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Brazil 2018: Nov 12 Praia do Forte

Nov 12 Praia do Forte, Brazil  (Campbell, Rosey, Stephen)

We started out the day by visiting a local public high school in Praia do Forte. We interacted with the students through various songs and dances that we had previously prepared. The students at Praia do Forte opened the presentation with a solo song in english, that was sung beautiful by a young girl. They also sung Redemption Song by Bob Marley since they are focusing on Black Consciousness in their studies. After the song and dance presentation, they allowed us time to mingle with and get to know the students. This was a interesting experience because a majority of the students spoke no english, so we were forced to communicate through google translate. We then said goodbye and headed to lunch with eight of the high school students.

We ate lunch with the students and learned more about them and their lives in Brazil. We then walked to the beach down a very beautiful path with many shops lining it. We got to the beach and had an hour for free time. We taught some of the Brazil students a game we play called taps. They taught us a game that they play too. It was fun to share with each other what we do for fun. Once we got out of the water we dried off and walked down the beach cleaning up trash. We ended up with 6 bags of trash that we picked up off the beach. After we walked back through the beautiful path to our hotel.

Before dinner, we listened to a presenter speak on pollution in the water. It inspired many of us to find an idea for our Bio project. We then ate the local pizza which we all enjoyed. Fortunately, after dinner, we got free time to walk around and explore the town. Some of us went shopping and some got gelato. It was great to hang out with friends and have a relaxing end to the day.
Brazil 2018: Salvador Nov 10-11

Salvador, Brazil Nov 11-12, 2018 Emma, Carina, Sally

      Yesterday, November 10th, we spent the entire day sightseeing an old colonial part of Salvador called Pelourinho. The buildings are a representation of colonial Portuguese architecture. The majority of the older buildings are painted in light colorful colors. We first went around in four different groups with students from the local area learning about Pierre Verger and African influence in Brazilian culture. After, we got to spend some free time exploring the town and shopping at the local markets near the town plaza. We then visited the Church and Covent of Saint Francis, where we learned about the Franciscan influence on Salvador and how race was depicted in the religion. The church was inspired by Baroque architecture, with the inside of the church covered with numerous gold leaf carvings. This architecture left everyone in shock upon walking into the church.

      After dinner we went to see the Bale Folclorico da Bahia show. We saw a theatrical showcase of Afro-Brazilian culture through dances such as the traditional dance of the candomblé religion, capoeira, and samba. In the candomblé dance, the dancers dressed up as different African gods called orixas, which are representations of the African spiritual cosmology in candomblé.  The capoeira showcase was interesting to watch after having practiced it ourselves on a smaller scale. It was a whole new level of speed and agility through their flips and rapid kicks. To close off the show, there was a lively dance of samba, showing the happiness and energy exerted by the group through the dance.

      Today we went to the Pierre Verger Foundation Center. Pierre Verger was a French photographer who was well known for his research on the Afro-Brazilian culture in Bahia. There we took an Afro-dance class that incorporated elements of nature through the movements. The people there prepared a wonderful lunch full of traditional Brazilian food, such as manioc and guava juice. The desert satisfied our sweet tooth with coconut chunks and shavings as well as cake.  Then we did two more workshops: art and percussion. In the art class, we took recycled soda bottles and made them into decorated flowers. In the percussion workshop, we learned how to play the drums and many other Brazilian native instruments. We took a group picture with the people in the cultural center and got a surprise gift: an apron and chef's hat for each person. We then took an hour bus ride and arrived at our hotel in Praia do Forte.

Brazil 2018:  Itaparica day two Nov 9

Brazil Itaparica day two Nov 9  Adam, Eliza, Ollie

Last night we stayed at a new hotel in the colonial region of Itaparica. We had a view of the ocean and there was a pool. Some of us even woke up at 5am to watch the sunrise before falling back to sleep again. This morning was our first time swimming at the beach. All excited, we woke up and went to the beach at 8am. This was a time that we could relax and swim and hangout with each other. The water was very warm and calm with almost no waves. At the beach some people also played soccer. We spent about an hour and a half on the beach and we took lots of pictures. Then we went back to the hotel and got ready for the remainder of the day.

After leaving the hotel, we went to Javier's wife Patricia’s parents house. We met up with the capoeira masters from Thursday and many more Brazilians, and with them we engaged in sports like volleyball and soccer. We also took the time to get to know many of the Brazilian people who were there, whether it was sharing music or speaking through google translate. Patricia and her family prepared a fantastic lunch of rice beans and brisket for us. And near the end of our time, many people got their hair braided by some of the Brazilian people. Overall it was a great time and a great experience interacting and sharing cultures with some awesome Brazilian people.

At their house we got to learn more capoeira and drumming, and dive further into it than we did the day before. Capoeira is a traditional Brazilian mix of dance and martial arts. We started with the ginga, the most basic capoeira move that is always taught first. From there we learned more flashy and intricate moves like cartwheeling alongside a partner and balancing in positions hovered over the ground. The sun was out and we were so very sweaty but everyone made it so fun that we didn’t want to stop. Some of us also learned how to play capoeira music. It was very hard at first because it was new for almost everyone but we really got into it and it felt like there was music playing in the background the whole time we were there.

Brazil 2018: Itaparica in Bahia Nov 8

Itaparica (in Bahia) Nov 8 Leah, Nicole, Naia

   On Thursday, we traveled by ferry from Salvador to the island of Itaparica and spent most of the day in a quilombo, which is a community where escaped slaves would build their homes and where their ancestors now live. One of the things we did in the quilombo was go to the place where manioc is processed. Manioc is a common plant that grows very easily in Brazil. We were able to see how it is ground up and made into different products, like flour and crackers. Also, we got to meet the people who were doing the process. It was very interesting to watch and the producers were very generous in giving us lots of samples to try!

  We went to a capoeira museum on November 7. In general, everyone had fun experiencing the Afro-Brazilian moves, such as kicks and cartwheels. Also, we interacted with the students by doing capoeira with them and trying to play the instruments that are heard when doing this sport. The instruments, such as drums and tamborines are used as a way of bringing rhythm to the moves. Along with the instruments, the students would sing about their ancestors together. Furthermore, it was one of our best days because we had the opportunity of learning about Brazil’s dancing and martial arts sport.

   In the middle of the day, the NMH students entered a Candomblé house to meet with Mãe de Santo (Translated as Mother of the Saint) Juanice to better understand the Afro-Brazilian Religion. Candomblé is a religion originating in Africa and was brought over by slaves through the Middle Passage. Since then, Candomblé has grown and evolved throughout Brazil’s history and has cemented itself as a staple part of Brazil’s culture. During our visit to the house, Mão de Santo Juanice spoke about the different Ancestors, who are the deities of the religion, such as Iiansã the god of the storms, lightning and thunder. She also spoke about one of the rituals performed by those practicing Candomblé, which involves chanting in a circle and playing the drums rhythmically. Mãe de Santo Juanice mentioned how, often, these rituals were performed in secret to prevent outsiders from looking in on the tradition and believing that the practicers were crazy. By understanding the history and significance behind these rituals and the religion itself, the NMH students are making the most of their Brazil Cultural Trip. 

Apologies for the late postings--Internet connectivity has been a little weak.

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Blog post written by Alec Nevins, Ethan Lam, and Elijah Dunn-Feiner:

Back in Rio, our adventures in Brazil comprised of lessons and talks with programs and individuals such as the Brazilian university, IBMEC and a human rights activist. In addition, we were given the opportunity to hear from a descendent of the many slaves transported to Brazil, Selina Rodriguez, who also happens to be the princess of a voodoo Kingdom. Despite the length and density of information processed, we were rewarded with meeting children of the Olympic Energy Project and engaging in a substantial facet of their culture, the sport of wrestling and soccer, and the art of Capoeira. We also celebrated Naia's 16th birthday with a cake after dinner - Happy Birthday Naia! In all, we enjoyed taking part in several days of activity with many life lessons to learn from. 

Brazil 2018: Rio Nov 3-4

Nov 3-4 Posting by Tram, Aiden and Emaline

We made it safely to Brazil! We had a great flight and a wonderful first day. We took in a soccer match at Maracanã Stadium followed by great meal back near the hotel.  Then we slept well in our hotel located in Copacabana.

Today (Nov 4) we went to see Christ the Redeemer which is one of the seven world wonders. It's located at the top of the mountains in Rio de Janeiro. The statue of Jesus has his arms open which can symbolize many things such as welcoming. We were able to see all of the city from the top, and the differences between the north and the south, rich and poor.  To get there, we drove on a very windy road and climbed steps to get up. Up there the clouds were rolling off the statue and it was beautiful.

After lunch, we headed over to the national museum of Brazil in which we met two Brazilian high school students who we got to interact with and get to know. We listened to our guide Javier explain the history of Brazil before roaming round the museum seeing what the museum contains. We saw paintings, artifacts from indigenous people and were able to learn more about Brazil's history.

Dinner was exquisite, the pasta with chicken was so divine. Guaraná is a Brazilian fruit that is then used for the guaraná soda which is magnificent. For dessert we indulged in some amazing chocolate cake which was very rich and creamy rather than cake-like. It was a highlight of the meal itself.

Drumming, soccer and more!

Junio 20

El domingo, nosotros fuimos a la casa de Nico y Miguel para almuerzo.
Nosotros comimos en una pequeña casa separada de la principal casa. Nos pareció que al
padre de Nico y a Miguel le gusta cocinar. El tiene un horno muy grande y
cocina hamburguesas y pizza para nosotros. La pizza estuvo muy rica y tenía mucho queso.
También, nosotros comimos aperitivos y bebimos refrescos. Después de almuerzo, nosotros
jugamos juegos de cartas juntos. Nuestro juego favorito fue “Spoons” juego muy competitivo
y muy energético. En el juego, hay cucharas en el centro de la mesa para todos los jugadores
- excepto uno.

El lunes fuimos a un lugar que se llama Tamborilearte después de una clase historia.
Nos encontramos con Fernando, el dueño de la tienda. Nos enseñó tocar los tambores .
Él comenzó enseñar cómo pegamos los tambores, entonces nos enseñó el ritmo correcto. Nosotros
jugamos un juego de ritmo y después de nosotros empezamos a aprender una canción. Nuestro maestro
fue muy cómico y un amigo de Roberto. Nosotros todos teníamos diversión y vamos a tocar los
tambores con Fernando otra vez.

El lunes pasado, fuimos al Museo de la Memoria. El museo habla de la dictadura en Uruguay
y nosotros aprendimos mucho. La dictadura fue en 1973-1985. Había mucha censura y violaciones
de derechos humanos. Aquí es de donde proviene la frase "libertad o muerte".

Muchas personas fueron detenidas y algunos desaparecieron. Se llaman “los desaparecidos”.
El museo es dedicado a recordar los desaparecidos (esta es el razon por el nombre
“Museo de la Memoria” ). El museo es impactante y estamos contentos que pudimos ir.