Monday, January 12, 2009

Amazon 2009: Day Seven (Sunday, January 11)

Today’s video was produced by the team As Onças.

We got behind on blog entries for a day or so there, so go back to Day 6 to see a newly-posted video for that day. We are having a few problems with our late-night internet connection here on the university campus so we haven’t quite gotten everything done that we are trying to do. We have also had an awful time working out a cell phone situation here. In prior trips the groups managed to outfit a U.S. phone with a Brazilian chip and stay in contact in that way. This time that option seems impossible. International phone cards on pay phones have turned out to be our best way to talk to people back at home.

Anyway, on with our Sunday. We intended to go to mass today, even though we knew it started at 7:00 a.m. That meant we needed to get up at 6:00 and start walking into the city by 6:30. We were all game to do it, as the last group who visited got a very different view of the town on Sunday (not to mention a trip to the church’s bell tower, which comes with a 360 degree view of the river and the city). Unfortunately, our alarm clock (Shawny) set her alarm clock but forgot to turn it on. Maybe we were meant to get a little extra sleep today.

Instead, then, we headed on over to our worksite to connect with the kids, Georgete and Jaime again. Today we started out inside the building on-site teaching lessons in English. We decided to start with songs today, so we used “Happy Birthday” as our opening, followed by “Old McDonald.” The kids thought that the word “oink” was one of the funniest they had ever heard. They were laughing and clapping and very much NOT self-conscious; suddenly we noticed that all of those things were true about us too.

Georgete then took the students outside and they began to run around madly. A new volleyball net caught their attention, along with some of ours. Some of the students took interest in the kayaks and new paddles, lining up to wait their turn for lessons from Jaime, an expert kayaker. Some of the students teamed up with one or more of us to practice speaking English.

Everyone was pretty well occupied, when suddenly we heard a noise like a train in the far off distance. We looked that direction and saw a wall of rain heading our way like an invading army. Though we didn’t really fear getting wet, the sense that it was chasing us convinced us all to run madly for cover, screaming and laughing along with the kids. We huddled under the tents and for the first time since we landed and got the slightest recollection of what it feels like to be chilly. The kids thought it was “freezing,” but to us it was a pleasant reminder that there are times when one’s body does not perspire.

The sun broke through pretty quickly and we all resumed our activities. Some of us even took spins in the kayaks. We knocked off just after noon and helped clean up the area. As we left the worksite by walking our bikes up the rutted dirt road that leads away from the river, we were surrounded by kids screaming, cheering, and yelling: “How are you?,” “Fine, thank you,” “And you?,” and “Oink!”
We headed home for lunch and siesta, then biked right back to the worksite, but not for work this time. Instead, some of our hosts took us in boats across the delta to a beautiful river beach called Maracaná. We actually picked a shady spot on the beach and just relaxed for the first time since we arrived. (By the way, our 50 spf sunscreen is still doing an amazing job of keeping us from getting burned! Though we should easily expect to have a couple of bad burns among us by now, we have not experienced any such pain. AND our insect repellants seem to be working too. Our only problem is heat rash, which comes and goes on most of us.) We could only stay on the beach for about two hours, as we had to catch the last boats back at 6:00.

We were so happy and relaxed that we decided to go into town to hear some live music at night at what used to be Santarém’s prime ice cream spot. As it turned out, they didn’t have live music or a proper selection of ice cream, but they DID have pizza (including a sardine one, which we ordered!) and burgers. Though we love the food at our camp and our cook, Dona Maria, we liked cheating just a little bit for some familiar comfort foods.

Georgete let us know that she is not working with the kids on Monday or Tuesday, so we are planning other adventures for those two days.

By the way, our Rider of the Purple Bike today was Erik Coloma. Yesterday, when the chain broke on Marcia's bike and Chris offered to walk the broken bike home, Erik towed Chris and the broken bike up the longest hill we have to ride. For that, and his great co-operative and collaborative attitude, he deserves the special honor today.

While we were playing beach Volleyball, a wall of rain came at us and we all ran for cover.

Team Paz teaches the kids how to sing happy birthday.

Selini is one of our youngest students. We all love her curly hair.

While we're making friends with the kids, it looks like they were making friends with each other too.

After an exhausting morning working with the kids, we took a break on Maracana beach.

A moth the size of the palm of a hand.

On a sunday afternoon the beach was hoppin'.

People of all ages enjoy kayaing on the Tapajos River.

The fab 4 (Dar Um Jeito) having a great day at the beach.
Cops patrol the beaches of the Tapajos River.

This is Botafogo teaching the kids "Old Macdonald had a farm". 

Some of the kids thought it would be fun to bury some of us.

Some of the youngest kids of the group.

In the afternoon we took 3 canoes to a beach across from our worksite.

A picture of the beach at which we spent part of the afternoon.

1 comment:

jillagunter said...

Hey nova, I am loving watching you smc bravehearts at work.Miss you bunchs but am so happy for you having this great experience! keep singing baby. mom