Pope Francis: Slum Priest

Pope Francis is known as a "slum priest" in his homeland of Argentina. For him, it's a term of endearment. These photographs were taken inside one of the poorest neighborhoods in the pope's homeland. They're called Villas (pronounced VEE-shahs) and this is what life if like in Villa 18, about an hour away from the center of the bustling capitol city of Buenos Aires.

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Karen Araiza
May 30, 2015: Kids are kids. Until they know any different.
Pope Francis is known as a "slum priest" in his homeland of Argentina. For him, it's a term of endearment. These photographs were taken inside one of the poorest neighborhoods in the pope's homeland. They're called Villas (pronounced VEE-shahs) and this is what life is like in Villa 18, about an hour away from the center of the bustling capitol city of Buenos Aires.These kids are playing outside on a Saturday morning. The vibrant color and sassy faces distract you from the smell of raw sewage. Proper sanitation is a basic need that's not met. Those muddy little hands not only wreak, they lead to an exhaustive cycle of poor health.
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Karen Araiza
Patricio Lynch is a seminarian. He has been following in the footsteps of Pope Francis and working among the poor in this Villa or shanty town. WATCH Jim Rosenfield's story on Villa 18 .
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Karen Araiza
If Patricio's education plan -- funding through a Malvern, Pa. organization called Amigos de Jesus -- is successful, these kids will have a much better future than their parents.
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Karen Araiza
Patricio explains to Telemundo 62 anchor Ramon Zayas how most of the Villas (pronounced Vee-shahs) are often controlled by drug dealers.
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Karen Araiza
Patricio invited us to spend a day with him inside Villa 18, a neighborhood of about 6,000 where a few painted homes stand out.
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Karen Araiza
Color feels like a luxury here.
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Karen Araiza
Maybe because the color always bleeds back into the bland.
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Karen Araiza
Most dwellings remain the color of the natural materials or scraps used to construct walls -- a lot of cinder block, brick and tin.
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Karen Araiza
We met the girls -- all in middle school -- who are the first students benefiting from the generosity of Amigos de Jesus. They get to leave Villa 18 and attend a private school.
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Karen Araiza
We shared the pope's favorite drink, mate, with one family.
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Karen Araiza
Mate is a communal drink shared among family and friends. "Azúcar o no?" we were asked. Without sugar, mate tasted to me like unsweetened tea.
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Karen Araiza
The parents of students being helped by Amigos de Jesus are very grateful. And this dad happens to be a big Eagles fan!
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Karen Araiza
We are back outside, as are many kids on this Saturday, excited to have visitors.
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Karen Araiza
This is the playground in Villa 18, which is back at the tail end of the village -- on this day it seems to be the depot for debris. It's also an alley for the type of commerce that can rob a child of childhood.
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Karen Araiza
On the Saturday we visited, the playground was empty.
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Karen Araiza
Patricio and a nun who is also devoted to helping kids at Villa 18, help organize activities at the simple building they use for worship and church activities.
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Karen Araiza
Breaks in this path leading to the church assault your senses until you have time to adjust.
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Karen Araiza
Here's a closer look -- that gunk is raw sewage. There is virtually no grass or vegetation. Dogs do their business on these sidewalks.
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Karen Araiza
When Pope Francis talks of compassion and mercy, close friends and co-workers tell us those beliefs spring from neighborhoods like this where he feels comfortable and comforted.
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Karen Araiza
"He really misses his time in the Villas," we're told.
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Karen Araiza
A few families have the luxury of a microwave oven.
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Karen Araiza
Most folks exist with what many families in the U.S. might consider bare necessities. No washers, dryers or dishwashers.
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Karen Araiza
The taste of a popsicle must be enough to provoke a universal smile for children.
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Karen Araiza
And futbol or what we call soccer, is the national sport in Argentina. Passion for this sport is collective, no matter where you come from or where you might be headed.
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Karen Araiza
We are headed away now. Reluctantly.
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Karen Araiza
"Respect the Neighborhood."
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