While enrolled at THINK Global School, students are encouraged to be introspective during the course of their studies and travels. When the students document these thoughts, we are often delighted with the results. Below you can find an essay written by 10th grader Alejandro R., who recounts a recent visit to the Recoleta Cemetery by his Global Studies class. Renowned for the ornate tombs and mausoleums that blanket its confines, Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Buenos Aires’ affluent and elite.
I FOUND MYSELF slightly confused while walking around the Recoleta Cemetery with Rebecca. Unbelievably, we were wandering around a very personal place for families as if we were visiting an average museum. We could clearly see sepulchers of all types lying inside extravagant chambers. Inevitably, uncanny thoughts filled my mind inside the cemetery. Death being so nearby and familiar instilled me with fear.
We dispersed from the main intersection into the street-like paths that lead to a labyrinth of mausoleums. Immediately taking a right we found a big structure hidden by a wall of ivy. The rusty, small door of the tome read, Gregorio Torres, the name of the man inside of this green igloo. Standing in front of this memorial we tried to imagine who was this man? What did he do? We came up with two options, “he was a blacksmith,” Becca said with conviction. Although, I have said, “this man must have been a writer, can’t you feel the poetry here?” This mausoleum was especially appealing to me because of its plants; green made a strong contradiction with death from my point of view in life. Plus, the unstopped growth of this ivy shows how the familiars of this man probably have lost a fortune, or perhaps they just forgot about their ancestor. A while after, we came up with personal conclusions and walked away. Even though, after researching, I found that Gregorio Torres was a senator for the province of Buenos Aires.
Minutes after stumbling upon Torres’ monument, we encountered a wrecked façade. Gray and destroyed, we could see shattered glass all around it. Its walls soon to fall and spider webs growing from it. This resembled the worst terror movies that one could ever imagine: a cemetery, spider webs, destruction, and darkness. Almost illegible, at the top of this devastated front cover we could see faded letters that read Domingo Echanis. We instantaneously thought about who this man used to be, probably a rich person forgotten by his family for obvious reasons or devastated by the changes the Argentine economy had. Although, the research I did didn’t proof any of our hypotheses right or wrong, his name was practically invisible.
In one of the far edges of the cemetery we found a clean mausoleum, built in perfectly shiny granite with tall grass in the center. Güemes was written on the short wall, a very well known last name in Argentina. His very clean written name made me thing of him as an architect, a person preoccupied about aesthetics. Güemes must have been a clean man, smart and driven by his passion. Also, without a doubt his family takes care of this tomb in a very decent way. Disregarding the tall grass growing in the center of his memorial, the mausoleum is clean and minimalistic. All in all, we could see different tombs and how they’ve been ruined or protected as years have passed in Buenos Aires. People have either remembered their ancestors or absolutely buried them far in their memory.