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.


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/


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.


All you need is love

May 26, 2008

On Monday night the team did another presentation at another five star hotel.  This time it Sao Conrado.  The Brazilian rotarians made them feel at home with a compilation of Beatles songs.

Each team member was happy to be presented with a Brazilian flag and a DVD featuring the sights and sounds of Rio.


Crocodiles and flying fish

May 22, 2008

Yesterday the team was taken out by the local council.  They spent some time at a nature preservation centre before being taken on a boat ride down a city canal and on through a lagoon.  Wildlife they encountered included many types of birds attracted by the pollution in the river.  A number of crocodiles also made an appearance.  Fortunately they don’t attack humans.  Unfortunately the flying fish were reluctant to have their photographs taken.

Harmless

After that the team was shown the work of a river-based garbage collection team.  This was of particular interest to Georg who, in his professional life, specialises in waste management.

River based

The evening presentation was in a huge lebanese social centre designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer.  Posters at the gate announced the recent appearance of a Brazilian Beatles tribute band.


Vocational visit to slum area Vila Canoas

May 20, 2008

On Tuesday Katie and Georg visited the slum área Vila Canoas.

They saw a number of different projects in the commuity, including a kindergarden and education centre, where local children can spend their free time. The children find there different leisure activities (computer classes, library etc.) as well as getting a free meal. In the same building the Association of local mothers have courses for arts and crafts, which offers extra income possibilities for the community.The school was founded by italian Mauro Villone.

Other sites visited included the local goverment-run office for urbanisation, the health station (similar to the NHS) where we learnt bits and pieces about the  Dengue virus, a church run health point for eye and dental surgery and a  youth centre.  A lot of these social projects are co-financed by different Rotary clubs world wide.

After lunch the two had the possibility to visit the “Centro de Cidadania Rinaldo de Lamare” which is a goverment run social centre based in an old Hotel complex. The centre offers local residents vocational courses, a creche for more than 600 children, sport classes etc. As this kind of service is very important for the residents, (just think of a mother who needs someone to look after her child, while she is working or job searching) the centre has a high level of acceptance and has adapted to  local needs.

The presentation at night was held at the Rotary Club at Leme – a small group with a very participative audience. The group meet in a room above a tennis club .


Monday night at the Hotel Intercontinental

May 19, 2008

On Monday evening the team were asked to present at the prestigious Hotel Intercontinental on the Copacabana sea front.

Copacabana Rotary Club