conditions we couldn’t go down, we arrived by helicopter.”
life in the south
The teacher from Corrientes recalled: “I came to Tierra del Fuego when I was very young because my father was a police officer and in the 1970s he came to look for work. He was a territorial police officer, the whole family moved, I was here all my childhood. I was two years older or less, it was in the middle of the island, surrounded by hills and mountains, and the winter was very harsh, with snowfall, it was a very nice childhood, very nice memories in that”.
At the same time, the Physical Education teacher told the “Breakfast” program: “As for when we get up, around 7:30 in the morning, we get ready to go to school, it’s about 50 or 60 meters from my house. I see the school from my house, we put on our thermal clothing because there is wind and snow, which reaches hip height, that’s why we go out fully covered so that the skin does not touch the cold”.
And he added: “This year there are two boys in kindergarten and five in primary school and there are some in secondary school: there are 8 in total. We are in charge of the boys in kindergarten and primary school.”
In the same sense, regarding the time that he will stay in Antarctica, Denis mentioned: “it is planned that we will be here all year round, but it depends on the climatic conditions.”
In addition, Carlos Simón inquired about his wife’s work, and the man from Corrientes explained: “My wife is from Jujuy, a degree teacher, she is in charge of traditional subjects and some courses and workshops that we are going to do.”
Finally, about how long it has been since he came to Corrientes, Professor Barrios maintained: “I haven’t been there for two or three years because of the pandemic and when we presented the project, we had to keep isolating ourselves, it’s something pending that I have , my parents live near San Luis del Palmar, but when the campaign ends I’m going to visit them”.
Interview Denis Barrios
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