And that was our work for five days. We worked, inside and out, stopped to play with the children and “visit” with the adults who cooked great meals for us. Our breakfast at the Center was usually fresh fruits and juice, ham and cheese slices and bread fresh from the bakery down the street.
When the school day ended at 2:00 the children were at the Center. Beautiful children, all shades of brown and black and some blond with blue eyes. The remarkable thing to me was that there was absolutely no racism shown.
We had our Church School one whole day on Children’s Day, a public school holiday. Fireworks woke us, and went on all day.
We played games inside, we learned to count unos, dos, tres, etc in Portugese and they learned to count one, two, etc. in English. It wasn't hard to play Uno, because cards are colored and numbered--no language barrier. We played fair, took turns, laughed at mistakes, and sometimes "shared" the needed card. They learned to use masking tape, to help clean up painting supplies, to play rowdy games outside, to be friends in all sorts of ways. Nice people, beautiful children; and after seeing the houses with invisible bathrooms I wondered how come they were always so clean. One fun action song, counting all the way to ten, was fun with motions.
We sang with the children "Paz, Paz, Paz" in different languages.
We learned to sing grace for meals. "Alimento, dom de Deus" "For food, thanks to God" “Ombrigado”: Thank you.
We had various casseroles and salads for lunch with chicken, fish, beef, even shrimp. Always hot sauce and different spices, usually no bread other than for breakfast. Guanara, the national drink, other juices, and the fresh fruits (pineapple!) Desserts were not usual, but sometimes a large piece of candy, made specially for us.
We saw beautiful handmade crafts made at both churches--linens and communion cloths for us to bring back for sale, and quilts and scarves.
There was a farewell dinner, with members from both churches, joyful singing.
Children had made farewell gifts for us--little yarn dolls, towels painted with the Methodist cross and flame.
And at the airport on Tuesday we were surprised by the "Obrigado Amigos" banner, and tears on all faces.
As a work team, we had good beds and linens, warm showers, good water, fresh foods and good Brazilian coffee, our laundry done and a clean place to live. We worked hard, but the results were great and remembered. I count it a privilege to have gone to Brazil. Obrigada to our church!