And now for the final installment of our Brazilian report, provided by our Brazilian correspondant, Rosalita..... Check out some of her photos here.
Dear Family and Friends!!!!
Sorry it's taken me this long, since getting back from Brazil I've had to work like crazy and have been incredibly busy with school! I think I'll write excerpts from my journal and then include a link to an online photo site for the pictures.
......Monday, July 9th 2007
My first glimpse of Brazil was a red dawn followed by endless rugged country that didn't look like it was inhabited, some white areas (salt maybe?) and one or two shimmering rivers snaking through the hills/mountains. Now it's given way to what look like circles of different colors and fields with some small towns scattered about. The plane's almost to Sao Paulo and I have to fill out immigration forms.......
I got to Sao Paulo at 8:30am and stood in line for 45 minutes for my connecting flight only to find out that I needed to go to another airport! That would have been nice to know beforehand......After waiting in line for the bus for about 20 minutes I realized this meant I probably needed to have gotten my checked bags!! So I went in search of my bags grateful that my other flight didn't leave until 12:19pm. Note to self: LEARN THE LANGUAGE BETTER NEXT TIME!!!! Finally made it on the bus with all my bags (they were in lost and found) only to be informed that the bus ride was going was going to be an hour long! I spent the ride calming myself down since I would still have about 20 minutes. After running around like a madwomen, I made it to the gate on time and was told that the flight time had been changed and the plane left an hour earlier. The told me to exchange the ticket at some other counter for a later flight. No one after that spoke a single word of English and the only way I could get on another flight was to pay $150. I was in tears by then, I have never felt so alone and helpless!!! I put it on my credit card and went in search of a bank to exchange money because I had to call the person picking me up in Londrina and tell her my new flight time. The exchange bank was closed ('cuz it's Monday?!?!) and no one of place would take US dollars, credit cards or traveler's checks. I seriously thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown!! I finally found someone who realized what my problem was and that I needed a phone card and she sold me Brazilian money and helped me buy a phone card. I ended up getting ahold of Marisa who was waiting in Londrina for me..... my next flight took me to some city, Curitiba, and I'm waiting for my last plane and hoping/praying that my bags are going to be on it and Marisa there when I arrive! I have now been traveling for over 24 hours and I have to say that even my desire for adventure has been quite dampened!! On the last fight we had drinks offered to us and I enjoyed a nice glass of water since that's the only thing I know how to order in Portuguese! I really hope this isn't a sign for the rest of my trip!!! :-( Back to the beginning of my entry, what's that saying?....."Red sky at night, sailor's delight....Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning".....hmmmmm It's the strangest feeling to be clutching a piece of paper (my boarding pass) and that's my only link to getting where I need to be!
1:00am I'm finally going to bed. It's only 2 hours ahead of WI here. I love my host family!! It was so nice to finally get here and the daughter, Luciana, is 24 and very friendly. The mom, can't get her name quite yet, talked my ear off at a shout in Portuguese!! :-) Both of the parents don't speak English so this should be interesting!!!! Lu, (short for Luciana) speaks some and her boyfriend speaks it well so hopefully it will be ok. They loved the gifts I brought and seem happy to have me. They have a very nice place on the 22nd floor of a condo type building. They don't have any screens 'cuz they apparently don't have bugs here...how nice! I just opened my suitcase and found that my bottle of shampoo broke in half (does the airline use the luggage to go bowling or something?!?!) and my whole suitcase is drenched in shampoo. *sigh* I find out tomorrow whether I"ll be at the Orphanage the whole time or maybe at a hospital for part of the time.....Boa Noite~
I ended up spending time at both places and it was perfect because my host dad is a surgeon at the hospital I"ll be at!
.......Thursday, 12th of July 2007
Today at the cancer hospital I made a friend, Jean, who is 3 years old and so cute!! He has bone cancer and I don't know how to ask how he's doing. Everyone at the hospital speaks only Portuguese so I've been using my dictionary as best I can! The one little girl that's going to have her leg amputated is running around like crazy today and I can't keep from being super sad inside thinking about her upcoming surgery. My new little friend jabbered at me in Portuguese non-stop for over an hour about planes, trucks, telling me what stickers to use and countless other things I obviously didn't understand! He's so much fun! He put a sticker on my hand and pretended to poke it with a needle like his IV. I got a tour of the hospital, it's unbelievable. Everything pretty much has open doors and is very simple. The ICU is 7 beds (flat, hard ones with plastic covers) and looks NOTHING like ours! The nurses are wonderful, they just don't have much to work with!
.......Monday, 16th of July 2007
Today was very emotional at the hospital. Loisy (17) has been there for 6 months and now has had her left leg amputated above the knee. :-( She got to be in her sister's wedding before she lost her leg and she showed me pictures where her hair was still long and in her dress and she looked gorgeous!! Part of me was so sad for her and yet part of me admires her so much and she's inspiring! She made the main point be the fact that now that her leg's gone, the cancer is gone and she's very happy about that! She also showed me pictures of her friend at the hospital, probably her age, and told me that he had died a couple months ago. There is a another little girl that had surgery on Friday and she was crying all morning and it broke my heart. I think I'll be watching Toni (host father) do a Total Laryngectomy on Friday.......Yikes!
Ok, so Toni and I were supposed to meet outside the hospital at 2pm to drive back home and I came out 10 minutes early and the truck is gone! Apparently whatever he said in Portuguese along with the time to meet must have been important! Well, guess I'll wait and see what happens....not really any other options! :-)
p.s. Toni came and picked me up, :-)
.......Monday, 23rd of July 2007
Oh my god!!! I don't know if I never want to leave the Orphanage or if I can't handle it! How could so many beautiful children have no homes??? Or, how can it be that some people have so much and others so little that they can't take care of their children?? There's a baby there that's 4 months old and one of the teachers put her in my arms all wrapped up in a bundle of blanket and my heart melted. I honestly want to adopt her! She has blue eyes and the perfect mouth and she stared at me the whole time I fed her and rocked her. She fit perfectly in my arms and kept puckering her lips in the cutest way!!! I think I fell in love. I spent today with the 2 year olds, 9 of them, and I can hardly stand that they're there and yet they make me smile at the same time. Within 2 minutes of me being in the room I had 3 of them clinging to my hands and smiling up at me with most innocent eyes and eager smiles. One little girl was crying at one point and I picked her up and she clung to me like her life depended on it! I was told I had to put her down (I guess I can kinda understand that they just don't have enough people to be holding them whenever they cry) and it almost killed me! I could hug and hold them all day!!!
........Wednesday, 25th of July 2007
I'm sitting next to a sound asleep 2 year old. We got all but 1 of 10 of them to sleep and now I have a minute or two to write. There are 3 kids here that I especially want to take home with me! The baby, and then Kawe and Maria Fernanda, both 2 years old. Kawe is like a little devil with an angel's heart. :-) He always has a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and is the smallest one and makes up for it with a gigantic personality. At lunch he eats very nicely while you're watching and then when I look away for a second he puts his little hand in the food and slaps his face very purposefully and then looks at me with such a grin I have the worst time scolding him!! :-) He also loves to lay on my belly and play peek-a-boo. I love him! And Maria Fernanda is totally different. I'm drawn to her because she seems so fragile and in need of love. She clings to me the whole time I"m here and calls me Mai (mother) which breaks my heart. Getting her to smile is a good feeling! She is African-Brazilian and has two little pig-tails and earrings and right now is curled up next to my legs sucking one hand and holding my fingers with the other. (She's sleeping.) Kawe is on the other side of me and looks like the most angelic boy ever when he's sleeping! He has perfect eyelashes and a little button nose. Yesterday I was with the 1 year olds and will be again tomorrow. I wish I could be in with both groups at once! With the 1 year olds you can hold them which is really nice and with the 2 year olds you can do more with them. It is seriously cold in here! It's only in the 40s outside and there's no heat in buildings here and all the floors are tile. Brrrrrrr.......
....Saturday, 28th of July 2007
We're (host mother and father and their 8 yr old grandson and I) are at the Falls de Iguassa which is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!! They are a collection of around 200 waterfalls on the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. It's both fun and exhausting to have Toni show me around! He'll say everything in Portuguese first, then put a few random English words together very loudly and forcefully! Then if I happen to understand he gets excited and repeats it several times! And after he got a little wine in him at dinner tonight it seemed to inspire him to teach me the entire history of everything we saw all day in Portuguese!!! I think he just keeps hoping I"ll suddenly understand! :-)
..Tuesday, 31st of July 2007
So I've learned the secret to selling books if you're a bad writer! Just sell them at an airport to people like me who have 5 books in English to choose from and NOTHING else to do for 15 hours!!!!! I just finished 400 pages of the worst book ever!! I had to take a bus from Londrina to Sao Paulo rather than fly because of the massive plane problems due to the horrible crash that happened down here. As a result, I'm stuck in the airport for 15 hours before my flight for the U.S. leaves!! I spent most of the 9 hour bus ride in tears from having to say goodbye to all of the children and my wonderful host family.... :-(
Over all, this trip was the most amazing thing I've ever done and I can't wait to be able to do something like this again!!!!! I hope I haven't bored you with all of this, but I wanted all of you to know some of what it was like down there and how much your help in making it possible means to me!!!!!!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________