Sunday, October 8

After the wonderful breakfast of fresh fruits (pineapple slices to hold in my fingers!--my favorite), fresh bread from the next-door bakery, ham and cheese slices, coffee and juices, we had a history lesson from Gordon, our missionary.

Brazil is bigger than our U.S. and has about a third as many people. 40% of the slaves from Africa were sent here in the 1700's. The coastline is higher, the rivers run away from the Oceano Atlantico. Americans started coming from Brazil after the Civil War. Methodist women started Methodism in Brazil, the first church was built in Rio. We would later see that church, terribly in need of repair and waiting for money for restoration.

The child and the adolescent cannot work before they reach 16 years of age and cannot be exploited.

Every child and adolescent will have access to diversions and public performances classifed as suitable to her/his age group.

How good and pleasant it is when people live together in unity." Psalms 133:1

Alimento, dom de Deus (Food, gift of God, the right of all)

These are exerpts from the Shade and Fresh Water proclamation, printed by hand on posters in our buildings and on posters for all to be read at our churches and schools.

No church on Sunday morning, only the street festival.

So we went to the festival. There were several blocks of things for sale--most handmade, and you can buy anything imaginable there! Paintings, wooden things, clothes, linen, jewelry, ceramics, glassware and dishes...for sale by strolling vendors and in covered cubicles.

Fresh coconuts with straw littered the ground--you drink the milk and throw away the wooden shells.

Silvery, shiny painted "statues" stood, with boxes to throw your reals (pennies) in, to make them move: an old lady witch, two young men, a soldier. Jerky movements, just like a toy statue, one would kiss your hand.

We were encouraged to see everything that first day and then we could return later to buy whatever souvenirs we had located.

We had lunch at the Baby Beef Restaurant: a buffet with all kinds of salads and veggies, then waiters at our tables with long skewers of meat--chicken, bacon-wrapped chicken, different cuts of beef.

Couldn't possibly even taste all those different things. Cans of Coca-Cola, real exotic desserts.

Then we drove through the city--on a 4-lane highway, through slums and downtown with tall buildings.

We were told of the few jobs available and I asked about the buildings; they were office buildings. Most people have menial jobs: street vendors, maids, etc. Our young volunteer, Christine, says everyone has a maid, herself included. Computer education is necessary in Brazil--without it there are only menial jobs.

We visited the Pope's Plaza--built for his visit 11 years ago--with a huge cross on a plaza overlooking his people, the beautiful part of the city, standing in front of a small mountain where the richer people live.

Some team members attended the evening worship service at Bethany, our host church, with a 3-piece band and active choir. I heard about the exuberant singing (in Portugese of course) and the joy of worshiping together.

Some of us opted to attend the more affluent sister church which must have been every bit as enthusiastic. The service was about the Shade and Fresh Water Project: children and teachers were celebrated and given a red rose.

The children presented posters of segments of the Project proclamation to be taped on the wall. The building was lovely and well-maintained, with a lighted large cross behind the pulpit; there were tropical trees in the front yard. We were wonderfully welcomed and refreshments were served--fried chicken tarts, fresh juice and coffee.

Both churches have active sewing groups--we saw things made by both. We brought back stoles and tablecloths commissioned by a Georgia church--they were truly professional. Handmade quilts and items were for sale at Bethany, and I bought a little girl doll for our fall fair.

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