Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brazil Sponsor Tour 2012: Part 3, A day in Fortaleza

The story continues with my first full day in Fortaleza. On this day we visited one of the projects here to learn about the work they do and spend time with the kids! It was a great day! When we arrived at the center on our bus the kids were lined up inside waiting for us. So cute!
They had a processional for as as we walked inside their project. They sang, played instruments, clapped and cheered for us. Some even shook our hands or gave us high fives.

  The children went back to their classrooms and we went into the chapel to learn about their project. This is the amazing husband/wife team that runs the project.
They became so emotional talking about the project because they serve about 400 children and only 15 do not have sponsors. We were the first Compassion sponsor group to visit their project. They explained to us the challenges these kids face and how thankful they are to have us supporting them. One thing that I thought was very inspiring about the project was that many of the workers do so voluntarily and are not paid. It was clear how much love they have for their children at this center. It was amazing.

After the preliminary presentation we visited some of the kids in their classrooms and played in the courtyard after we ate lunch. (PS the pineapple in Brazil is AMAZING!) Some people brought small gifts like stickers, bouncy balls, frisbees, soccer balls, and balloons and the kids had a great time!

We joined the kids back in the chapel and sat with them while we enjoyed an afternoon presentation. Each age group of kids (youngest, middle, and oldest) did a dance/skit for us which was very cool!

We met some of the older kids at the project. They were very inquisitive. The little kids were just excited to have us there and wanted to play, but the older kids asked more questions (with the help of translators) and were very nice.
Then we left the project to visit some homes in the area. We visited two homes (side-by-side) in the slums a couple of blocks away from the project. The first home we visited houses six people (both parents and four children, including a newborn). The younger boy goes to the project and has a sponsor in France I believe. He showed us some of the letters he has received.
The home next door houses five or seven people (a mother and either four or six of her children, she has six but I don't remember if all of them live with her). Her husband abandoned her when she was pregnant with her last child but left her with enough money to purchase her house.
The homes are small, about the size of my college dorm room. There are two rooms. In the first house there was one mattress for the family and a crib for the baby and the second house has one small bed for the mother and hammocks for the children. I don't remember seeing much for a kitchen. The homes are literally right next to each other so you can hear everything going on in the home next to yours.

We were not allowed to take pictures in the slums because it would attract too much attention but the following pictures were taken outside the front door of the two homes we visited looking down the street to the right and left and then at the two homes (we were in the blue/green on and the cream one to the right). The community knew we were coming so they cleaned up some of the garbage before we got there but there was still quite a bit of garbage, it smelled bad, and there was a small "stream" of water and probably sewage running through the street in some areas.

Upon arriving back at the project we said our goodbyes to the kids and took a group picture before heading back to our hotel to prepare for the next day (meeting our sponsored children!!!) This girl was very sad to see us go and cried when it was time to leave.

Facebook status that night: Unforgetable day in Fortaleza, Brazil meeting the amazing children and staff of one of the projects here. It's hot, but the children are cute, the people wonderful, and the pineapple is so so sweet :)

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