Tchau Frutos de Maes
Salvador da Bahia Travel Blog› entry 27 of 35 › view all entries
November 9th, 2006 – by: worldcitizen
On Friday, I walked into the class and the kids chanted "Tia, Tia, Tia, heeey!" It was so cute. I think Kassia (the teacher) had them do that for my last day. I had plenty of cookies and candy for them and as always, they were happy to recieve it. We had kind of an informal day and let the kids run around more than usual. I hung up the poster and the wall clock and they all cheered and clapped. In a world without portable dvd players, it amazing how easily amused kids can be.
As usual at lunchtime, the volunteers got the kids' meals from the kitchen and brought them to the classrooms. The past couple weeks we had noticed that the cooks were dishing out smaller and smaller portions of the food. On my last day there was barely any food and it was so sad. It's nice to think that someone could write a check and solve their problems, but when you get inside you see it's much more complex than that. It can be sad to leave a short term volunteer assignment because you feel like you just barely scratched the surface. But I would definitely do it again and I feel like now that I've done it, I'll be more prepared next time.
When it was time to leave, I said goodbye to Kassia and each kid individually and tried not to cry. The kids always knew I was headed back to the house when I collected my bag with activities so they said their last collective "Tchaauuu!" as I grabbed my things. I said goodbye to the principal and the cooks and the gaurd at the gate and was an emotional wreck as soon as I stepped in the van.
There was so much I would miss about my days there. I woke up every morning happy to go to Frutos de Maes. I loved the drive along the bay and the interesting things to see in the favela. The gaurd at Frutos greeted us everyday with a warm smile. When I walked into class, the kids were excited to see me and always tried to peek in my bag to see what activities I brought for them that day. The older kids at the school would walk up to me and say "Americana?" And then they would happily recite numbers for me in English taught to them by other volunteers. There were a lot of little things that added up to a very rewarding experience.
I saw so much talent and potential in some of the kids and I hope they have opportunities to pursue their dreams when they get older. You can just hope that they will some how break out of the cycle and move beyond their circumstances. The gap between rich and poor and its correlation to race is obvious, but Bahia is such a vibrant and hopeful place. I think there, they believe that if you can walk, you can samba and do capoeira. They expose kids to their culture at a young age and they are proud of it and want to share it with others. There are several performing arts organizations aimed at getting kids off the street and into a productive activity. I know that not everyone can be saved, but there are some kids that just need to be involved in something that they can be proud of in order to steer them in the right direction. Every little bit of encouragement helps. I took so much from the experience and even if it was small, I think I was able to give something valuable to the kids while I was there!
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