The Heart of Brazil

With this being my last post from Brazil, I am sad and joyous at the same time. I am sad for the obvious reason that I am saying goodbye to an incredibe group of educators, both from the U.S. and Brazil, who have inspired me to grow as both a professional and as an individual. Yet, this makes me joyous as well. I am joyous that there are so many wonderful, intelligent, caring, creative, dedicated, and passionate teachers throughout the world, both in the U.S. and in Brazil. It has been an absolutely incredible trip, far exceeding any expectations I may have come here with. Here is a recap of our last few days in Brazil.

Our second to last day in Brazil was a mix of professional development and relaxation. The morning was spent meeting with a representative from the American consulate (Heather) who debriefed us, once again. on safety issues in Brazil, particularly in Salvador. After a few more coffee and snack breaks (I’m starting to wonder, is the state department secretly doing research on how much food and caffiene a body can endure?), we were free to plan our afternoon. A few of us decided to spend the afternoon at the beach; hands down one of the most enjoyable days of the trip. With the ILEP Brazilian teachers all heading back to their homes, our Teresina buddies, Joselia and Alex were fortunate to be on the last flight out of Salvador, and thus, could join us at the beach for a couple of hours. What a wonderful and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Chillin at the beach
Great group!
Oh Captain my Captain!

After the beach, some headed back to the hotel to freshen up, while others decided to stay in the city. As Joselia and Alex were leaving that evening, Jennifer and I went back to the hotel and hung out with them for a while, before it was finally time to send them off. With Joselia’s last minute attempt at teaching me Samba, we laughed right up until the end with these two!

Our last day started with a morning debrief and reflection about our whole experience. We met in small groups to discuss how our field experiences and our time in Brazil has helped us to grow. After the debrief, we had our last lunch together in the hotel, which was capped by a game of White Elephant, where everybody brings a souvenir gift, that people take in grab-bag like form. Thank you Kathy for suggesting this brilliant idea back in Brasilia!

Jamie gets the crab rum!
Looks good on you!
The mastermind behind it all-Kathy

In the afternoon, we were taken into the lower city of Salvador, for a quick visit to the Bomfim Church. Built by a Portuguese sailor as thanks for surviving a storm, the church is believed to have special healing powers. Driving through Salvador, we also saw many favelas and poor neighborhoods; another reminder of how truly fortunate we all really are.

Bom Fima Church
After visiting the church, we were driven back up to upper city, and given some time for last-minute shopping and dinner. Some of us decided to stay in the city with Liberato to celebrate Festa Junina. Again, the streets were filled with live music, including Brazilian drums, vendors selling everything from 80 cents beers to prayer bracelets, and little children dressed up as country folks to celebrate the festival.
Jaimie, Me, Ivette, Fernando,and Jennifer
Love me some beats
Some live music
Festa Junina selfie!
Thumbs up!
Me, Fernando, and Adrian
So, after a perfect last night in Brazil, here are my final reflections on what has been a fabulous 3 weeks.

To my fellow TGCers – you have truly been a wonderful group of people to travel with! It has been a genuine pleasure spending these past few weeks with such an amazing and inspiring group of teachers. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of you, and learning, collaborating (unforced), and laughing with all of you! To my co-teaching partner on this trip, Jennifer, I know you’ve “heard it” before, so for the last time in 24 hours, I am so happy we were paired together for this crazy adventure. Thanks for being such an awesome person, pulling me out of my comfort zone, and for so many laughs. I hope our paths cross again someday:) And to my wonderful Brazilian hosts, all the teachers at CCL, and especially Joselia; Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, you are nothing short of a rock star! You have made our time in Brazil absolutely unforgettable. When we first “met” on skype back in May, I remember you stating that you wanted Jennifer and mine’s field experience to be the best one yet. Speaking on behalf of both of us (I’m fairly certain that’s ok:)), you have done exactly that!

It should come as no suprise that Brazil is an incredible country to visit.  Known for its lively and fun culture, its delicous food, and its enchanting music, Brazil is already a must-visit destination for so many. Yet, while all of these things have played a significant role in my experiences here, it has truly been the people of Brazil who have made this place special. I may not have made it to Rio this time around, but the heart of Brazil can be found anywhere. Whether in a small, eclectic cafe in the futuristic city of Brasilia, or in the classrooms of the unsuspectingly, welcoming city of Teresina, or on the festive streets of Salvador, one can always find the heart of Brazil, right there, in its people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s