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.


Home working and red bananas

May 28, 2008

Chris made a vocational visit to the home of Felipe on Wednesday.  Felipe explained his vision of the role of small companies acting as middle-men providing a variety of  IT services to end users.

Whilst there, Felipe’s dad showed off his prized bunch of red bananas.  According to Lea, who is hosting Georg and Chris this week with her husband Miltom, regular intake of bananas is one of the keys to happiness. 

Later in the day Chris and Felipe visited Winco, a software development company.

Five kilogrammes of compost in a sack

May 28, 2008

Today Georg went to visit Comlurb, the company which is in charge of household waste collection and street cleaning for the centre of the Rio metropolitan area. During the visit he had the opportunity to visit the landfill site Aterro de Gramacho, one of the biggest landfills in South America. The site has a daily income of more then 6000 tons of household waste. It is situated somewhere in Duque de Caxis, to the north of Rio and until 1995 was not in a satisfactory situation. Due to investment of more then 80 million pounds, the site is now one of the safest in Brazil.

Recycling in Brasil is slightly different to the UK and has a strong social component. On the site itself, are more than 1000 people who collect and seperate out any valuable material from the incoming waste.Georg was told that the informal recycling sector in Rio employs more than 6000 people, who work in a very unhealthy environment.

The visit to one of Comlurb’s compost plants was also part of the programme. It has a capacitiy of 300 tons daily. Composting is very important in Rio, as more then 50% of all domestic waste is compostable.

At the end Georg recieved a sack full of compost material as a goodbye present from the site manager. Georg will undertake some research to see if there is a market in the UK for this material.

BOPE – Tropa de Elite

May 28, 2008

BOPE were paid a visit today at their secluded training base.  They are seen as the elite training corps in Brazil and specialise in tackling drugs and gun crime within the heavily armed favellas.  They use the same tactics as the British SAS and are provided with the best equipment, armoured vehicles, helicopters and boats in order to facilitate the most appropriate manner of entry into the problem area. 

They face gunfire attack daily and lose a high proportion of officers each year who are killed on duty.  Tropa de Elite, a film about the force won the top award at the Berlin film festival.


School trip

May 27, 2008

Earlier in the day the team became honorary school children, following a class on a guided tour of a Fortress in Niteroi.


Museum of Modern Art

May 27, 2008

Having done a presentation earlier in the week, at a Lebanese social club designed by Oscar Niemeyer, on Tuesday the team visited one of his more famous buildings,  the museum of modern art at Niteroi.

The windows of the museum framed spectacular views of copacabana and sugar loaf.

Visit to Copacabana Civil Police

May 27, 2008

The initial visit made to the civil police who police the area of Copacabana was made by Elaine and Adam.  They were warmly received at Copacabana police station.  They were shown around the station and witnessed an arrest taking place whilst there.  They viewed the cell area and interview rooms, this station being a holding station short-term.  A poster on display in the station shows officers from this force killed on duty within the last twelve months.

They were also shown the firearms used by the officers in this force and were allowed to handle them in order to guage their weight.  Officers retain personal guns on and off duty.