Intro & Visit Day #1 (BR417)
Visit Day #2 (BR453)
Visit Day #3 Part 1 (BR110)
Visit Day #4 (BR458)
After visiting Alice at BR-110 in the morning, we then stopped off at Project BR-329 which, as I have documented extensively, is my favourite place in the world. Such life, love, joy and hope among the poverty outside the walls. I was finally visiting my own sponsored child Larissa, who had recently turned eight. The first time I visited she was just four, and wouldn’t have a bar of me.
One year later I went back and she was much more receptive.
I was met with joy by the Project director Francisca. I am humbled and overwhelmed by their gratitude and love, and thankful to God for the impact He is using me to have.
We retrieved Larissa from her classroom and said hello. She was still very shy at all the attention.
The Project has been undertaking massive extensions, in order to accommodate close to 2000 children and I marvelled at the progress that had been made since my previous visit. We took a tour and I spent some time with Larissa, showing her photos and having a chat. I had put together a collage of photos from my previous two visits and she was just transfixed.
Music plays a massive part of life at BR329, and I had felt right at home from the first visit when I hopped on the drums and played with a bunch of talented teenagers. As part of the renovations they now have a soundproof room where they do the music classes. Naturally, we stopped by and I had a bash on the drums.
One highlight of the day was seeing my former sponsored child Monalisa who dropped by even though she is now 22 and studying at college. It meant a lot to me that she made the effort to be there, and we had a good conversation.
Toward the end of the day we were upstairs playing Uno and having a chat...
...when Renato came to me with some “bad news.” He said, with a completely serious face, there had been a problem and we had to leave early. I churned inside as I digested this news. We stopped by the music room to say goodbye, and this is what I found:
I did NOT see that coming. The nasty trickster had completely fooled me and they successfully surprised me for my (early) birthday.
Francisca the Project Director poured on the love
Then I was able to return the favour: There was music, laughter, cake and coke, Portuguese chatter I didn’t understand. I just sat back and took it all in.
Before we left I came up with a plan. It was the day of my nephew Archer’s 8th birthday back in Australia and unfortunately I couldn’t be there. So I asked the eight-year-old class at the Project to sing happy birthday to him. This is the extremely cute result:
Eventually it was really time to go and after the ordinary start to the day, it finished so much better than I could possibly have imagined.