In the Ezpeleta Este neighborhood, a mile or so from downtown Buenos Aires, Alejandro Pérez [BBVA Francés, Argentina] walks the streets to the sound of tango music. Making it here wasn’t easy.
“I don’t want to go through life and not leave anything behind,” asserts Alejandro. He’s not talking about material things, but improving people’s lives. “Knowing that you’re getting a kid away from the television or off the street for a while is a very rewarding experience. Transforming their lives, giving them something that will change their way of being in the world, that’s what’s important. That is society’s mission: Improving people’s lives.
”The only way to achieve this is to get to work. “It’s easy to stay home and talk about how bad things are and complain. Not everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved. That’s the difference. That’s the transformation, doing something about it. And it changes you in the process.”
Everyday Alejandro is in touch with people who are poverty-stricken. He’s obsessed with trying to help make the world a little better place. “I don’t want to see anymore injustice. I don’t want to see people who don’t have enough to eat, people with shabby clothes. I know it’s tough, but we have to do something to change it.”
"It’s easy to stay home and talk about how bad things are and complain about it. But not everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved "
RIGHT OUT OF A MOVIE
Whoever has seen “Luna de Avellaneda” by the Oscar-winning director Juan José Campanella would understand Alejandro’s story perfectly. In the movie, which is set during the economic crisis that rocked the country, a group of neighbors tries to save a recreation center that the kids from the area use every day. It just so happens that Alejandro participated in the movie.
In his real-world case, it was the Barrio Ferroviario “Ezpeleta Este” recreation center. He started going to take tango classes, a hobby he picked up when he was very young but for reasons that don’t have anything to do with dancing. “When I was 11 they organized a class at my school. A girl I liked had signed up, so I did it to get closer to her. In the end, she only went to one class, but I’ve been going my whole life.”
Over time, he took on greater responsibility. “When I was 18, my tango teachers went to teach in the United States and they left me in charge of the class.”
In 2008, the economic crisis and a lack of funding had left the recreation center in very bad shape. “They knew me in the neighborhood because of the tango classes and my parents helped out at the school. They asked me to take charge of the recreation center. Of course I said yes, because I couldn’t stand by and let it go down the tubes.
”However, when Alejandro finally took a closer a look, the situation was much worse than he had imagined. “The walls were destroyed. It was terrible to see it in such deplorable shape.” Alejandro and a group of friends managed to get the project up and running. “We did it all with our own money, because at that time we didn’t have any means of raising funds. We painted the walls, fixed the furniture and made improvements. Then we got all the paperwork up to date.”
Today, now that he knows the recreation center will survive, he can focus on his passion: “Walking around Buenos Aires, listening to the tango on your headphones is the best way to understand the music. As you see the architecture, the people, the culture of Buenos Aires… that’s a tango in itself.”
JUST ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE TEAM
Alejandro’s job at BBVA also allows him to stay close to his neighborhood. He knows that his role as an account manager is just as important as any other position. “I don’t think I’m any better or worse than anyone else. I’m just another member of the team. Either when I’m acting as director of the recreation center or working at the branch office -- the goal is to meet the challenges we face every day and achieve our objectives as a team.”
"I don’t want to go through life and not leave anything behind ”
Name: Alejandro Pérez
Position: Account manager at Berazategui branch [BBVA Francés – Argentina]
Function: Be part of a team
Hobby: Tango culture
Dream: Leave a better world behind for my kids