Two weeks in
Apologies for a later posting and 2 blogs to read, but lots has been happening, and I have also been without wifi for the past 2 days so posting has been delayed! Another longer term volunteer arrived on Wednesday too, called Abi, and she will be staying for 4 months.
Closing the ReaViva Olympics:
From Wednesday to Friday last week, we spent our time finishing off some of the Olympic Games for the girls. We also spent some time teaching them a dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake for our Olympics closing ceremony where we performed the dance and handed out medals to the girls. This was a lot of fun, and one evening we even christened the new dance studio by learning in there – I felt like a proper dancer with the ballet bar and mirrors! At the closing ceremony we recognised all the girls achievements and their different personalities by awarding them each an extra medal for the things that they should be proud of about their character. It has been amazing to see their individual personalities shine through even in the short time that we have been here and I think they all felt very special afterwards.
During the end of this week we also spent some time making “Fifteens” (Northern Irish cakes) with them, and decorating their own bunting. We even have some activities left over to leave behind with us for the girls to do! As always, we managed to complete some of the painting on the outside of the building too! For one very tall section we enlisted Andy’s help and he managed to reach – there is no health and safety here!
On Thursday afternoon, Sophie’s friend, Mariana, who met her briefly in the Uk a few years ago but who now lives back in Recife, took us out for the afternoon to show us some museums and a spot of Brazilian culture.
We visited two museums, one (I think!) was very colourful and about a community of Brazilians who live elsewhere but live like the old end days (a bit like the Amish community), the other was the museum of Favro (which is a type of dance that is famous for the Perbambuco state here, particularly in the carnival.
We got to write on the walls in this museum, and also got to see many carnival flags and banners from the parades. Olinda old town is famous for its carnival so this was good to see! We then went to a big book shop in Recife and had an ice cream by the sea – it reminded me of Newcastle quayside!
On the Streets:
Late Friday night saw Andy, Salamao and us girls hit the two main streets in Olinda in the combi, offering sandwiches, coffee and water to the homeless. Most of these people were drunk or high and asleep. This was a particularly special evening for me as I felt at home with the work we were doing, despite being frustrated by the language barrier. It was horrible to see people living the way they did, but I enjoyed meeting the different characters – some of them in very high spirits, despite their circumstances. I didn’t take any photos of this work as I felt it would be inappropriate to those we met.
White Knuckles Rides:
Saturday saw us take the girls to the theme park in the afternoon! This was a gift for the girls from a supporter of the project. As usual we spent the morning doing nails and the ReVive salon, but the girls were super excited for going to the theme park on the outskirts of Recife. Lots of them will have never seen anything like it before – it was a very loud day! We went from about 2-8pm. Once it got dark all the rides lit up and played their music louder. The Brazilians sing along and dance whilst on the rides – it was like being in a nightclub, but great fun! One of the girls who so often tries not to smile particularly enjoyed herself one of the rides and that was great to see. Afterwards we had a small amount of vomiting from those who had been too stubborn to sit out even though they felt terrible! Talk about making the most of an opportunity!
Jenny and Grace are sisters who were physically abused by their mum. Their mother was extremely aggressive towards them – the girls have visible scars from the abuse that they suffered. Their mothers partner also abused them. The old judge wanted the girls to go back to live with their mum despite ReVive knowing that she wasn’t safe for them to be with. Grace suffers from bipolar disorder and it is because of this that none of their extended family wants to take them in. These sisters are two of the brightest personalities in the house. We have come to get to know two funny, caring and intelligent girls who love to see others have a great time. Despite their abuse, they are outgoing and adventurous girls! There is concern over the future for the girls as they are some of the older girls in the house. Jenny however is taking extra courses to try and give her better chances at a good future which I sincerely hope they will both have following their time at ReVive.
Things to pray for:
- Thank God for fun and safety in all the activities with the girls including the Olympics on the beach and the trip to the theme park.
- Thank God that we have got to know all their personalities over a short amount of time.
- Thank God that we had an afternoon out in Recife!
- Please pray for Abi to settle in quickly, to enjoy her time here and to pick up the language easily and build relationships with the girls and staff.
- Please pray for those homeless and on the streets – that they would come to know God and his love for them. And that their physical needs would also be met. Please pray for Andy, Salamao and the others who usually go on the streets – that they would have wisdom and a good impact with those they meet.
- Please pray for Jenny and Grace – that they would both have bright futures ahead of them and that their past experiences will not hinder them moving forward in their lives.