A front garden, a singing tv chef and an artist

June 9, 2008

In the morning the team were invited to look around the ‘garden’ of an artist who owns a large area of virgin forest. The land surrounding his house was beautifully landscaped.

They then had lunch with a TV chef who loves to sing her recipes (will post more info and link later) .

She also has an interest in promoting Brazilian art and after lunch she took members of the team to meet artist, Byron Mendes. He has already made a number exhibitions in Europe and has another exhibition arranged at a London gallery soon.

http://www.brazilian.org.uk/events/stairway.php


Conference, roses and cheese balls

June 6, 2008

The team arrived in Sao Lourenca, a thermal spa town in the mountains outside Rio, for the District conference. This year the theme is ‘Conference of the Roses’ – named after the district governor’s wife Rosa. The group made their presentation on Friday afternoon after Samuel talked about the GSE programme and Maria talked about her GSE experiences in the UK and the Isle of Man. After the presentation the team were presented with Brazilian flags.

The party later on included lots of Cachaça and some magnificent cheese balls that were enjoyed by all. The conference closing ceremony was a riot of colour as delegates paraded with flowers, singing about the marvellous city of Rio de Janeiro.


Factories, Schools and Social Projects

June 4, 2008

Over Monday and Tuesday this week the team visited a number of schools, projects and  employers that are connected with Rotary or partially funded by Rotary.  The sites of these visits were around the area of Novo Iguacu – a large town just outside Rio.

Granfino is factory that produces a wide range of products that includes pet food and black beans. 

In addition to providing employment to local residents in quite a poor area, the company also provides various additional services.  After working hours the factory canteen is turned into a school for employees and their families.  Hairdressing and massage facilities are also provided for employees on-site.  Later in the day the team had a fascinating tour round the compactor pen factory.

 

The next day the team visited a school for children with special needs that is partially funded by Rotary.  They were introduced to the sports teacher who regularly takes children from the school to the special olympics. So far the school has succesfully built the ground floor of its building and is still raising money in order to complete building work on the two upper floors.

In the afternoon they made their way to the Sonoleve factory, a famous mattress manufacturers.  The factory is in a particularly poor and violent neighbourhood and provides employment opportunities not only for locals but also for prisoners and ex-offenders. 

Employees are paid with the company’s own currency which can be used to buy food and other products from the factory itself.  A section of the site is devoted to making gifts out of recycled materials such as Cocacola bottles.  Facilities such as doctors, psychologists and a small chapel are also provided for employees.

 


Monobloco and the scouts

June 2, 2008

Tonight Chris, Katie and Chris’ host Bemvindo went to watch the famous Samba collective Monobloco rehearsing in the Baden Powell theatre.  Baden Powell was a very famous Brazilian guitarist and as far as I know had nothing to do with the scout movement. 

http://www.monobloco.org/

About 80 people were participating on stage and the collective trains many people who are new to playing percussion instruments.  The visiting party thoroughly enjoyed this insight into the band and are greatly indebted to Paolo and Fred for providing the opportunity.


Coffee and biscuits with the military police

May 30, 2008

In the morning the whole team went to meet a representative of the military police at their headquarters in Copacabana.  Here they had a very interesting discussion about the problems associated with drug trafficking in the city’s slums and also the problems they encounter in the tourist areas of Rio.

After the discussion they saw the team responsible for monitoring CCTV cameras at work and were then treated by the captain to coffee, biscuits and croissants.

http://www.policiamilitar.rj.gov.br/

After this meeting the team took the metro across town to the Rio chamber of commerce where they presented to Gloria Rotary Club on the 15th floor.  Chris and Georg’ hosts Milton and Lia were present along with their nephew Tiago. Milton is the club president.

After the presentation Chris, Georg and Katie walked around the city centre with Tiago and Ana.  The fantastic weather broke briefly with a torrential downpour.  The team sheltered in a colourful local market.

To round off the day the team, with Ana and Paolo met up in Bar Luiz for a few Chopps ( a local draught beer).  Bar Luiz is a German bar that, before the second world war, was called Adolf’s!  After some protests at the time the name was changed.

http://www.barluiz.com.br/


Don Juan and the Japanese

May 30, 2008

After the school visit in the morning Chris and Katie were shown round some of the museums situated in downtown Rio by Ana who works at a language school that she runs with her husband Paolo.  Their daughter Sofia arranged tours of the museums and also came along.

The first museum exhibited clothes from the time Don Juan spent in Brazil.  It used these clothes to give an insight into life in Brazil at that time.

Brazil has the biggest Japanese population outside Japan and so the second museum visited showed various aspects of Japanese culture.  These included kite making, military history, origami, art and animated films.

George and Paolo joined the others late in the afternoon for a visit to Confeiteria Colombo – a magnificent cafe lined with huge mirrors that has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s.

 


Visit to Padre Francisco Da Motta School

May 29, 2008

Today the whole team went to vist Padre Francisco Da Mott, a school funded partially by Rotary International in a poor area of Rio.

There they were shown round the classrooms and treated to musical performances of Mozart and Samba. Some of the children were learning English and German.

The school caters for the poorest children in the area and tries to give them a sense of family life that they would otherwise miss out on. It also tries to involve their parents as much as possible and provides facilities for the whole community including the library which is open to all. For some children the meal they are given at the school is the only meal they have each day.

After a tour of the school the team made a presentation to Saude Rotary Club. A group of children from the school also attended the presentation. They were inquisitive, friendly and behaved impeccably.

In an emotional speech the principal of the school thanked the team for coming and said that she hoped such visits would inspire the pupils at the school.

Towards the end of the meeting it was suggested that it would be great if a suitable project could be found for the UK and Brazilian Rotary districts to work on together.