Blog from Mata Escura

28.12.2011 - Update from Mata Escura - Christmas Festivities!

Hi all, hope you are all having a happy and relaxing holiday season. Thought I would take this opportunity to bring you an update from Mata Escura…

Saturday 17th December saw the last day of term and Christmas party at Sonho Vovo Clara (Grandmother Clara’s Dream). The kids spent the last week creating all kinds of beautiful decorations to ensure the school looked suitably festive for the party. We had an impressive 55 students turn up and the celebrations started with a dance contest – won hands down by Franciele and Iran! Next up was musical chairs and statues, with a clean sweep of victories for ‘a Familia’!! The kids then got a fantastic surprise when ex-volunteer teacher Linda Mackessy returned for a visit – the oldest children who had been in Tia Linda’s class were thrilled to see her again after a year and it was great to see her back in the school.

This year our party was kindly supported by the local Rotaract Club (youth wing of the Rotary Club) who provided party food, presents and arranged for a visit from Father Christmas. Celebrations continued with a lunch of sandwiches and chocolate brigadeiro sweets and then it was time for our guest of honour to arrive…..Father Christmas himself (bravely sweltering in his suit in the 37 degrees heat!) distributed presents to all 55 children – the only presents these children will receive this year.

 Following Father Christmas’ visit we played more party games, football with the older children and there was more dancing. The party ended with hot dogs and cake for everyone and 55 happy and exhausted children headed home!

It was a great party and it was fantastic to be able to put the worries to one side for the day and celebrate with the children. Of course 2011 has been difficult, we started the year with a team of 12 volunteers and regular funding and we are ending the year with a team of just myself and Andrea and an insecure financial future. At present we have funding to keep operating until April 2012, after that we do not know what will happen. We are heading into 2012 with uncertainty, but with a lot of hope. Please remember the children of Mata Escura and get in touch if you have any ideas, opportunities or suggestions to help Creche Sonho Vovo Clara continue it’s work.

28.12.2011 - Tio Charlie, impressions of teaching in Mata Escura

"Words cannot describe the energy in the educandario. Everyday without fail you will unconsciously give your all and instantly be rewarded with the love and joy of the kids. It was hard work, and the help that everyone gave me from Emma, Andrea, Sonia even the children aided me as a volunteer and also changed me into what i think is a better human being. I can quite honestly say this is the greatest experience in the world and I undoubtedly had the best time of my young life. And the one thing that resonates with me is just two words "worth it".  The trip was worth it, the time and energy worth it. The new friends were worth it. The school is worth it."

05.12.2011 - Abraços Tia: Teaching at Educandário Creche Comunitária Sonho Vovó Clara

This summer I was teaching children, aged two to sixteen, numeracy and literacy at Educandário Creche Comunitária Sonho Vovó Clara in the favela Mata Escura, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.  I wrote this letter for a very special student, a five-year-old boy named Nadson, who taught me an important lesson when I was having a bad day. 

Querido Nadson,

I was having one of those days.  You know, those days where things don’t go like they should. Everyone was having trouble finishing their work.  You were being so stubborn! You wouldn’t pick up your pencil until all your classmates had left the room. I made you stay to finish your work. I thought you were mad at me.  How mean I was, not letting you play! And then you finally finished! Freedom! As you left the classroom, you said “abraços Tia” and gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. Then you ran to play.

 Thank you Nadson! That meant the world to me. You reminded me why I love what I do. When you do what you love, that love will shine through every time. I hope when you grow up, you find something you love and do it with all your heart. 

Muito obrigada,

Tia Catriona

(Querido = Dear, abraços = hugs, Tia = Auntie, Muito obrigada = Thankyou very much)