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Via Sam Heist:

Early this morning, we met for breakfast at 7:25. We went to our usual breakfast place, which had different fruits and juices than before. When we were done eating, we heard a lot about the favelas from Roberta, a friend of Javier’s who grew up in one. She talked about the issues in the favelas from early 2000s and now. There are many problems within the favelas communities relating to police and violence.

From breakfast, we drove over to our morning activity which was rock climbing, a high-ropes course, and zip lining. We were split into two separate groups, one starting with the rock wall and one starting with the ropes course. We all put on harnesses and helmets which were needed for all three activities.

The ropes course was very fun and nerve wracking at the same time. Most of us went through it quickly while others started off scared although got much better and conquered their fear by the end. There were about five different obstacles which were all very tricky in some way but very fun.

When the groups were done, we switched. My group then went to the rock wall. There was one wall with three different parts and climbing section. Two of them were fairly easy for the majority of us. The middle one had a huge part sticking out which was difficult to get over for some. Near the end, our entire group came and cheered Michael on who was the last one to try and climb the middle wall. We all cheered and tried to help him do it. It was such a good experience; as all 22 of us, including adults, were cheering on and encouraging people together.

When both groups had finished, we went on to the zip line. It was very fun, simple and a nice way to end all the activities. After, we went and had a delicious lunch at a restaurant we had been to before this week. There were many options of fruits, vegetables, meats, pastas and more. After a well-deserved and delicious lunch we went back to the hotel for a little.

Via Bekah Keator:

After lunch we enjoyed some free time in the hotel, which we used to play soccer in the park, go to the supermarket down the street, or to rest and nap in the rooms. After the rest time, we were joined by four teenagers who came with Roberta and Joyce for the afternoon’s activities.

The whole group loaded into vans again and headed to the National History Museum by the ocean.

While we were there, all of us had the opportunity to look at all the exhibits and artifacts, with a focus on finding some information for our term papers on various topics.

While we were there, we also enjoyed a couple presentations from Javier on the origin of words (Indigenous, African, or Latin) and on various time periods for both Brazilian history, and that of the world as a whole.

On the way back from the museum, we stopped at an old slave port that was rediscovered when renovations were happening to the city in anticipation of the Rio Olympics in 2016, and heard a presentation on it from Aïssatou. The port had been built to receive the slaves and was also a slave market. It had been covered up eventually but was then rediscovered.

For dinner we headed back to the hotel and had pizzas in the lobby area. There were all different types of pizza and there was also Guarana, a favorite Brazilian drink of ours. After dinner we all were given free time again, with the intention of having time to pack for our flight to Salvador tomorrow morning. Besides packing, many students once again played soccer or went to the supermarket to get snacks for the trip.

Overall it was an exciting and educational day, with many opportunities to experience and learn about the culture and history of Brazil.