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                       28 Jan 2008

Scene:  Small parade of gauchos

Overlay Title

Some say that the word "gaucho," referring to the Argentine cowboy, came from an indigenous word that means orphan, a descriptive name for these independent cowboys that were neither loved nor ruled by anyone.

Scene:  Big parade - gauchos walking, riding

Today the gaucho is a cultural symbol of Argentina featured in parades and famous for exotic dress and fierce competition but seemingly without any real influence in modern Argentina.

Scene:  Gauchos dancing -gaucho on horse

Their colorful dress, well-groomed horses and legendary skills on horseback keep this symbol alive.  Much like the cowboy of the North American West, the popularity and legends have grown larger than life.

Scene:  Bucking bronco - crowd

Their free lifestyle and fun-loving nature make them an object of emulation by many.

Scene:  Small rodeo - breaking horses - hanging around corral

Rodeos - both large and small - are occasions for celebrating and renewing gaucho tradition and culture.  Rodeos provide an important opportunity for the gaucho to display his most prized attribute-unflinching courage in any circumstance.

Scene:  Horse roundup

In early times, the gauchos refused to do any work unless they were riding a horse.  They saw common labor as the ultimate degradation and did not value home and family.  They spent as much time as possible away from home, fighting as guerrilla soldiers against early attempts to unite Argentina's provinces under one central government.

Scene: Cattle in field

But the wars were lost, barbed wire fences were erected, new breeds of cattle introduced, and management practices changed.  The waves of European immigration into Argentina pushed aside the gauchos, who in turn rejected immigrant culture.  They became orphans in the very territory they had fought for.

Scene:  Scenes in Fernandez, sheep, cattle roundup

In order to survive, they settled in small towns such as Fernandez in the rural areas of the provinces.  They struggled to find work - even caring for sheep --- and became the hired hands working for large landowners where their skills were employed to round up, brand, and maintain the cattle herds.  Here they also were required to fix fences and perform other manual labor tasks.  Wages, however, were very low. Even so, they still play a vital role in Argentina's livestock industry.


Scene:  GG shrine - barbecue - hats, boots, mate cups, plaques, etc.

With the feeling of empty opportunities for the future, it is understandable that these orphans would seek to cling to past greatness.  The most famous gaucho of them all was Antonio Gil, known as Gaucho Gil.  He is worshipped by many  not as a skilled horseman  but as a martyr who has the power to intervene and persuade God to grant favors.  Gaucho Gil takes the place of Jesus for his followers because his death in 1875 was believed to represent the shedding of innocent blood. Even though he was hung on a tree that once stood here for deserting military duties and caught living with an unmarried girl, these followers are rapidly growing in number.  People believe that many miraculous happenings have occurred related to Gaucho Gil.

This shrine located outside Mercedes in Corrientes Province was set up to honor this folk hero.  People come here to pay their respects and pray to this patron saint. This also serves as an economic enterprise marketing various Gaucho Gil memorabilia.  Every eighth of January, over 100,000 people flood this area to honor him on the anniversary of his death.  Many of them camp out in the fields nearby.


Since most gauchos cling fiercely to tradition, reaching them with anything new is difficult.  They continue to exude a macho air and reject most opportunities for change.  They simply are not interested in the effeminate, weak Jesus they have always seen in pictures and church images.

Scene:  at the small rodeo

Recently, some North American cowboys showed them that horses could be broken without violent treatment.  This provided an opportunity to introduce the most macho person they knew, Jesus Christ.

Scene:  Jamey riding bull

The Argentine cowboys do not believe that bulls can be ridden.  This also was an opportunity to demonstrate that one can be brave and skillful and still believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.  When the time came for the North American bull rider to demonstrate his skill, many were skeptical but excited about seeing an attempt to ride the most aggressive bull to be found in the neighborhood.  The expected outcome was that the young rider would be immediately bucked off the bull, greatly embarrassed and probably injured.

Closing Scene: volunteer horsemen working with gauchos

Who is going to show the gauchos that they do not have be orphans in God's eyes?  Who is going to tell them that they can be adopted as sons and become children of the King?  Will YOU?

OVERLAY:  (centered)

Will you GO?

Will you GIVE?

Will you PRAY?

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