Monday, January 26, 2015

Day Twenty, Monday, January 26: A Spin Through Santarém

Day Twenty, Monday, January 26: A Spin Through Santarém

We got a slow start today after our very welcome late breakfast.  We did a little bit of packing to make tomorrow less horrible, though we all know that the big push with our luggage is a nightmare no matter how ready we are to face it.  We stayed home through lunch then decided to hit the town.

We started with a return to the Saude e Alegría headquarters, where we gathered almost three weeks ago to talk about our hopes and expectations.  Today we gathered around that exact same table and talked about how our experience had compared with those expectations we discussed. 

We heard lots of reminders that we had expressed concern about being uncomfortable being in the Amazon, though now we found ourselves uncomfortable being OUT of the thickest part of the Amazon that we have visited.  We feared that we would have trouble connecting with the locals, but now we are experiencing deep pain over the strong relationships that we are already missing.  We had expected our situation to be very primitive but we were instead very comfortable in the pousada and the rest of the guest area of Anã.  And we were nervous that we would not get much done but we are now proud of our ability to participate in the community on its own terms rather than our own.  (And, of course, we are happy that we forwarded four of their major projects farther than we ever expected to.) 

The head of Saude e Alegría, Davide, expressed gratitude to us not only for the work we did but for the comfort that we showed in the community while working, playing, doing chores, sharing meals, dancing, and just plain circulating around the community by walking around from site to site.  He hopes to expand the agency’s partnerships like ours so he will continue to pick our brains about what made us ready to be helpful and flexible in ways that not all groups demonstrate. 

After our meeting, we took care of the next priority on our agenda: ICE CREAM!!!  Anyone who has been to Brazil knows that Brazilian ice cream is excellent, partially because of the unusual flavors they have but also because it is especially creamy and refreshing.  We went to a self serve place called Nido, where we had each teach pick a series of samples to try and then we let each person load up on whatever flavors they preferred. 

The biggest hits were castanha (Brazil nut) and maracuja (passion fruit), but people also loved açaí, coconut, plum, avocado, corn (yes! corn ice cream!) and lots of variations of chocolate.  We ate LOTS of ice cream in huge piles and then went back for more.  We were FULL.  No regrets.

Then we headed downtown for souvenir shopping.  There is one store that is pretty well stocked so we all piled in there and lost our minds.  When we arrived, we thought we might be in there for an hour or so but after all of the decision making and individual wrapping had ended, we had been there for two and a half hours!

Our real plan today was to go to a beautiful local beach (for anthropological reasons, of course, not for leisure . . . ha ha) but like so many other days this trip, we were thwarted by rain.  We are now going to try to squeeze in a visit to the beach tomorrow, but we have some other pressing things we must take care of, so the beach might not be in our future after all. 

We will try to send out one last entry before we head for the airport tomorrow night and then we will see you in California on Wednesday.  We just learned that our pictures and many of our videos have not landed here on the blog after all, so we will spend a couple of days boosting the content once we get home.  We are proud of our pictures, captions and videos, so we hope you return to these pages to see them later this week.  Sorry we weren’t posting all of the content that we thought we were posting all along. 

Our last day in Brazil is going to be packed from 7:00am to our 9:40pm flight.  We’ll be sure to try to let you know how things went before we head for the airport.  Thanks, as always, for reading . . .

Daily Photos

This is a photo of the logo on a wall at Sáude e Alegria. 

This is a picture of a speaker dangling from the roof of a store. It played the radio to entertain the guests.

An interesting picture of a clown that we saw near the souvenir store.

1 comment:

  1. Liked the video clip! It was very touching to see how you were able to build friendships and camaraderie among yourselves and the various communities and their leaders in a short period of time. Your dedication, enthusiasm and insights were really inspiring.You all have created a milestone of success, adventure and learning experience in this trip. Well done, SMC DIRT 2015! Looking forward to see you soon and hear more stories and view more video clips in the near future.