Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October - One Year in Brazil

One Year!
I've hit the one year milestone here in Brazil - yeah!

Children's Day
Brazil celebrated "Dia das Criancas" or Children's Day, on October 12. It's a day set apart for kids, with special events and gift giving. My church sponsored children at two orphanges, and I went with a group to visit the Tia Edna (or Auntie Edna) home. This home was started by an American missionary named Edna 40 years ago. It is well-maintained and the kids were excited to see us. The gift-opening time was a little like Christmas!

Day of Health at Vila Andrade
The Association at Vila Andrade, along with Operation Blessing and other supporters, sponsored the first ever Health Day at Vila Andrade. Medical personnel came and provided various services and workshops to the residents of Vila Andrade free of charge. A bus was used to bring people from all over the neighborhood to take advantage of this opportunity. After people completed their health visit, they could come next door to make bracelets using the Wordless book colors and hear the Gospel presented. I helped out in this area with friends Biba and Andrea from the Morumbi church.

Bridal Shower
I was invited to my first Brazilian Bridal Shower for one of the teachers at the Lar, and experienced a little cultural confusion in the process! When I was given the invite by another teacher, I was asked to draw a slip of paper from a bag. It had a word on it that I didn't know, so the teacher was trying to explain with hand-motions what it was, but I ended up looking in the dictionary anyway. The word translated was for a 'drainer of noodles'. So what I thought I was being told was my 'gift' was to help drain the noodles at this bridal shower. Okay-different I thought, but that is what I was prepared to do. When I arrived at the shower, however, I saw all these gift bags. I asked the person who invited me why there were gifts, and that is when I learned, that no, I was supposed to bring a noodle strainer as my gift! So I explained to the bride my confusion, and promptly went out the next day to find a noodle strainer and brought to the Lar the following Monday. It was good humor had by all! Below is the bride-to-be Ligia and myself.

Library Opening
The Library at Vila Andrade had it's official inauguration this month, though there are still items that need to be completed, and there is not a staff of volunteers to keep it open on a regular basis. The children were shown where books were on the shelves, how to check out books, and how to use the carrying bags to tranfer books home and back and to keep them protected.

Certificates of Completion
We officially ended English classes at Vila Andrade the last week of October, and the students all received a certificate of participation for their efforts. We will be continuing classes, though, outside the regular project time, as most of the students begged me to continue. So we will now have classes on Friday's through the first part of December.

Lar Video day
We had video day at the Lar, where the students watched an English video from Disney. The video is in English and Portuguese, and I had handouts for them to follow along and do activities at home.

Student shots