Today was our last day in Brazil and we ate breakfast at the hotel and it had very good food. We had optional pool time afterwards at the hotel and mostly everyone went. The pool was on the roof of the hotel and had such an amazing view of the water and city. Then we packed up our stuff and before we left to go to the farewell lunch, we had journal time. We were given a few prompts to write about and one of the prompts was “What were our goals for the trip?” and it was interesting to hear everyone’s goals and how we all accomplished our goals in some way.
Before going to the airport, the group had a farewell party at Professor Javier Escudero's family home. We ate a traditional, home-cooked, Bahian lunch (fish, shrimp, vegetables, rice, pasta, and chicken). We talked with Javier and Patricia’s family, along with family friends and people who helped us on the trip. After we ate and had some down time, the group exchanged good-byes and stories of the trip. We shared our gratitude for each other and all the amazing work Javier and his family did for us. The party ended with a dance from Isabel (Javier’s niece, who accompanied us for most of the trip) and her friend. It was popular Brazilian dance with Brazilian music. After, some students did a dance in return to the song “Teamwork” by Mackenzie Ziegler. We gave our final hugs and left for the airport. It was the perfect ending to our last afternoon in Brazil.
This Brazil trip has been a wonderful experience all around. We visited tourist sites such as Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro; learned about African religion and its roots in Brazil including candomble house on Itaparica; we learned about environmental changes in the diverse Brazilian ecosystems; we also interacted many age groups. Practicing wrestling, capoeira, and even math with young elementary school kids who live in a favela within Rio, singing and dancing with high school students in Salvador, Poetry with college students in Itaparica, and learning through presentations from multiple adults throughout our travels, all of these allowed us as outsiders to relate more to Brazilian culture. We also discovered besides the obvious differences we are not that much different than Brazilians, we could communicate with non English speakers using gestures, google translate and more. We all bonded with people we visited. One example of this was the capoeira students that we saw on Itaparica we played soccer and volleyball with. No one really spoke, we all just were laughing and having a great time, even with our incredibly different backgrounds.