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

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Chilling out in Petropolis

June 8, 2008

Today the team travelled by minibus through spectacular mountainous scenery to the area surrounding the imperial city of Petropolis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petropolis

Their destination was a beautiful country house where they are to stay for the following three days. Later that evening they were treated to a family meal with some friends of their host family which featured a spread of Italian and Brazillian food, local beer and, of course, Cachaça.


Dirty dancing and hot steps

June 8, 2008

Rotary in Brazil is different from England and British Rotarians act differently when in Brazil. Elaine, Katie and Georg had a few life changing dance experiences during the post-conference party.

It’s still not clear which team member was the star of the evening – Elaine who was asked to dance by numerous hunky looking men, Katie who found almost no time leave the dance floor for a drink or Georg who performed surrounded by a large group of female Rotarians. The night ended late for our three ambassadors and the next morning with aching knees, feet and (for Georg) a heavy/worried head came way to early.

Meanwhile Chris was safe in bed having spent the entire evening recovering from his mysterious allergy.

Photos coming soon.


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.


Chove chuva, chove sem parar

June 1, 2008

(It’s raining cat’s and dog’s, it’s raining without end)

In stark contrast to the weather so far today’s weather consisted of relentless rain.  This meant that the second opportunity for the boat trip passed the team by, but Chris, Georg and their host, Milton, still enjoyed a stroll along the beach at Copacabana in the rain.

 

Chove chuva, chove sem parar, chove chuva, chove sem parar
Pois eu vou fazer uma prece pra Deus nosso senhor, Pra chuva parar de molhar o meu divino amor. Que é muito lindo, é mais que o infinito, é puro e belo inocente como a flor. Por favor chuva ruim, não molhe mais o meu amor assim. Por  favor chuva ruim, não molhe mais o meu amor assim. (Jorge Bem Jor)