Beautiful words about Brazil (By:Mateo Hajek)

A fellow and a partner that I am working with and living with in Brazil shared these thoughts with me, he has allowed me to share….

Barely able to see the filth collected on the lenses of my eyeglasses. I manage to snap the perfect shot of favelas under highway overpasses.Perfectly capturing the severe destitution and poverty that exists in Brazil and most notably here in Salvador de Bahia. All the while, our cab driver speeds hurridly through the chaotic and seemingly ungoverned streets with a zen-like calm about him. 

To avoid being caught in the riots and protests against the blatently corrupt government of Brazil, our driver took us through one of the poorest areas of Salvador and in a sweet irony we passes by graffiti that spoke greater volumes than any photo of riots could ever capture. 

(the graffiti wrote..)

“Brasil capital corrupcao terorismo subvercao propina”

(Brazil the capital of corruption and terrorism via subversive propganda).

“Corrupcao fora legislativo, Judicario, Execitivo”

(Corruption comes out of the legislative, judicial, and executive).

No more than an hour before this, a boy who appeared to be early  teens in age begged a group of friends and I for the scraps from our lunch. While scams run rampant in the streets here, the reality of children starving and literally dying in the streets from inadequate nutrition and lack of basic medical care while government officials and legislators recently raised their own salaries to R 17000 per month and the worlds most expensive soccer stadium recently finished construction. Even further, the profits from games belong to FIFA and not the tax payers who funded constructing the stadium to the tune of R 35,000,000.

Since our arrival four days ago, protests and full on riots have spread through every major city in Brazil. While the government has wholly ignored demands for pay to equal costs for living and the media paints epic images of villians destroying the great democracy that Brazil has become. The reality is these people are homeless, starving,  and have no means for upward mobility. As a foreigner, this is not my fight though for the sake of human right, it is and my weapon is the written word. 

Thank you dearly, my friend, Mateo Hajek. 

My first week with my students in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil!

Oi everyone! I apologize that it has taken me a week to get started on the blog. It has been a little hectic, exciting and busy this past week with the protests going on (I will write about this later) and also the intermittent internet connection.

My first week overall has been indescribable, I will do my best to translate it into words.

The first day that we arrived in Salvador we had just a few hours to rest after coming off of traveling for over 24 hours. The flights weren´t terrible, however I was surprised that our 13 hour flight from Miami to Salvador was only a small plane with only six seats across. We travelled on this flight through the night and it was next to impossible to try and get some good rest before landing.

The initial drive to where we are staying in, Patamares, was one of curiosity and excitement. As many of you can relate when you first land in a foreign place having your face peeled to the new world that you get to experience is a unique feeling.

After we were able to rest for a couple of hours we had a meeting at Sesi and Senai which is the school that we are working at in Salvador. Our students were not expecting for us to be there that day and we had the opportunity to run into a few of them. I wish that I could have stopped this moment in time. It was as if I was meeting my best friends or family that I loved so dearly for the very first time. Brazilian culture and the way that they show appreciation and care for others is absolutely beautiful and powerful.

The next morning we awoke early to head to school and the students welcomed all of us with handmade lifesize billboards with our names and beauitfully drawn pictures. Mine was an amazing drawing of Dory and Nemo. They knew that I love this movie and the ocean! They are so attentive. After we were welcomed the students played an hour long concert for us with food and drinks. They adorned us with crazy sunglasses and gifts. After the show, we headed into the auditorium and performed a play filled with humor, Brazilian tradition, and the story of Brazilian colonization. It was one of the most creative plays that I have witnessed. This students are incredibly motivated and talented.

Thursday, we had the day off because there was a holiday and also the protests were starting to begin in Salvador. With the protests it is very difficult for some of the students to get to school since part of the protests involove transporation and the bus system. We were able to go to the Pelorinho, which is the historic center and spend most of the day (I will post some pictures and write about this later too…)

Today is Friday and every Friday our groups are expected to present based on that weeks theme. This weeks theme was building a team. Our team comprised a skit that started with Queens- We Will Rock You then it transitioned into the Macarana! It was so much fun! All of the groups that presented were so creative and had so much fun with being on stage.

That is a very brief overview of what all has happened with my week with the students thus far and I am anxious to share more with everyone. To wrap up I just need to express the true beauty that lies within this culture. It is one that is so diverse in every kind of way however, it seems to me that great divides don´t neccessarily exist. It is an amazing thing to have the opportunity to witness and it makes me question how this type of love and acceptance could transcend many problems that the United States is facing today….

until next time and I promise to write about the protests and our day in the Pelohurino.

Tchau!!

students

The Journey Begins… (almost)…

In 8 days, I am officially heading out to spend one month in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil! I am working for the Brazilian Confederation of Industry and US-Brazil Connect, teaching high school students english through a unique immersion program.

During my stay in Brazil, I am going to do my best (internet connection depending) to blog about my experience in Salvador. I invite you to follow me along in my journey.

I am anxious and excited to be exposed to such a colorful and beautiful culture. I am heading into this experience with an open mind and heart and I am absolutely ecstatic to see what is in store. During part of my stay in Salvador one of their biggest festivals, Sao Joao, will be taking place. I am looking forward to sharing this experience with everyone….. I would love any advice or comments that you may have if you have travelled or wish to travel to Brazil or if you have taught english abroad!

Stay tuned……

Here is a photo of my amazing students that I will be working with (missing three in this pic;)….

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