A Thursday with my Flip cam

Meg Healy - Brazil


February 15, 2011

Last Thursday, with a full day ahead of me and an agreement from our last monthly meeting to step up efforts on the blog front, I set out to work with a flip camera in hand, ready to capture whatever the day had to offer. The footage is here, but without explanation of what viewers are watching.  I want to clear up any confusion by giving a written explanation of what my schedule looks like on Thursdays here in Salvador.

At 8:30 am, I walk down the street to Grucon, a community center in Baixo Petroleo, where Adam and I teach English on Thursday and Friday mornings. The center is next to the bay, and focuses on Afro-Brazilian culture, particularly cultural ties with Angola and Mozambique.  This was our third week of classes, and our students are practicing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. We’ve also learned the lyrics to “ABC” by the Jackson 5, and plan to teach “Hello, Goodbye” by The Beatles and just about every Michael Jackson song in the future.

After class, Grucon students play capoeira Angola or take African dance classes. The capoeira professor is an 18-year-old graduate of the center, and takes English classes with his students (ages 4-13). He recently made a rule that if the students want to play capoeira, they must also attend English classes.

At 10:30 am, I walk 15 minutes from Grucon to Bagunçaço, two neighborhoods away (within the general area of Massaranduba are recognized and regulated borders of smaller neighborhoods) in Jardim Cruzeiro. For about two hours Mike and I work out a lesson plan for later in the afternoon and help out with anything that needs organizing before the kids arrive. I go home for lunch every day, but return around 2:00pm, right around the time kids start to trickle in.

Bagunçaço is also a community center, which kids go to in addition to (usually) the public schools which last only until 12:00pm. Bagunçaço focuses on music and has percussion and philharmonic classes in addition to multiple bands formed by the students. There is also the TV Lata project, which translates to “TV Can” and is literally a camera inside a can. This project teaches students how to make short films and use technology. And now there are English classes as well. There is a schedule every day that rotates groups of about 7 students between the three classes, with other students choosing to draw, play with legos or look through books in the reorganized (finally!) library. On Thursday Mike and I had two English classes (each lasting about an hour).  When not teaching, we monitor the kids who are not practicing with one of the bands or in TV Lata. Our day at Bagunçaço wraps up between 5:30 and 6:00pm.

This was not filmed but as of last Thursday night Adam and I have an additional English class at Grucon for any adults who are interested. Our first class went really well, going through about as much material in 45 minutes as three 1 ½ hour classes took with our morning classes.

So all this  is what the footage shows: a busy Brazilian Thursday.

Meg Healy