The golden news is in!

Edward Katz - Brazil


October 18, 2013

The Golden news is in alright!  I finally know my final home and internship placement!  I have already started staying with my new family and working with the organization.  I am going to be living in the capital of the state of Paraná, the big city of Curitiba with my new host parents, Lucas and Juliane Mendes.  Curitiba is the largest city in the southern part of Brazil with a population of around 3 million people and housing 3 professional soccer clubs.  I make this note as a fun note about my host parents.  Lucas, my host father, is a huge fan of the club Coritiba and Juliane, my host mother, is a huge fan of the club Atlético.  Now just to make things perfect, those two teams have been rivals for decades.  An example I was given early on when I arrived to describe the soccer scene in Curitiba was that even if these two teams with in the two lowest places in whatever league they were currently playing in, the game between Coritiba and Atlético would be the only game to sell out the stadium.  So there is a frequent argument in my small family about which team is better, even though the argument will never be settled.  My host parents also have a small dog that stays in the apartment.  I’m not sure on the breed, soon I will post pictures, but he is a little white furry rascal scampering about the floor as we go about our days.  My new family is great and are super nice, my host mother speaks a little English, and they work hard to understand my Portuguese.

The plan now is for me to work with the organization ABC Vida.  It is a large organization the runs in cooperation with a Baptist church, using the church space however possible when it is free. One of the main sections of the program is working with young adults varying in ages between 13-20.  ABC Vida has classes during the week for them teaching them professional skills and getting each one an internship or job placement with a business or company in the city.  They keep tabs on all the young people they work with and focus mainly on keeping them working and doing well in the community.  ABC Vida also works against drug use and for better health among those who cannot afford healthcare.  Tomorrow I will actually be able to ride in the bus ABC Vida has outfitted to be a partible healthcare and dentist office that will go around offering care to those who need it.  They also organize activities and sports like soccer, volleyball, skate boarding, and even various martial arts classes inside the church.  I was lucky to participate with two martial arts classes and even hope to continue practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.  ABC Vida also has a direct assistance program for families in great need of food, clothing, or anything else detrimental to them.  A great many volunteers work sewing new clothes for infants that can be delivered to a family in need upon a new birth.  New clothes are extremely expensive here so affording new clothes for a baby is difficult.  I was actually told that it is not uncommon for a family of a new born to travel to the US to get all the clothes and supplies they will need and then travel back to actually save money.

Life has been good so far living here.  I’ve been looking for more way to get involved in the community but of course the language barrier makes things extremely difficult.  I’ve been visiting the various projects ABC Vida is involved with and other NGO’s to try and find the best ways to make my time here in Brazil meaningful.  There is even a change of working with Curitiba’s city hall in the office focusing on the 2014 World Cup!  I’m keeping my hopes up on that possibility.  All in all life these last few weeks has been getting a feel for a new city, a new family, and testing the waters of possibility that are present in such a large city for me to try and do some good in Brazil and learn from it.  Portuguese is still slow to improve but as promised I am improving by just being here and listening.  I haven’t been able to do much exploring in the city yet, but I was able to see the eye museum that is pictured below and I’m just starting to get comfortable taking the buses.  Now I’m going to rest up for my big day traveling around on the bus with ABC.  I’ll post again real soon!

P.S.   Now as a funny little ending note, here is an awesome word I was taught by my team leader Yvia; Paralelepípedo.  It’s the name of a kind of hexagonal brick material used in roads.  Barely ever used, but a very fun word to say.

 

Edward Katz