One hour flight to Rio; Teca will be with us to guide us as we sight-see.
The airport is a lo-o-ong bus ride through traffic like I hope to not see again. Our Cococabana Hotel is on the oceanfront. We can see the ocean through trees from our second and third floor windows but we aren't allowed to be tourists on the sand. Dinner is endless pizza, all you can eat (many different kinds) and again we aren't allowed to walk alone--only in our group. Vendors are everywhere, selling everything you can imagine. They aren't allowed in stores or hotel but they can tempt one in lots of different ways through windows and doors.
We awoke to traffic sounds--6-8 lanes between us and Coronado Beach.
We toured Rio on a bus through rain and fog. We planned to see the Christ the Redeemer statue but it would be impossible in that weather.
We went up 2 cable cars to view Rio from Sugarloaf Mountain--we could see the city and harbor.
We saw a tall cathedral with column windows of stained glass, again built for the Pope's visit. We saw the cathedral where the death squad shot 10 children--10 figures painted in red on the sidewalk--which prompted the beginning of caring for children. We went away from the dangerous city and walked along the beach.
We were the first Virginians ever to visit the Peoples Institute in Flavela (Slum) Hill, supported by our Virginia Annual Conference. The Institute cares for children from 3 months to first grade age, all day. After that they go to public school 4 to 5 hours a day. If children finish 4th grade they are doing well; if they complete 9th grade they have finished Junior High. There are maybe 60 babies and toddlers, grouped by age, in small rooms with few toys and few chances to play outside. They are fed, bathed and given a nap; no rowdy running and playing in the confined spaces.
And out the front window the view is of a garbage pen with pigs.
Computer classes are taught, and some English. The volunteer librarian said that when children first come to the library they don't know what books are for; they have to be taught in in 2 years they may be reading and understanding books. Their motto is "the light at the end of the tunnel"-- education.
The church was founded in 1906, and is waiting for money to be repaired--it is falling down. It is used as a chapel and for Sunday services, with maybe 60 people attending.
Though it's in the slums it isn't dangerous because people realize the teachers are there to help the children.
A volunteer college student from Ohio was preparing to leave the school without an English mentor and I was told that I would be welcome as his replacement to work with the daycare and teach English.
We ate lunch in a huge 2 story modern mall and saw the first Methodist church in Brazil. Teca took us again to a street festival for souvenirs, and we packed to fly to Newark, arriving in Richmond Friday October 20, tired but satisfied to have had a wonderful experience.