Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Nineteen: Monday, January 25 – The Fashion Show

Special Note (repeated from the last two days’ entries):  We publicized the wrong date for our public presentation night in February.  It is really on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the Soda Center at Saint Mary’s College.   Sorry for the mix-up.

Other Special Note (also repeated from the last two days’ entries): Our internet connection has been somewhat unreliable due to off-and-on heavy rains.  We hope to catch up on our web postings today.  We have also had some late evenings filled with events and those shifts in our schedule have thrown us off a bit as well. 

We dragged our lazy butts out on Monday morning and several of us went to work with the kids while others got the morning off to go shopping and take a spin around the town.  We haven’t had a chance yet to collect all of the souvenirs we might want (not to mention gifts for some of YOU!), so we divided up the group today to make sure that those jobs would also get done.  Whichever groups didn’t start out shopping went to the construction site; after lunch, assignments switched. 

For the shoppers, one of the main things they appeared to seek was authentic Brazilian Havaianas.  Havaianas are rubber sandals that are ubiquitous here (and in the U.S.).  They were created in Brazil and have become an important part of the national character here.  EVERYone has at least one pair.  Some of them feature the Brazilian flag, so those were the ones that many of us sought.  We also got a lot of arts and crafts, soccer jerseys, and actual Brazilian flags.  

Shawny, Jesse, and Marcia went on a tour this morning of a local social service agency called Saude e Alegría (Health and Happiness) to explore possible partnerships with future SMC groups.  The organization is very impressive, partially because they have designed a full-blown floating hospital that they take up to river communities like the ones we visited that have meager health care options.  They have had great success in reducing diarrhea and its related problems, diminishing malnutrition, and improving the safety of drinking water throughout the communities along the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers.  We hope that we will stay in touch with the organization and that we will work with them on some future Jan Term trip. 

After lunch a local TV crew showed up at the storefront to interview us and see what we are doing.  They spoke to Jesse, Shawny, Georgete, and Jaime about our partnership over the last couple of years.  They took lots of footage of us working, so we should look pretty good whenever this story is broadcast. 

Once again, we had to hurry to eat dinner and leave, as our plans for tonight included a fashion show featuring Louro’s 14-year-old niece Karina, an aspiring model.  We hustled and hurried to make the 7:30 p.m. start time, only to learn that the event would not really begin until more than an hour later. 

A local marketing firm sponsored the whole shebang and there was quite a bit of cheesiness built into the program to stretch the night’s events.  The marketing firm succeeded in stretching the event, as when it was finally over, we had been there for almost four and a half hours! 

There were awards for the marketing firm’s employees, there were dance performances, comedy (?) routines, an air guitar performance complete with pyrotechnics, and, of course, the actual fashion show/beauty contest itself. 

The pageant part of the night was divided into a section for males (with five competitors) and a section for females (with 22 competitors).  We were told in advance that part of the contest is an evaluation of crowd enthusiasm for a particular candidate so we came prepared.

We brought drums, tambourines, cowbells, triangles, shakers, and every other noisemakers we could get our hands on to go completely crazy whenever Karina was onstage.  As other contestants came out, we thought that maybe we had some competition, but once Karina appeared, we realized that no one could touch us when it comes to making a whole lot of noise.  She loved the roar that we produced and we had a lot of fun making such a racket. 

As it turned out, the event dragged on a bit longer than any of us could bear and an annoying DJ was triggering violent tendencies in some of us (none of us acted upon those impulses, of course).  Karina didn’t win, but once we saw how cheesy the whole organization was, we were glad that she wasn’t chosen to represent them.  She was sad and teary-eyed when it was over, but she was thrilled at the appearance of her big pile of American friends. 

We skipped the after party to which we had been invited, because we had already had our fill of the whole crazy night.  Besides, we want to awaken and get some of us straight to the construction site so we can get this job as far along as possible before we leave on Wednesday night.  Keep watching to see how far we can take it . . .

Brian and Bryan go to work on the percussion instruments, providing the only entertainment for the night.

Typical Brie and Quincy- dancing for money.

Cardboard guitars and pyrotechnics equals a rocking show.

Scott pre-haircut.

Scott post-haircut.

Bryan’s first razor shave. Atta boy Bryan.

Apparently we are kind of a huge deal here in Santarém.

Daniel digging a hole in the sand.

Jefferson posing in the hole.

Georgete is the main reason we work with the kids

Domeciano stuck in the sand.

Josy teaching Brian and Jared the art of karate.

Head first in the sand hole building contest.

They buried Brian and he was thrilled.

One of the boys who has taken an interest in photography.

Representing SMC as the local girls climb all over Quincy.

Josi teaching us Karate moves on the Beach.

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