Voyage to Brazil

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I would’ve never thought that I’d actually get selected to travel to Brazil to study its culture. For months, the applicants for the traveling program with Brotherhood/Sistersol did projects and participated in different activities to see who would be a good fit to go to Brazil. I knew that once I was chosen, my life would change forever…and it has.

Traveling to Brazil:

My first obstacle was surviving the 11 hour plane ride to Rio De Janeiro. I remember how emotional I was that day, because I had never really been away from my mother  and would be traveling throughout Brazil for three weeks. She and my stepdad were practically the last parents to be waiting with me and the others at the airport. When it was time for us to go through security check,  I hugged my mom tightly and just started crying. This caused her to cry and as I walked away I kept looking back until they were gone.

Arriving and Traveling Throughout Brazil:

The plane ride wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, except I rarely got  to sleep. As soon as we landed, we went straight to work. The first thing we did was stop by our house to drop off our luggage and personal belongings. Afterwards, we went to eat and visited the iconic Jesus statue — this was the best thing ever! I’ve seen this statue in movies and was in awe of being fortunate to visit this place. We had to walk up a lot of stairs until we finally made it to the top, but the work out was worth it. The sight was absolutely breathtaking and from that altitude you are able to have a panoramic view of the city. It was during this moment that it finally hit me and knew I was in Brazil.

We traveled to a total of 5 cities: Rio, Miguel Pereira, Paraty, Salvador, and Arembepe. My trip to Brazil was not a luxurious vacation, but a fun educational experience. In each city, we conducted research and worked on community projects, which were presented to the rest of the group. We visited favelas (slums atop of mountains), quilombos (communities where descendants of slaves live), and we interacted with the local youth. One project included presenting Brazilian topics in a creative way to the rest of our group and another project included studying and investigating life in the quilombos. Our last project had to be presented when we returned from Brazil and included showcasing everything we learned from our travels.

Even though we worked hard, we did find time to relax and have fun. In Rio, we went to a hip hop club and I actually danced there. In Miguel Pereira, we went to a kids’ square dancing party, but we were hesitant to have fun once we entered and saw the kids in costumes. This quickly changed as soon as the music began to play. We tried our best to mingle with the youth and we line danced with them.

In Paraty, we would lay in the hammocks at the place we were staying and walk on the beach located across the street. In Salvador, we finally were able to go and swim at the beach. Lastly, in Arembepe, we befriended these boys who were part of a Brotherhood chapter in Brazil. The organization I went to Brazil with is called the Brotherhood/Sistersol. One of the co-founders lives in Brazil and he created an all boys group there and we hung out with these boys from time to time. I kind of had a crush on one of the boys.

All in all, this was one of the best experiences of my life. I keep saying that I may move to Brazil in the future. I’m even trying to learn more Portuguese. It was nice to get out of the United States for a while and see what else is out there. I really found myself in Brazil. Whenever we had time to relax, I would gaze out into the water, depending where we were, and just reflect on my time there. Living with 13 other teenagers proved to be highly difficult since there was always drama, but we somehow made it work. When I came home from Brazil, I was ready to take my senior year by storm.

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