Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 9

Its hard to believe that we are at day 9 already - only one more day with our new friends in Sao Luis!!

Today we had a bit of a later start, which was nice for some personal time in the morning (running, studying, sleeping). We spent today with the club from Joao Paulo here in Sao Luis (there are five clubs, which share a meeting hall where we do most of our presentations). the president picked up Jenny and I and we met Brenda, Laurie, Marcelo and Cristiane.

This club has a couple of projects which were were able to visit. The first was a vocational school in partnership with other non-profits and a couple of corporations. They have a building on farm land on the edge of poor neighbourhood in Sao Luis. This building is split into approx 10 rooms, with one for mechanics (teenagers, about half male and female), one for machining (the only room not yet remodeled or being used due to lack of funds), one computer classroom, and various other classroom and administration. The first room we visited had some very cute youngsters (aged 5 to 10 - 22 kids). As soon as we entered the room they stood up and while clapping sang us a song - it was adorable. After everyone got a Canada pin, we had a picutre (see above). Next, we visited the mechanics section where again we were able to give everyone a Canada pin and pose for more pictures.

At the back of the property is an old chruch and house. The priest who started the project and is an honorary rotary member still lives there (and is a practicing priest with over 50 years of services). the building and out-buildings were available for rent to help supplement the operating costs. it even included a small zoo. Most of the funding has been coming from France, but as the benefactors get older and pass away, the funding has been harder to attain. The church on the property has the original owner buried underneath and a tombstone puts the date over three centuries ago.

After that visit, we made our way through the neighbourhood and into the 'bush' along the river to find a historical site protected as a state park. Here we met Netty, a Rotary member of the club (current secretary) who gave us the history of the park and other information. Next we dined on some traditional food including a huge plate of shrimp. We thought that it was kind of interesting but didn't really see the historical significance (explained to us about an old factory on the property - since we couldn't see anything, we assumed it was gone) until we went for the 'walk' after lunch - see pictures above - the old factory dates to over 250 years ago and was used to manufacture leather products. the plumbing system was very complex considering the age of the structure - also, considering the age, the remaining walls are all in pretty good shape (over two and half feet thick). At the front of the old building was a fountain/well with roman style pillars, which is curious to all as the age and timing just don't fit and its surprising to see.

After our tour ended, we returned to my host family's house where we either read, studied, watched tv or caught up on our facebooking... :)

tonight, we then attended the Joao Paulo club meeting and made our presentation to an attentive audience - I found it interesting that this club had approx 5 accountants in attendance - most of the other clubs have mostly teachers, social workers, or lawyers.

tomorrow we have a project visit in the morning followed by a presentation to the club of most of our host families - it is our understanding that we then have beach time followed by the last of the club presentations - we also found out today that our trip to teresina is at 5 am on Friday - therefore, we may not get our post of tomorrow's trip up tomorrow - it is Marcelo's birthday on Friday and we would like to have a short celebration before having to leave early the next morning...

that is all for tonight - enjoy the pictures and send an email or submit a comment if you have any questions.


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