Monday, October 1, 2012

BR-110 Espaco Esperanca (Hope Space) Project visit, Friday September 28, 2012

What an incredible day! Our day started with a scavenger hunt. I had foolishly forgotten to bring a power adapter, and evidently they’re as rare as hen’s teeth in Brazil, so my wonderful translator Isabela went well above and beyond the call of to try and find me one. Our search led us to downtown Fortaleza, and it was like a freakin’ gauntlet! Cars, bikes, motorbikes, trolleys, carts and people all fought for a tiny space of road.  On one occasion Isabela parked and left the engine running while she went from shop to shop. Eventually my nerves got the better of me and I turned the engine off. Imagine finding a running car with a foreigner in the passenger seat? JACKPOT!

We arrived at the project, parked the car, and I met the girls: Taina (7) Pamella (9), Alice (8) and Ana Alice (8) (pronounced Ana-lee-see). We took a photo in front of a sign that said “David – Your presence fill us with joy!”

Our first stop was the music class. John Nascimento is a former sponsored child of this project, and he is now studying as a student of the Leadership Development Program. He’s also back at the Project teaching music, and has recorded a CD of Brazilian guitar music with 5 other guys. The boys in the music class performed, then I was invited to play something. Funnily enough I “just happened” to have brought music for a couple of songs. I played and sang the worship song “Forever” and John, being the talented guy he is, played along. The girls then sang a song and we moved on to a short tour of the Project.

BR-110 is Brazil's most established Project. It’s been around for 25-ish years, and you can tell. The classrooms are bigger, there are more of them, and they have a nice big undercover play area. Music and dance are integral classes, and they have a garden where they grow vegetables, both for the Project and the community. The Projects also compete in sporting and music competitions in the community and BR-110 had a fair collection of trophies.

Today was a planning day for the staff, so there were very few kids around. We were joined by Ana Alice’s sister Andressa as well as a couple of boys, David and Guilhermi. While we were at the Project we did some painting and drawing (correction: they painted and drew, I watched); played some hide and seek; they showed me some dances they’d been practising. I taught them some silly fun songs I’d learned as a summer camp counselor in Indiana in 2004 – Silly Moose, Baking a Cake and Alive Awake Alert. The language barrier made it hard, but we managed.

I had also brought an Australian football with me and got that out. Most of them had a little turn, but they were probably a bit young. Andressa and the two boys were right into it, though, and we had a nice big space to play.

The staff were very grateful and thankful, and their hospitality was humbling. However, there was one blunder. They gave me a t-shirt with a picture of the four girls, and something about me being from the United States. Oops! I managed to forgive them. :) 

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