Monday, October 15, 2012

E Tempo de viver o sonho

Time to live your dreams, this weekend was so much fun, and truly seemed dreamlike. I went to Arembepe with some of my friends all day friday and we went to a hippie village that is located there. It is apparently pretty famous because it is where some big celebrities used to go all the time to get away, like janis Joplin. Anyhow it was gorgeous and all the people were so nice and welcoming and wonderful. It didn't seem like reality. There was lots of really cool art, the beach was close, and my friends who stayed the night even ended up camping one night.

On the beach there there is also a project to save the turtles and educate the community on what harms them and what doesn't. It was a lot of fun to walk through and see all the different kinds of turtles. It reminded me of being home schooled again and going on family adventures to different places always learning along the way.

Next I made it home to my family and we headed out the the island, Ihlia and spent the weekend with my whole brazilian family. It was so much fun, because I understand way more portuguese than I did before and my whole family was so excited to have conversations with me and tell me all sorts of things. They are all so cute, although I almost exploded from all the food I had to eat! haha I also have been getting along really well with my host sister and she was telling me all about the rocks in the sea, and the different types of seaweed, we played for about two hours in the water. And she did my hair the next day, she combed out all the tangles from my very sea salty hair and gave me a nice braid, haha. She is such a sweet heart. Now it is monday however and the holiday is gone and it is back to school. I hope you all had as wonderful of a weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Com Leite?

So yesterday for Portuguese class me and my classmates went to Campo Grande and interviewed a Cafezihno He was a guy in his 30's who had been selling coffee for the past 25 years, he has been friends with our Portuguese professor for 20 years. It was fun because everyone here in Brazil is willing to open up about their whole life story and loves just talking and telling stories.  I couldn't understand everything, but what I got was still really interesting.

He has a wife and two kids, 17 and 9, who he supports through selling coffee. He carries around all the coffee that he makes in advance, and walks around Campo grande. He works about 12 hours a day, and returns home for lunch. He told us he sells around 150 cups per day, and by the time we saw him, at 11:00 that morning, he had already sold 90 cups. He gave us all some and I had my first whole cup of coffee, with milk (Com leite). Brazilians also really love their sweets, so there was a lot of sugar in it, and it wasn't too bad, I ended up having two cups. Here though they do not have big cups like they do in the US, so it was two little tiny cups.

He told us that he came to Salvador when he was 11 years old alone. He has 10 siblings, I believe that all live around here. he had the opportunity to go to university but he wanted to work instead. He loves all his regular customers and meeting and talking to people. It was also fun because we had time for him to ask us questions as well. He asked us all if we had boyfriends (we are all girls) and whether we wanted to work or start a family. He also wanted to know if we missed home and what we liked most about Brazil. It was a very cool experience and I am sure it was the first of many conversations and interviews to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Passada semana


So I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did. I got to do some different things and see more of the city, as well as get some good practice in of Portuguese. Friday night me and couple of girls from my program had a girls night, and had wine and watched "snow white and the huntsman" It was a good movie and fun to have and American type night. It was at Leah's house and her dad was so funny, he set up the movie for us and brought us so many snacks, and kept saying "Americana Noite!"

Saturday I got to go to the concert place again, Jamonman, where I had heard brazillian Jazz before. It was really nice to go again because it is different music each time. I also went with my friend Bri, and her host sister and two of her host sister's friends. so we were mostly only speaking Portuguese, which was cool, because I am getting more confident each day and realizing that I can actually converse with people. Afterwards Bri, Ariel and I headed to Rio Vermihlo for a friends birthday and just had a nice chill night.

Sunday Bri and I went bike riding in a different part of the city that I had never seen before. It was so much fun, we rented bikes for 10 dollars and got to ride a path for two hours. It was a park or preservation of some sort and it was like riding through the jungle, and there was water everywhere, it was gorgeous. Afterwards Bri's sister made us lunch and Bri and I did a little shopping. All in all, a pretty good weekend. now it is back to the school week and studying for Portuguese midterms. . .

Casa de Samba


So I have still not finished posting about my amazing experience in Cachioera, it was just so much in such a short time span. My last thing though that was a lot of fun, was the day we spent in Cachioera. We walked along the really cool old city, where all the buildings are different colors and listened to a lecture on an old female group that bought and freed slaves in the city. They are a huge part of black empowerment here and there is a huge carnival where black power is celebrated, it was a really cool experience.

But one of the favorites was when we went to the house of samba and danced! We learned to samba, we were allowed to play the instruments and they were all just so welcoming. When you do Samba as well you dance your way out as you leave, so we danced while saying goodbye. It was so much fun to do with the whole group, and even though I am terrible, it was a great connection with everyone and everyone just let themselves be free!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Beiju, as Emily and I found out on arrival at our new home stay, is very delicious snack that was then fed to us at every meal. It is made out of a corn flour, flavoring is added, such as coconut, or juice and then it is baked. It has a funky but good taste and is kind of like a cracker. We got to go to the house of fehrinha, which is basically the house of flour, where they make the beiju. It was a very cool experience, we got to see and talk to the woman that make it, and they even let us participate in the experience. I got to cut the beiju into little pieces on the oven. First they flavor the flour, and mix it, after they sift through all of it and then bake it. It was a fun process to watch and then of course they had tons of beiju for us to eat! And they made us this hot drink that contained coconut and cloves and some other spices, it was like rice pudding, yum it was so good!


So in Brazil there is a different type of health system which we are learning all about. So SUS, which is the official name of the health system here is run by the government and put in place PSF, which stands for porto saude de Familia (Family health clinic). The government in Brazil wrote in their constitution that it is a human right to be healthy, and have health care. So citizens of Brazil, and even non-citizens who attend public health centers don't have to pay a thing, not even for medicine or prescriptions. It is funded by the government, local, municipalities and federal. There are PSFs which are made of teams of a doctor, dentist, dentist assistant and nurses as well as a local agents, divided by areas. so depending on where you live, you attend a different PSF. The main goal of these PSFs are too prevent disease and only send people to secondary health care (specialized), or the hospital if they need it, to keep less people in the hospital if they don't need to go.

We got to visit many PSF's on my trip this weekend. I got to see one in a rural area, of Sacko, where me and three other students in my program got to talk to a nurse there all morning. We talked to her about what medication she had available, what type of programs they ran, what tests they were able to do, it was all very interesting. They run multiple programs to prevent and educate people such as family planning, aids and condom use, and making sure that kids are vaccinated. She showed us the forms that people fill out, and where they keep the medication. One major problem in Brazil is hypertension and high blood pressure, so they were actually preparing for an event to educate people about what that is, how it impacts them and nutrition. One major problem that they still have despite all this though is that even though people are aware, they just don't want to take their medication, so they don't.

The next day I got to travel to igaupe, and travel in a group of students with a community agent. Agents are from the community they work in and go to each person's house to see how they are doing, bring them medication, and talk to them about their health. The agent we went with was so nice and helpful and you could tell he just loved his job. He took us to four different house so we got to experience how the PSF has helped the community there in different ways. The first was a lady who was very old and practiced traditional healing, she talked about the people she served, and that she worked with the PSF. The second was a woman with high blood pressure. The third was a family where a grandmother had two daughters that had had their babies three days apart! They were so cute, only about 40 days old, and I got to hold one of them! They said that this is an area where the PSFs have made a huge impact, because before the PSF the women would have had to travel 2 hours to get to the nearest hospital. The last man we visited was an elderly gentleman, who had a wounded leg and he kept telling us that he loved the nurses and everyone was always so kind to him, he was very sweet.

So in Rural areas PSFs have really made an impact, because they do not have man private hospitals or institutions around. The community all know each other and it is easy for the agents to reach out to individuals and for individuals to see the impact that the PSF has made. It was very cool to see something that I have learned about in action.

Excursion to Cachoeira


I am sorry it has been awhile since I have updated, but I just spent the last four days away from the internet in a rural area of Brazil called Cachoeira. It was so much fun, very tiring and quite the experience. As soon as we arrived we were broken up between families that we got to stay with while there and all bused away. I got to live with Emily, which was so much fun, with an adorable family. A mom and husband, which a daughter who was 10 and then multiple, sisters, cousins, Goddaughters and friends always coming in and out. It was fun because it was way more busy and exciting then my house in Salvador, and with Emily to help me with my Portuguese I learned a lot and was able to have more of a conversation.

Even though we only spent four days with them, four very busy days, I may add so we didn't see them much they were so welcoming and loving. I have never eaten so much food in my life, our host mom made us three cakes while we were there, and we always had snacks, so we became quick favorites of everyone else. We had bolo (cake), beiju, and fruit enough to go around for awhile.

They were also very patient with both of us, since we do not have excellent Portuguese, but we were able to communicate and they took the time to have conversations with us. It was an amazing experience and I hope that I am able to go back some day and see them again.