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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.