(via adinfinittum)Source: itzdivabxtch
The day has finally arrived. We are done with all the work and now it is time for ALL the play!
We finished up our last community health project on Tuesday and we sure went out with a bang. We were first SURPRISED by all our favorite interpreters who came down from Anchieta for the event!!! I want to apologize to our friend Lude for squeezing her too hard hugging when I first saw her walk into the dining area. So thankful for more time to spend with such wonderful friends. Despite the fact that we have only known our interpreters for less than a month, the connections we have made with all of them are deep and long-lasting, I’m sure of it.
A full day at the local school left us all smiling from a fulfilling day while also yawning from an exhausting day. When we arrived at the school at the cheerful hour of 7am, the school was ready to greet us with a full band ensemble and dance crew! The Brazilian culture really knows how to make visitors feel welcome.
They even invited all of us out during the dance portion. Our dad for the trip, Dr. Robert, was showing us all how it’s done.
After we were properly greeted, we split up into six different stations with various health education presentations, and physical fitness tests and measures. The school system here splits up the school day into two sections so we gave each presentation six times in the morning and five times in the afternoon. The dream team in the nutrition/exercise and body image room consisted of Amanda, our interpreter Iago, and myself. We had a lot of fun teaching about the food groups, how to eat healthy, why we should exercise and how to have a healthy view of ourselves. I made the same jokes every presentation so I know Iago got sick of translating about how the kids should eat protein so they can get “big” muscles like me 11 times throughout the day.
After we finished with all the presentations, we were bombarded in the courtyard by all the students who wanted pictures. They also wanted out autographs? It was strange, but awesomely flattering. We all commented about how we felt like rockstars around these kids. So we smiled a lot and signed our names in their notebooks!
Later that evening we went to a lovely seafood dinner prepared by our friends Sueli and Maxwell. Musical accompaniment for the night provided by the talented Lude and Jean.
Then we played some rousing games of Uno (YOU KNOW!) where I had to try hard to contain my competitive nature. Wednesday and Thursday were more relaxing days where were (supposed) to work on class work and study for our final exam, which was this morning. It was a very weird feeling to not be constantly on the move all day. We have to pack up everything in Anchieta today because we head out to RIO TOMORROW!! We’ll have our final goodbye to all our friends at the church here tonight (tooooo many goodbyes and each one is so hard in its own way!)
The amount of reflection and awareness that we all have had on this trip is astounding. It is difficult to process such profound changes going on among the people in our group as well as the people in the communities here. I am so grateful for friends here who have had conversations with me. I am so grateful for friends and family back home who have emailed and chatted with me about all these thoughts, emotions and concerns swirling around in my mind. The biggest concern I have is how to move forward beyond this trip.
I often get overwhelmed thinking about how to find my role in promoting health, seeking equity on a global scale, providing love, and growing all the while. With so many health issues plaguing the masses, so much negativity pervading our interactions, so many inequities being sustained, it has been difficult to keep myself focused on the positive commodities that exist. The past month has truly opened my eyes to the vast array of righteous, fully provisioned and able people that are wholeheartedly prioritizing their lives in pursuit of improvement for others. I am still scared of the state of affairs in the world, I am still unsure of my place in trying to help, and I am still overwhelmed at the daunting task of trying to find out. But one thing I am sure of is that any small thing one person can do to help another helps. The accumulation of these acts will be what tips the scale in the direction of good. The adding up, stockpiling, and amassing of these small kindnesses will be what is important. By not giving up, by not allowing any piece of compassion go unnoticed, and by fanning the flame with every spark of passion we can find, I unequivocally believe we can remain hopeful.
It is this conviction that has been so obvious to me here in Brazil. The passion, joy and hope I have seen day in and day out is what I hope to bring with me as I move forward beyond this trip.
And now off to the beach for a last afternoon in the sun in Anchieta!
Now Playing: “Follow the Road”- The Dunwells
“Get up and face the truth, life is up to you, just go forward, find your feet my friend, time heals everything, just go forward”
Hello, everyone! This is Leigh Ann’s roommate Evelynn, greeting you from Casa Chique (“sheeky”, meaning FANCY) Part II. Gem Jar*. I’m beyond honored to guest blog for her today, and further grateful for her friendship and consistent encouragement throughout this trip. Unlike LA’s succinct style, I tend to wander when I talk, crossing jungle paths and mountain trails, diving into deep water only to come up for air days later (it’s a skill you learn as a small Asian child), and in doing so find myself in a cab on the way to Toronto. All that to say: I’m wordy. See what I did there?
Onward! Hopefully you’ve read about our adventures and shared in our exhilerating joy in all of the exciting (and exhausting) activities in which we’ve taken part. This morning we waved goodbye to the group from Crossroads and have been planning for our last big health education program that will take place tomorrow in a school: 300+ kids, here we come. It would be impossible to chop, sliver, or dice these last three weeks into a few all-encompassing phrases, but feel free to sample the hor d’oeuvres brought to you by a very refined looking gentleman. I’m a metaphor fiend, forgive me.
One of the greatest blessings on this trip has been Leigh Ann’s willingness to share dialogue and to learn. She has been such a solace to me, and especially our team, because her enthusiasm and gusto (you musto have gusto!) are nothing short of contagious. She is quick to take charge and be a leader, and just as quick to support you in the most intentional -but never overbearing- way. Both a team player and a captain [insert Struggle Bus analogy here].
From practicing Portuguese slang to fartlek**-ing along the beach, to bopping around to music from a shared iPod on the bumpy rides to church, to playing with Brazilian nuggets (LAnguage for ‘small child’), to enjoying the loud sounds of peace and waves, to laughing until we’re on the verge of peeing, to praying with and for one another, to dead pan staring when there is a traffic jam of words formulating in our brains and nothing comes out, to whispering locked and loaded every night before bed when she snaps her neck pillow shut, to nodding and smiling in an encouraging – you can do it! way, to nodding and smiling in an I-just-watched-you-trip-over-that-while-drooling-over-your-popsicle way, to fanning herself when she starts to cry because she sweats? when that happens?, to being there when all of us talk about how we don’t want to leave… Leigh Ann has incorporated so much of herself into this trip, into investing in others, and truly impacting the places and people we’ve served.
She’s done that in this beautiful, southern corner of the world, and she’s done that in the hearts (meu coração!, boom boom, boom boom) of her friends. I’ve been so blessed to be a part of it. Thank you, Mama and Papa Ganz(ar) for instilling your daughter with an undeniable hip factor =)
*GEM JAR: a phrase we’ve used to signify “let’s not forget that”/ “did that really just happen?” When we get back to the States we will be using a real Gem Jar in our house, to save our memories, to share the laughter.
**fartlek is a Swedish term, so I’ve learned, that is an interval training method for cross-country and track runners. I am not very good at fartlek-ing.
A few pictures, all gems.
It’s difficult to climb that rock, you say? Challenge accepted.
“I don’t know what’s going on” —> 86% of what happens on a daily basis.
Thanks for stopping by- tchau y’all!
To say that the last week has been “busy” would be an overt understatement. Each day was very different but followed the same general schedule of kids programs in the afternoon and an evening service at different mission churches around the city of Anchieta. As each day progressed, the afternoon programs went more smoothly.
The evening services became a small beacon of hope for us each day during the afternoon. Being able to just sit, listen to stories about other’s lives and sing together was relaxing. Though sometimes we were too tired so it was all we could do to keep a smile on our faces.
So much went on each day and it would take a novel to describe fully, but here’s a small snapshot of each day.
Monday: Jabaquara- chaos with the kids in the afternoon but the pastor’s joy and enthusiasm was infectious later that evening.
Tuesday: Inhauma- small, but caring crowd in a community that has historically not been very receptive to the church. We could see that the pastor and his family were so thankful we were there.
Wednesday: Simpatia- the school kids were loving the crafts, puppet shows and games we played with them.
Rural community, but we saw some incredible views and met some incredible people
Thursday: Recanto do Sol- great group of kids in the afternoon. We had so much fun dancing and making crafts with them. Still hectic, but manageable. Then we headed back for a renewing service at night. Inspiring stories there.
I love these little nuggets.
Friday: Bela Horizonte- last day. Small crowd again but as soon as the pastor says, with a smile on his face, how happy he is to have us there, its easy to remember why we are there.
Yesterday morning we got up early to take a 30 minute drive up the coast and hopped on a boat for a little tour of the mangroves and a bit of the open sea. Ev and I were PUMPED.
It was awesome until we got to the open sea. I’ll set the scene: boat full of people, constant churning waves, and then me clutching desperately onto the boat rail while hopelessly staring to the horizon to try and not puke. My stomach was rolling just about as much as the waves. Thankfully, my wonderful roommate was there to capture the moment on film for me:
Overall, the ride was awesome though. Great people, great scenery.
Then some down time in the afternoon providing the perfect time for a nap before heading back to the main church for a service all the different mission churches we had been at during the week. Today was our last afternoon children’s program and it was the best, in my opinion. Great one to end the week on.
One thing I have been thankful for this week is the role of the word “tune” while I’ve been here in Brazil. Tune can either be taken in the musical context, or mean “to be sensitive to.” The music and tunes we hear at church are energetic, engaging and full of joy. The tunes Ev and I listen to on the bus rides or in our room are relaxing and have the ability to bring us back to baseline. But more importantly, we have all been getting in tune with the communities and people we are interacting with. Spending the short time we have with them, we are getting a glimpse into their lives and catching a tidbit of their stories.
These will be the most cherished parts of this trip. Thankful for the musical tunes we are experiencing. More thankful to be able to tune in with the phenomenal people we meeting.
Also, start getting excited now for a guest post next time!!!
Now Playing: The Sea Is Calling – The Temper Trap
“At night when it’s quiet and the waves come rolling in, the merchant ship’s light paints the dark as we sing, the one who is great, who but words cannot be seen when all left is love, there will be no in between”
Check out this little number I wrote for my roommate Evelynn’s blog. While you’re there, take a gander at her other wonderful posts and get a glimpse of Brazil from her perspective!
Our arrival into Anchieta can be summed up by saying it was a breath of relief and rejuvenation before gearing up for the two weeks ahead. This small fishing village is a stark contrast from the city of Vitoria. Much quieter and more rural. We arrived on Friday and took a nice walk to the beaches with the whole crew.
Saturday could not have been a more perfect day. It was the first day we had off from obligations since we’ve been here. Evelynn and I were pretttty excited to sleep in. Hopes of that were smashed since both of us woke up at 7am ready for the day! Early morning beach time was just what we needed. The soothing sound of the waves and invigorating feel of the warm Brazilian sun made for a sensational start to the weekend.
After what was perhaps a little too much sun (I was red like lobster), we went back in for lunch, only to return out to the beach for a walk.
Kelly, Evelynn and I’s walk had a mission though! We were commissioned by our professor on what would later find out was a fool’s errand. Boogie boards! The waves here are big enough to catch some surf so our youthful enthusiasm sent us on our way. In the midst of that enthusiasm we forgot to ask for directions. So we set out along the sand, weaving in and out of the waves and chasing crabs.
An hour and a half later, the town and shops were still nowhere in sight. As I foraged through a jungle path inland, hoping to catch a glimpse of our destination, we quickly realized we were not of even close. Being over-confident of my Portuguese skills, we decided I should ask for directions. So we stopped at the first building we saw, which turned out to be a tartaruga (sea turtle) preservation site.
Thankfully our “Baylor in Brazil” backpack was recognized by one of the workers, Bianca. She goes to the church we are working with and was our savior that day. After a bit of confusion, we realized we were an hour walking away from the center of the town! So we did what anyone else who is lost, tired and only in a bathing suit would do: took a tour of the turtle site and watched a video about the importance of sea turtles (“Extinction is forever!”)
Then, Sunday morning we woke up to see the sunrise over the beach. It was well worth the lost sleep. The state of Espirito Santo is the only one in Brazil that you can see the color pink in the sunrise. And boy did we see some pink! Words fail to describe how incredible that experience was.
The rest of Sunday was encompassed by two church services (awesome music at this church! I couldn’t help but sway along to every song), lots of interacting with the church members there, and even a little nap on the beach, which left me delusional and groggy after I flailed around in the sand.
Yesterday we headed out to our first church in Jabaquara to spend the whole day doing vacation bible school, health fair and an evening service. Each day we will be heading to a new church to do the same full schedule. I am too tired to write in depth about it, but there were a ton of little kids (I’m quickly realizing I work better with teens and older…), played some futebol with some of the boys, very energetic pastor at the evening service, and then our bus ride home full of people who had clearly been on overdrive.
Going to a different church today for another round! Already there has been a constant stream of cafe com leite and I’m predicting it will continue, hopefully with a healthy dose of patience sprinkled in.
Now Playing: “That’s Whats Up” -Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Love is a shelter. Love is a cause. Love goes on forever. Yeah, love will lead us all.”
I’m going to go ahead and apologize in advance for the length of this post. Lots to share and if I get too wordy, then the pictures themselves tell a pretty poignant story.
The last few days have been filled to the gill (thanks to Jill for that little gem of a phrase.) Monday was rainy and cold here, so having a planning and class day inside was a welcome change to the hustle of running all over town. Tuesday held more planning and organizing in the morning, a run on the beach, and then back to our favorite church in the evening for a presentation on relationships. Two great moments from that night: 1) A goofy skit we did about the steps towards a relationship and our two married professors were the actors and showing the awkward parts of the beginning of a relationship.
And 2) some of the other married couples in the church wrote out a list of advice they wanted to share with the adolecents of the church about relationships. Some of the advice was funny, like never being indifferent when your spouse asks if his/her pants are too tight. Other advice was serious, like making sure you are patient with relationships.
Wednesday and today have been the best days yet here.
On Wednesday I went running and walking on the beach with three of our interpreters: Lude, Lorena and Caio. I was so happy they wanted to go with me! They were not so happy I wanted to go at 7:30am! Had a lot of fun laughing and enjoying the sunshine (well, at least I did). The afternoon was an epic tour through the chocolate factory in the next town over, Vila Velha. To get there we had to drive over the Tercera Ponte (Third Bridge), which had some of the most incredible views I have ever seen.
We were all in awe.
Once we got to the Garoto Factory, we had to put on these ridiculous gowns and caps to preserve sanitation inside. Unfortunately they didn’t allow cameras inside. But fortunately they don’t allow cameras so we couldn’t document our whole crew looking like they belonged on an episode of ER. Inside the factory, it was all I could do to contain myself to not say “The snozzberries taste like snozzberries” at the turn of every corner. We were like small children in there oohing and ahhing at all the machines and chocolate and ALL YOU CAN EAT FREE SAMPLES. Bomboms for days!!
To describe Wednesday night as overwhelming is the understatement of century. First, Evelynn did an awesome job covering the drugs and alcohol presentation with the church. And after, the church members put together a little slideshow of pictures that had been taken throughout the last week of us all together. That in itself was enough to get me choked up a bit.
But that wasn’t all they had in store for us. After, they presented us one by one with framed pictures of the whole congregation and our names as a thank you for all we had done. One of my friends, Luana presented it to me and then the “ugly cry” started.
The fact that they wanted to give us all lembranças (remembrances) was moving. Tear stained cheeks and puffy eyes galore. We were all so sentimental, despite the fact that we had only been together a week and spoke two different languages. Proves that actions can speak volumes too. The genuine and warming love that they have showed us is irrefutable.
They had even prepared “a few treats” out in the courtyard for after the presentation. And by “a few,” they actually meant tray after tray of desserts, meats, breads and juices. A girl could get used to that. There was also more singing, dancing, and music, because as the pastor said “we don’t know how to do anything without music.”
When it finally came time to say goodbye, there were of course more tears. Slight comic relief provided by me tripping over the sidewalk as I walked out left everyone laughing a bit. It was clear that both our group and their church were impacted and changed by the other. Can’t ask for anything more than that.
Today was another awesome day in Brazil. With the first round of health education programs done, it was time to be tourists! We all piled in the van and took a drive with some stunning views up into the mountains in Espirito Santo.
Our first stop was at a little resort that has an incredible overlook area. The remarkable rolling hills, green coffee plantations, and staggering array of greenery left us all in wonder.
Next we headed to a little German-influenced community where we took a stroll down a little cobblestone path and perused the various shops.
Next on the docket was my favorite part of the day as we explored Pedra Azul (Blue Rock). The jaw-dropping rock formation was the backdrop for a little hike up the hill and of course many more rounds of pictures.
There were also some rocks around the parking area that our professor told us were a tradition to climb. He said it was usually a competition to see who could climb it first. Challenge accepted.
After we all gawked in reverence at the rock for a while longer, we headed to lunch at this real chique hotel. Roman inspired architecture and phenomenal views left us all wishing we were staying there for the rest of our time here! Lunch itself was a treat too. Especially the desserts: flan, coconut/chocolate delicacies and many more left us all feeling like diabetes onset is coming soon.
The final stops on our day trip were to small farms that produced coffee, liquors, cheese and yogurt. Fresh artisanal Brazilian coffee roasted the same day that we bought it?! DREAMWORLD. Can’t wait to share and try it out at home!
Tonight is our last night in Vitoria before we head to another city, Anchieta. Very sad to be leaving Vitoria and all our tremendous friends here but excited to work in more churches and schools!
Now Playing: “Day That I Die” –Zac Brown Band
“Cause I believe that I, was born with a song inside of me.
Never question why, I just kept on singing these melodies”
Quick recap of the last couple days: All have been jam packed, that is for dang sure.
Thursday was the first day of vacation bible school at the church. So many little nuggets running around everywhere. Speaking a thousand words a minute, usually only one of which I can actually catch.
That night was my night to coordinate the presentation and teach about nutrition. I think it went really well! I had an awesome support team helping with every step. So thankful for them!
Friday was great too. Ev and I sat out at the beach for a long while in the morning, mentally preparing ourselves for the craziness of singing, dancing, and playing with the kids later. The presentation theme was stress and our professor, Dr. Eva, gave a very powerful testimony that brought us all to tears. Another favorite part of the night was raffling off some Baylor cross country shirts that I had brought and was so happy to share with our church friends!
While waiting for the bus to take us home, Ev and I somehow ended up in a game of freeze tag with some little boys. Absolute chaos. I had no idea who was it. The boys just kept screaming “GELA!” and “DESCONGELA!” (freeze and unfreeze), which took us a while to understand.
All the little ones were also fascinated by my hat. Everyone wanted a picture in it. I almost peed my pants laughing after one of the older boys grabbed it, put it on and proceeded to strike a Michael Jackson pose. So funny. I almost didn’t get the hat back so when it was time to leave around 10:45 pm, Ev and I were pathetically calling out “Meu chapéu, meu chapéu”(my hat) to get it back.
Saturday was a wonderful day that started off with Frisbee and futebol at the beach with our incredible interpreter friends. Great times. They teach us lots of funny phrases, my favorite of which is the word for fancy: chique (pronounced sheeky). We use it about everything, including “ohhhh voce chique” (you fancy). Then back to the church for a health fair, where Jill, Jean, and I were in charge of measuring BMI. Our severe lack of communicating skills meant most of the work fell on our interpreter, Jean, so Jill and I mostly just smiled and took height and weight.
Later last night, the church wanted to have a dinner for us so we went to the leader’s apartment and were surprised by many of the church members with dancing, music, singing, lots of food, and as always, lots of laughing. I immensely appreciate the LOVE of music everyone has here. They had a bunch of drums, tambourines, and shakers.
For a while I was playing (well, attempting to play) this little drum with the Brazilian flag on it. Chique.
SO thankful for this community here. I spoke a little bit this morning at a bigger church we went to about what led me to be in Brazil. Talking about how loving and welcoming everyone is here got me all emotional (seems to be a theme these days….) I was struggling not to cry in front of the whole church. My friend Camila was interpreting for me and said she was hoping I wouldn’t cry because she would have started too. So much to process about everything we are learning here.
After church was a churrasca lunch. Meat is delicious, so much better here!
Heading back to the smaller church tonight for service, greatly looking forward to seeing everyone there again, some deep connections are being made!
Now Playing: “Hymn #101” –Joe Pug
“And I’ve come to be untroubled in my seeking.
And I’ve come to see that nothing is for naught”
The American concept of time has been foreign to us while we’ve been here in Brazil. Things really do move more slowly outside the US. The fact that we have only been here less than a week is mind-blowing. Though all our days are long, and we fall into bed exhausted, I am thankful days seem lengthy because there is so much to take in. Tuesday night was a perfect example of what happens when we’re tired but still have to interact with other people. Exhibit A: Evelynn, Jill and I after dinner at Art Pão. Things got weird.
I have fallen in love with this city and especially the people here. Wednesday afternoon we had some free time before our night program at the church. Evelynn and I took a little adventure into the city. Our two-hour walk led us to Parque Pedra de Cebola. This little oasis of a park in the middle of the city was a perfect excursion. Not to mention the fact that the greenery and views were enchanting.
Vitoria é muito bonito!
Our first night at the igreja (church) was a big success. As I mentioned earlier, the church community was so welcoming on Sunday and last night was no different. The topic was exercise and Jill did a fantastic job. Her passion and excitement is inspiring and I can only hope when it is my turn to teach that I can emulate that.
Dancing was a huge hit after the presentation. So crowded in the church but the joy and laughter when we would run into each other (as I inevitably did) made up for it. Some of the awesome teens got on stage next and taught us a dance, which we LOVED. It was a video called Drive the Bus and had all these goofy moves to do. My personal favorite was “The Carlton,” which if you are a 90s kid and have watched Fresh Prince of Bel-Air you will know what I’m talking about. If not, look it up on Youtube and try to picture a church full of Americans and locals all laughing together while doing The Carlton dance.
But the best part of the night was talking to all our new friends after the program. And by talking, I mean lots of broken Portuguese and lots of patience on the part of the church members. Some of the teens have been immensely helpful. Even though I’m like a kindergarten child learning my numbers and getting so excited when they clap when I get them right, I’m so thankful for the connection with them. Happy that I have learned enough that my personality can show and I can finally convey what I’m thinking. I told them my “Coco” story (see previous blog entry) and they thought it was hilarious. We talked about sports, and school. They taught me a ton of words and phrases, most of which I’ve forgotten already but am sure they will be quick to test me about it tonight. Excited to go back tonight!
One of the things our professors said earlier in the week that has stuck with me is, “ONLY PEOPLE MATTER.” I found that to be true beyond measure here. Would appreciate prayers for tonight’s presentation, I’m teaching nutrition!
Now Playing: Gaucho by DMB (I’ve been meaning to add a little “now playing” section, Evelynn and I have had a constant soundtrack to the trip everytime we are in the room)
“We gotta do much more than believe, if we wanna see the world change.”
The past few days have truly been a bedlam of activity. Class, church, socializing with locals, planning, and trying to get enough to rest to have energy for it all have been the mainstays of the weekend.
But don’t get me wrong. I am overjoyed to be overwhelmed.
On Saturday we organized our materials and mapped out a plan for the health programs we will be doing in the church later this week. We also had our first global health class. I sometimes forget that I’m taking a course because we have so many other priorities of while we’re here. Learning in a classroom is hard to sit through when we’re already learning lessons of such value in the community. After a delicious meal of hamburgers (Portuguese word is the same as English) and sucos (fantastic fresh juices) we walked to meet the pastors of the church for acai (a sorbet type dessert with lots of goodies on top).
The pastor and his family were so welcoming to us. Playing with his children was our first taste of what was to ensue on Sunday at church. Those nuggets sure do love Americans!
Also had my first encounter with a “cultural botch” as I now refer to it. After eating a delicious lunch at Fondes Cafeteria, I was inspired by our new 7-year-old friend, Mariana, to get a picolé (popsicle) for our walk home. Searching through the selection of mango, passion fruit, and coconut, I excitedly decided on coconut.
Instinctively, I called out, “ahh COCO!!” (pronounced co-co) with much enthusiasm. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact I have no volume control with my voice, so obviously it was loud. To my immediate dismay, our director Dr. Robert turned with a shocked look and said “NO! Its coco” (pronounced co-coo). Such a slight difference but it comes with major implications. When said as “co-coo,” it means coconut. When it is said “co-co,” it means poop, and not a polite term for it either.
In a crowded Brazilian cafeteria, I was holding my popsicle like it was the Olympic torch, yelling “SHIT!”
So there’s that.
Sunday morning started early with church from 8-11:30. Yesterday was the first day we drove to the bairro (neighborhood) where we will be working.
The church we are working with is beyond words amazing. Very humble on the outside but the people and the passion they have is freaking incredible. Our professor gave a little sermon and his perfectly relevant message resonated with the us all. He talked about physics at first (the science person in me loved that!) and how when two particles are shot at each other, there are three options: they don’t interact at all, they interact but bounce back unchanged, or interact and are changed in the process. What a great framework for our time here.
The church service in the evening was the one that was mind-blowing. They started off with a recreation of that dance/skit to the Lifehouse song “Everything” so of course we were all crying. The pastor’s sermon (we had little headphone sets with translations) was powerful too. He talked about God’s will as a plan A in our lives and talked about his own testimony of being in the drug trade and being in jail. Incredibly powerful. After the service, we walked outside and were bombarded with kids and pictures and we were out in the courtyard for about an hour and a half interacting, talking (well, trying to at least), taking LOTS of pictures, and eating some wonderful bolo de chocolate (chocolate cake).
Sunday night has by far been the most engaging and exciting part of the trip. The church already loves and values us so much. Portuguese is a tough language to understand, the words are similar to Spanish but the pronunciation is much different. I’m trying hard and making a fool of myself trying to talk to everyone but I’m really enjoying learning it! The small children love helping, even when their form of helping is saying “NAO!” when we get something wrong. Tough love.
Anticipation over teaching them wellness and health in the next week is bubbling in us all. Planning for our health programs has taken on a new importance now that we have interacted with the community members and are already walking away changed. Can’t wait to hopefully help them change too.