International Study Program: Location
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol International Study Program will be held in Brazil in July of 2012. Our members are in Brazil for the next four weeks – Rio, Miguel Perriera, Parati, Salvador, Arembepe – where they will meet with NGO’s like Centro Comunitario Lidia Dos Santos, CRIOLA, AfroReggae, Ile Iye, Steve Biko Institute, and MST; meet with the US Consulate and USAID; visit beaches and natural sites, museums, cultural institutions, local schools, favelas, Quilombos and will study Capoeria, Portuguese and Brazilian history. The group leaders are long time BHSS staff members Silvia Canales and Nando Rodriguez and BHSS Co-Founder Jason Warwin.
In this increasingly global world this is an invaluable experience for our members. Their month in Brazil is the culmination of 6 months of study, here in New York City, of the culture, politics and history of Brazil. They now see the country with their own eyes…
OMG… I’m going to Brazil I can’t believe this. I pray that I get there safe & sound. I’m so proud to take a chance to go overseas with friends and loved ones. To feel the plane move kinda makes me scared – but I’ll be okay because I’m next to Nando.
I want to take the time to really say thank you Nando & Silvia for everything. Without you I dont know if I’d be sitting here right now. I love you and hope to see so much more of life. I’m happy I can tell the world i am going to Brasil.
Up to this point, we have passed through several cities. Cities like Rio De Janerio, Miguel Pereira, Parati, & now, Salvador. Each one proving to be even more enjoyable than the last. In Rio, we visited Afro Reggae which is in the Favelas, visted the burial grounds of slaves, and viewed the newly discovered slave ship ports.
In Miguel Pereira, we took a class in Capoeira, visited the plantation where the Manuel Congo Slave Revolt took place, (Where one of us found a historical artifact!), & we participated in an annual celebration with a bunch of Brazilian high schoolers. In Parati, we visited the Quilomboes and toured the old city of Parati. Afterwards, we backtracked all the way back to Rio de Janerio to catch a flight to Salvador. And now that we are here, the souvenior shopping has been INSANE!!! Although I have gone pretty crazy with the shopping everywhere…LOL Next stop is Arembepe, I can´t wait…
On July 18th we started the day very badly because the night before some members treated the bathrooms very poorly and left the toilets dirty, while also breaking the screws that held the sink up in one of the bathrooms. Hey young women on the trip had a meeting about how they poorly treated the bathrooms – and they were very upset with one another. Jason, Silvia and I decided to have a group meeting.
We reflected on the collective expectations, which they all wrote, and the agreed upon rules for the group during the program, then we had them write for 20 minutes about what they were feeling, what they can do for others, and what they can get from others. We then finished the conversation by reading their pieces and having a positive affirmation for the group. I played “Umi Say” by Mos Def (about how people should “shine their light on the world”), and some members started crying. We ended with hugs.
We later visited the Steve Biko institute and exchanged with the young members from that organization. The members are now closer together and have begun supporting one another like a family. Alexis wrote a poem for the group during dinner and we all cheered with joy at the end.
The closer we’re getting to leaving Brasil the sadder I’m getting. I really don’t want leave this amazing country. When we were in Salvador everything was so cultural. We danced in the streets with people from the community and went to festivals that associated with Candomble. It was beautiful to me how a community of people who do not know or may not even like each other come out and are united through dance and music. The way everyone looked so happy – regardless of what happened in their day – was a great feeling. Coming to Arembepe was even better. Meeting the Brotherhood, aka Imados Unidos, was great. We didnt even know each other but once we saw they had the Brotherhood shirts on we just gave each other hugs and we just knew they were family. We were all excited to meet them as well as they were to meet us.
Getting to know them is great – they are just like the brothers from Harlem. It was good because i was wondering if I was gonna get that family feeling the same way i do in Harlem. I love Arembepe the view is great – and so is Jason’s house and dont want to leave. This trip has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade any moment of it nor the people I was with.
I just can’t get enough of Brasil. This ISP trip is just amazing I loved everything about it. Sadly this trip will be ending in 2 days. I am so sad. I am going to miss this place so much. I’m going to miss Salvador, Parati, Arembepe, and also Rio. These last few days have been awesome. I met the Brasil chapter Irmados Unidos and they are so cool. They are family and we are having so much fun with them.
When I get home I will have a lot to tell my family and friends. From breaking night and watching the sun set on the beach with a whole bunch of my peers ,to living in a house where i missed 2 days of showering because of the water. Ahhhhh I’m going to miss you Brasil.
The group and I had an exchange with a group of students at the Steve Biko Institute. This exchange was not only entertaining but informational. We learned many things about the views of the students and the challenges they face in their dreams of success. Through different activities and games I learned that their lives aren’t that much different from ours. That feeling helped me make a connection to my last trip with the Bro/Sis ISP program to Ghana in 2011. During that trip we also had an exchange with a group of students our same ages.
During this exchange we compared styles of our education systems and lifestyles. Similar to that meeting, the teens at the Steve Biko Institute also faced the same issues. The interaction with the drug business in their neighborhoods, the lack of attention toward the poorer population of students attending public schools, and the lack of resources and opportunities available to those in the less wealthy communities. Their opinions and views of Americans – such as that they believe we live a much easier lifestyle, a truth – made me reevaluate the opportunities I have available in the United States and to focus on taking advantage of them.
The meeting was a humbling one as well because although we do not speak the same language, we managed to connect in likes and dislikes as well as complete games and activities in which we needed to communicate together. I believe the institute is doing great things by offering their members the education that is not available to them within their schools. Many schools in Brazil, according to a teacher in the group, have been known to pass students even when they were unprepared to advance. The Steve Biko Institute teaches the members better math and technical skills to help them obtain substantial sustainable jobs in the future.