Today is Wednesday and I have been unable to blog because there is no internet at the place we were staying, contrary to our initial expectations.
On Monday we visited the orphanage for the first time, initially it was quite surprising because it is very clean and well presented and the houses are lovely, just like little villas. Many people in the team had had different expectations, thinking it would be run down reflecting the backgrounds these children had come from. However, the owner of the orphanage explained that they took every opportunity to make this place a slice of heaven, a safe haven for the children, and by the mentality of the children it is clear they have succeeded. They are always smiling and Matt Farr, a team leader, said he was blown away by the kindness and welcoming attitude of all the children. One child had arrived here just a week ago with marks on his face, which has made us all wonder at and appreciate the horrific backgrounds from which these children come, and to fully appreciate how much time and effort the people who work here have invested to turn a child’s life around so quickly! They are genuinely amazing. Yesterday and today we have been painting the car park outside the orphanage, and Alex Thai has designed a mural be painted on the wall, it is hard work but everyone is working together brilliantly and we have nearly finished the car park! We only have limited tools so, whilst some people paint or brush, others are playing with the kids and getting to know them better, again leading us to appreciate just how drastic their lives were before.
Whilst we have been traveling around Uberlandia we have seen things such as a family living on a sofa in the streets, but so far it has still seemed quite distant from the lives of our hosts, who still had less than us, but Mike Ormrod assures us that so far we have only really seen the most successful projects, and that in the coming days, when we are building the house etc, we will see far more of the impoverished side of Brazil. I think the group had expectations similar to what we saw in passing in Rio, the favelas etc, whereas here there is in fact a much less clear divide between the rich and the poor, but we hope to see some things that are really life changing in the next couple of days.
More soon Tess