Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Brazil! (Day 4)

Wow, it's amazing that leaving a place I've only spent four days in can be so heartbreaking!  We are pulling out of port as I write and I almost teared up thinking how wonderful my time here was, the awesome people I met, and how long it will be before I get to go back here.  I am mostly thinking about the people, especially the guides I really got to know.  I now wish that I had asked for their e-mail address or something so I could see how those English lessons one guide was giving his daughter turned out, or see pictures of the child another guide was planning to adopt.  I guess I'll just have to be content that for a few hours we knew each other and talked about our lives.  

Today didn't start out quite as pensive.  I could have slept in, but some noise woke me up early.  I spent my extra hours tidying up the room, getting ready for the day at the orphanage, and updating my blog.  For the first time, I decided to try doing this trip 100% incognito.  No wheelchair, no cooling vest, no explaining my possible need for extra assistance to the leading professor or guides.  It worked out fairly well with the exception of some carsickness from sitting in the back of the bus.  (I'm used to the front where the professors, guides, and disabled people (me) sit.)  The traffic was bad today since it is a friday so we got a slow start.  I had fun chatting with one of the guides who decided to sit in the back new to me and waving to people on the sidewalk.  I challenge any other city to have strangers be so warm in their responses.  I shared many more laughs with random pedestrians as we waved, made goofy faces, and I took pictures of them posing.  One street side vendor even made a motion to symbolize him giving us his heart.  It was a lot of fun and goes to show that connections can be made even if it's only in the seconds it takes to drive or walk by someone.  
The field program of the day was a service visit to one of the orphanages for the city.  I wasn't sure how much service we actually did, but I sure had fun!  The facility was very nice with large grounds complete with a playground, field for sports, and trampoline.  Another homey touch were the handful of dogs that roamed around begging for attention.  (Unfortunately I did not reciprocate due to the flea infatuation the dogs had.)  The kids were a lot of fun!  I'm pretty sure we had more fun visiting them than they had having us there.  I don't know how many tours come there, but I do know we were the second one this week.  Our large numbers would have probably seemed a bit frightening to them as well.  After a brief talk that described how the orphanage was founded about ten years ago to take in kids in at-risk home situations, we were given free time with the kids.  

To break the ice, we spread out some gifts of school supplies and small toys on a table and the kids picked out things that they liked.  The would dart between the table and somewhere inside and I heard later that they would hid their new prizes under their pillow for later.  Just like any group of kids, there were some that jumped right in, chatting to us in Portuguese or grabbing an SASer by the hand and leading them to their favorite places.  Other kids were more reserved or focused on playing with the new toys.  It took a while, but we all were finally getting comfortable with each other.  I pulled out my own back of toys and was happy that the kids really enjoyed them.  The boys went crazy over the hot wheels cars and saucer popper things.  I especially enjoyed giving out my jewelry and nail polish from when I was little.  I had though of how grown up I felt when I wore it and was happy to be able to pass it on for it to be enjoyed all over again.  The girls particularly liked the nail polish so we sat down and did each other's nails.  One of the more outgoing little ones painted my nails a sparkly yellow.   In between bouts of rain, I also joined in on kicking a soccer ball around.  I realized I need to brush up on my skills in that area!  I thought it was very special that one of the older girls wanted to make sure that the SASers didn't leave empty handed.  She gave some of us folded paper boxes and saved some of the jewelry that I brought to give back to us.  She made sure that I took home two bracelets which was very touching.  I've had those bracelets for probably ten years and they held no meaning, but now I will treasure them!  
  


  



Just as we were really starting to connect and have fun, it was already time to go.  It took quite a while for the poor professor to usher us back onto the bus.  We were so reluctant to go!  I hung back as long as I could taking last minute pictures and giving last minute hugs and high fives.   We waved goodbye from the bus until we couldn't even see the building anymore.  As we drove away, I felt extra glad that we would be able to communicate with the orphanages through e-mail after our visit.  There is still a lot of picture and story sharing to look forward to in the future.  



I spent the last couple of hours in Brazil getting cleaned up and catching up with friends who did other trips while in port.  It sounds like everyone has a lot of fun though we are happy to be back "home" at the same time.

Right now we are making  our way downriver and out to the ocean which we will cross over the next 11 days.  Africa here we come!


P.S.  I'm going to have to start posting less pictures because I've already used up a lot of my internet minutes.  After the free ones are gone, it becomes VERY expensive to buy more minutes.  :0(  Also, due to the limited internet access I can't respond to any comments from the ship.  I do get to see them via my mom forwarding them to me and I love hearing what everyone thinks!  :0)  Also you can always e-mail me at emily.block.s12@semesteratsea.org!  

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