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After a restful night of sleep, the group was ready for a full day in Rio. Javier arrived to bring us to breakfast before our adventures began in full. It was off to Catacumba Park then, for a morning of challenging outdoor experiences. The group absolutely adored our helpful instructors who shepherded us through rock climbing, a high ropes course, and finally a zipline through the forest. It was a great way to start the day as we came together to support one another through the three activities.

Having worked up an appetite, Javier brought us to Urca, an out of the way beachside neighborhood, for lunch. The views of the shore and cliffside from our tables were simply spectacular.
The afternoon was reserved for the National History Museum. With our inquisitive-minded students and our ever-knowledgeable guide, we avoided the often paralyzing effect of museum tours with a vast amount of exhibits. At the outset, students were tasked to find one exhibit that stood out to them in order to bring to discussion later on. Once in the museum, Javier began to provide extraordinary background on the exhibits we saw from the period of pre-colonization until the 20th century. With the students already having discussed much of this history back at NMH, they were now able to see and hear in more detail about the oppression of indigenous groups, the history and legacy of slavery, and forging of a new nation.
Back at the hotel, Jennifer asked the students to consider three quotes in reflecting about the day. For Maggie Dunbar '17, the poem by Fernando Pessoa spoke to her: "From where I sit in the hotel writing this, is only six blocks from the sea. And when I see the ocean, I see beach and volleyball and ice cream. What I don't see or think about, are the people who first set foot on that beach, who discovered Rio, who have made this city what it is today. What this quote means to me is to remember that Rio is not all party, all popsicles, but that it was built on top of the tears of many."

Trung Huynh '17 reflected on race relations in Brazilian society today. Trung noted that, "Although on the outside Brazil seems like a harmonious racial democracy, its racial [issues] go much deeper...The black population is still at a disadvantage when navigating Brazil's class system. Many...receive a lesser education, and some of them are still stuck in the cycle of poverty."

Tomorrow includes an even busier day as we learn Samba and take in Rio's Botanical Garden. We'll have the privilege of hearing student reports from Maggie and Lila Jacobs on both subjects to start the day!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these wonderfully descriptive posts! I read and imagine the events in the posts with great pleasure. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to today's Botanical Garden photos! :)