week 3 -- ABC is wonderful - the term is short for the 3 communities of Santo Andre, Sao Bernardo do Campo, and Sao Caetano. we have seen some really different things and met great people. Mosavi, our tour guide this week, is just great. Despite the language barrier, we manage to communicate, and she is so very pleasant. We visited GEDA, a school park (or park school). It was very interesting, and I was really impressed with the clever and creative ways they use trash to recycle. Friday nite the team had jantar (supper) at Puffe and Evelyns home. We made pizza. It was great. Evelyn had beautiful crocheted items all over the house, and she told me that her mother made everything. She then gave me a set of beautiful doilies. Today, Saturday, I spent with Fernandinho and Nubia and family. We went to the bazaar at the local church and had pastels for lunch with garapa to drink. this is fresh squeezed sugar cane juice. I now face the daunting task of packing my belongings, which again seem to have multiplied this week. tchau for now.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
It is hard to believe that we have completed the first half of our exchange in Brasil. The group traveled to Lindoia Thursday for the district conference. It was amazing. The opening ceremony, with the parade of flags for approximately 60 clubs followed by all of the related clubs was really impressive. the large meeting room was packed, and everyone seemed to be in a festive mood. It was very inspiring to see all of the clubs represented and actively participating in their conference. Fernandinho loaned me a computer to use the internet, but of course I had technical difficulties, and was never able to get the internet to work. Friday night was the GSE presentation, and I must admit that I was pretty nervous, but in the end everything worked out, and I relaxed considerable afterwards. Saturday our team attended the Rotary Kids conference. I is wonderful to see how important family is here. Maybe this is how they attract many younger members - by actively including family in the activities. Saturday night the costume party was great. I wasn~t thrilled at all about going to a costume ball dressed as a cheerleader, but it was fun. When I walked in the room, a couple of teenage boys dressed as football players spotted me and made me take a photo with them! I don~t think that would happen in the USA. Anyway, the band was wonderful, everyone danced, and ate, and danced, and ate, and danced. (you get the picture) I finally gave up at about 3.30 am, and went up to my room to pack. Sunday the return trip from Lindoia took six, yes six, hours. It seems that there was a major traffic wreck on the highway, and all of the traffice was diverted. By the time I got to my host family Sunday night it was 10 pm.
I am staying at the home of Nubia and Fernandinho and Amalia and Luiz Fernando this week. Fernandinho let me use one of his computers, but -- you guessed it- technical difficulties. When I returned home from a rotary club meeting at 1 am this morning he had it working, but I was pooped and hopped into bed. This morning we visited Pastoral da Crianca. The lady who met with us, Toninha, explained that the mission of this volunteer group is to reduce infant mortality. They provide in home support to pregnant women and children up to age 6. She then took us to visit a home in one of the favellas. The young woman who received us into her home was very gracious. She had a young daughter that looked to be about 4 or 5 years old, and a baby that looked about 1 year old. Her home consists of a kitchen about 4ft x 6ft, and a bedroom\ living room of about 8ft x 8ft. Despite the obvious poverty her home was very clean. Toninha explained that one of the things that the volunteers stress to the families that they serve is cleanliness and dignity.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
it is wednesday nite and i am attempting to pack my things because we leave for lindoia tomorrow morning. i have been staring at all of the stuff piled on the floor and on my bed. where did it all come from? my clean but wet laundry is hanging outside. thais has assured me that it should be dry by morning, but i am afraid i may be traveling to lindoia in my pj~s. but all is well-- i am in sao paulo, brasil!! these last couple of days have flown by. as usual, thais has arranged for us an inspiring tour. today we visited the rotary foundation school(s) in sao paulo. the facilities are beautiful (like everything that we have seen), the cafezinho (pardon my spelling - it is late) is delicious, and we are treated like royalty. most inspiring is the rotary foundation school for the deaf. yesterday we visited the centro de esporte, cultura e lazer. they provide services to all ages of the community at the facility. they also provide all aspects of family support at the single location. i met some wonderful ladies who were doing handwork and painting. of course the day would not be complete until we had bought several of the handcrafted items. the afternoon was spent at the botanical gardens.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
we have been in brasil for 8 days now. how time has flown. i was able to attend mass at the sao paulo mta shrine on thursday. thais arranged this for me, and i am so very grateful. the day was to end at 4pm, and the driver drop off all of the team before dropping me off, but we were running late, and nelson (pinch hitting for thais) told me that i was to be dropped off first. anyway, i was received warmly at the shrine, and after mass, met with father matheus and (my family will looove this) sister theo.
friday morning we had free, and i think i slept until it was time to leave for the afternoon. when i woke up, thais told me that she had been to the hospital for medicine or treatment. she has been going non-stop to arrange everything we need.
last night we went to the samba. i wasn~t there 5 minutes when someone spilled a beer over my head while cheering about something. brings back memories of week-ends at kyrles and crepes. it was really fun, but i wish rickey could have been there to dance with me. i was impressed by the atmosphere of the place. it was crowded, but not rowdy. everyone there was friendly and polite. there was actually toilet paper in the ladies bathroom.
after one week, communication is still a problem for me. i am trying my best, but it is very hard to understand the words, even in english. i am sure thais is really tired of repeating everything she says.
my observations after 8 days---
1-- this city is sooooo very big. there are people everywhere. (don~t they ever all go home?)
2-- every shop or resturant has some reference to a saint. they are everywhere. thais said that in june there are three big festivals centered around feast days of some saint or the other. reminds me of home- any excuse for a party!
3-- the people here are so very friendly. everyone smiles.
4-- the food here is delicious. the fruit is so fresh and plentiful, and the flavor explodes in your mouth.
5-- i was told that the beer here is the coldest anywhere, but at our camp, we can get it colder.
6-- these people are serious about security. there are locks and gates and iron bars everywhere.
they say that you can do anything in sao paulo, but i don~t think so. i can~t walk down the road to visit my in-laws sitting on their front porch. i can~t wave to the neighbors as they pass in front of my house on their tractor or 4-wheeler. i can~t sit on my back porch and see across the bayou. ( i think i even miss seeing those stupid cows and chickens.) i haven~t seen anyone fishing along the bayou bank. come to think of it, i don~t remember seeing a bayou bank.
Friday, May 22, 2009
wow- the week has flown by. it is hard to believe that tomorrow will mark the end of our first week in brasil. i am having technical difficulties uploading my pictures, and because i am using my hosts computer, my time is limited. we attended the RC Aeroporto meeting Tuesday night, and I had the opportunity to meet the Presidents Rep- Gary Huang- from Taiwan. Wednesday night we attended the founding meeting of a new club. The meeting was very long, but very nice. We left shortly after midnight, and people were still there mingling. Thursday morning we attended a meeting of a RC that is mostly women, and two men (aren`t they lucky) Our days have been filled with inspirational visits. We have had the priveledge to meet professionals that are pioneers in their respective fields, and they have welcomed us warmly and thanked US for visiting them. Go figure! Thais` son just came home, and will try to help me get some pics uploaded. I guess it will be easy for you to know if it works.Tchau for now, Nita