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)


Yacht club feijoada

May 31, 2008

On Saturday the team were invited by Antonio to lunch at the Rio de Janeiro naval club.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t conducive to a trip in his boat but the feijoada at the club and the company were certainly worth the visit.

http://www.icrj.com.br/

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

Antonio is a doctor working with Cancer patients.  He has worked in London at the Royal Marsden Hospital and also paid tribute to the work being done at Christies Hospital in Manchester.

http://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/rmh

http://www.christie.nhs.uk/ 


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.