Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day Twenty-One: Wednesday, January 27 – Last Day in Santarém

We awoke for the last time in our bunk beds at camp.  Tonight we go to the Santarém airport just before midnight and fly to Manaus in the wee hours of Thursday morning.  We expect to be back in California before noon on Friday. 

Maybe because it is our last day here or maybe because it is just normal for us, we all woke up in great moods and laughter was ringing throughout the camp.  We headed down to the beach with all of our percussion instruments to have our last big day with the kids. 

The main order of the day was a re-do of the shirt-signing frenzy of two days ago.  On Monday, the kids started asking for our autographs and we returned the request by asking them to sign our shirts.  We only had washable markers that day though, so we had to bring Sharpies today to make things last a bit longer. 

The kids were crazy for us to write them notes in English, some of which we wrote on their clothing, some on paper.  They intend to translate them later to help them learn more English.  Thus, we wrote words like “awesome,” “beautiful,” and “intelligent” so that they would get a kick out of learning what we think of them when they get their translations done. 

We played a few games on the beach and did a few reviews of English lessons.  We closed with a final round of the Hokey Pokey, both in English and in Portuguese.  We added to the usual chaos by throwing our percussion instruments into the mix, which made it much noisier and probably more fun. 

Two different TV stations showed up to follow our exploits today.  We were already on TV yesterday and now we expect to be on at least three more times this week.  We didn’t get to see the broadcast, but we are supposed to be able to get a dvd of it very soon. Strangely, the TV cameras had little effect on us or on the kids, so we just kept doing what we usually do. 

We brought some parting gifts for the students at the beach, including crayons, pencils, and little shaker eggs that we had personalized with the SMC logo. There was a frenzy of excitement (and greed?) over all of these things, but no one went too crazy.  Because we wanted to hurry off to work, we didn’t linger very long at the beach with the kids.  There were a few tears shed, but we mostly all expressed great pleasure over the time that we had spent together. 

After lunch we all joined together at the house to complete as much work as possible on the storefront.  We almost finished the floor, almost finished all of the painting, and almost got the doors installed.  The end is in sight, though we didn’t quite get there with our hosts today. 

Jaime and Seu João wanted to know how we kept so unified to work together so hard and so well.  We showed them a copy of the group agreements that we established during our retreats and talked about how much time we had spent thinking about the way we wanted to be on this trip.  They got a big kick out of imagining us getting together to discuss these things before we were even in the context in which we would eventually work.  It sounds a bit crazy even to us now, but somehow it has all worked out. 

We went home and ate dinner, leaving ourselves only about three hours to pack everything that we want to bring home with us.  Though each person could gather his or her stuff that quickly, we also had lots of group items that we needed to deal with all together.  Somehow, that process worked out too. 

We’re heading off to Manaus tonight to spend our last few hours in Brazil in that city.  It has a very different feel from Santarém, but we will make the most of it.  We will write again after our day in Manaus, then we will be in California on Friday.  Thanks for checking in!

Gianna teaching Lua how to play the triangle.

The kids playing with the percussion instruments, now that’s what I call polyrhythmic!  

Neil working hard on our last big push to finish the store front. 

 Schuiler taking a good bye picture with Jamie.

Matt Beutner snapping a pic with Jamie and Seu João.

Josy and Dani full of hugs and smiles on our last day on the beach.

 Brian House leading the kids in percussion.

 Edrião was one of the cutest kids on the beach, but not the most friendly…just ask Noelle.

 Lu, Ciara, and Noelle show off their autographed shirts

The Store front before being painted the minty green color.

One of the many pot holed roads in Santarem.

Beutner attempting to help Neil by staring down the mint green paint.

Seu Joao working on the iron gates in the back of the store.

 After a long day of painting and working the group got together and took a final picture of the store front.

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