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Via Leo Yang:

When the first ray of sunshine poured onto me, I reluctantly woke up. It was very hard to believe that we were already on the last day on this trip. I couldn't imagine how much we would miss the sunshine and this passionate country.

After the sweet and simple breakfast, we were ready to embrace the very final part of this adventure. We walked through the winding alley behind our hotel that was filled with all kinds of colorful houses and joyful people. After a short ten or twenty minutes, we arrived at the base of TAMAR project.

TAMAR Project aims to save the sea turtles along Brazilian shore that were once very endangered by the fishing industry. In the base, we met the lady, Luanah, again, who introduced the whaling project to us the other day. With her guidance, we entered the base and had some lectures about TAMAR project.

She told us that it was originally started by students who realized the dangerous situation of sea turtles after an expedition over the sea. I was really impressed by their courage and kindness to start up this project and manage to run it from three bases to 22 protective bases along the entire Brazilian shoreline.

When we entered the actual part where the turtles are being kept, she told us that out of the seven sea turtle species, five of them occur along Brazilian shore, and the biggest of them, the leatherback turtle, could grow up to two meters long in shell length. It was really shocking when people tell you that a turtle could grow way taller than us.

In this single base, they have kept four of those turtles species. At the same time, such a big zoo created many job opportunities, according to Luanah. Surprisingly, many of them are fishermen who were once the major threat to the sea turtles themselves.

When we saw the little pool of newborn turtles, I kind of understood what made them change their minds. The little turtles were small and cute. They wiggle their little bodies to try to get on shore. They failed but never stopped trying. What a wonderful thing life is! If everyone would be able to see them, we would probably not create that much pollution anymore.

Speaking of pollution, we had a young lady talking to us about her recycling programs where she made beautiful artifacts out of wasted materials. She showed us some beautiful fishes and wristbands that she used plastic bottles from the beach to make. After her short presentation finished, we also started the activity to pick up trash along the coast to remind people to respect the beach while enjoying it.

It was quite bit of a journey to go through a few kilometers of beach under the blazing sun. Especially, we had to pick up cigarettes buds in the bush and ripped plastic bags among the sand. Luckily, we had a few local people helping us to finish this activity. When they came by and started picking up trash, I felt all the work was worthy of doing it; we had a clear influence on the local people. As a sort of reward, we earned some beach time before and after lunch.

People were playing games in the water, swimming, talking to friends, or even just sitting and enjoy the last bit of this bright beach time. Before the time we were supposed to assemble for another presentation, it suddenly started raining dogs and cats! Many of us were still on the beach or on the way back to hotel. It really caught us off guard. Annoying though it was for an instant, the air was refreshing during the rain and made a really nice atmosphere for our last presentation, though our hotel was a little flooded.

However, it did not affect the presentation. The lady, Candai who once showed us how to arrange turbans in Salvador, taught us a some of her experience of racial and gender issue in Latin America. She told us that she organized some opportunities to enforce the communication between modern and other minor cultures. Through all of those activities she organized for us, we really saw that how racism still exists in Latin America and how hard people are trying to bring down the separations and biases towards people of color.

Finally, after the presentation, it was time for our farewell feast in our guide's, Javier's, house. When we entered the house we started watching picture and videos he had taken throughout this trip. It brought back all of the good old memories, and we feeling like touring Rio and Salvador again! The dinner was some good traditional Brazilian food, and we laughed out loud while the pictures played on the television.

Moreover, while the farewell dinner was going on Javier and his family nicely threw a birthday party for our classmate Emily! It was so much fun when we are eating and watching the things we have been through together in the past two weeks. There could not have been anything more memorable. When we actually got to the farewell part, it took us a huge effort to detach from the excitement and get ready for the journey back to NMH.

There were so much to talk about, so many things worthy to be noted, so many people we should appreciate during this trip but time is limited so we had to leave this beautiful place and finish the last bit of school before we can be out and enjoying the world again.

Farewell, Brazil!

Previous Days: Praia do Forte Day Three, Praia do Forte Day Two, Salvador to Cachoeira to Praia do Forte, Salvador Day Four, Salvador Day Three, Salvador Day Two, Rio to Salvador, Rio Day Four, Rio Day Three, Rio Day Two, Greetings, Rio Day One