Updated typhoid shot? Check. Weekly Skype meeting with Danilo, Paulinha, and Juliana? Check. Brazilian visa? Check. The patience to wait a week until meeting Luiza Montesanti in Sao Paulo? Nowhere to be found.
Since April, Luiza and I have been working hard with our Brazilian partners to prepare for our trip to Chapadinha, a rural village outside of the Brazilian city of Montes Claros. We’ve communicated with engineers, priests, teachers, Chapadinha community leaders, local youth, and more about the project in order to make the community’s hopes of having a vibrant, healthy, and welcoming community center a reality.
To promote our collective notion of global citizenship, we have also been working with the community to have the space sustainably promote education and intentional shared learning conversations. After the construction’s completion, we will work with various community members to design workshops and discussion groups on topics most relevant to their daily lives. Potential topics include conversations and workshops on dengue fever (an increasing local concern) and environmental law, as many community members have been fined for laws they unknowingly violated. We hope to create a place where local knowledge and skills can be celebrated and shared and where we can also offer our own international experiences in a way that strengthens our role as global citizens.
Below are my and Luiza’s introductions, as well as the introductions of the three Brazilian university student partners who will be helping us orchestrate the project alongside Chapadinha residents. All friends of Luiza and familiar with Chapadinha, the Brazilian students’ local insights and commitment to the betterment of Chapadinha have already shone through in our numerous Skype meetings and all the invaluable work they’ve done so far.
I’m a rising junior from Montpelier, Vermont, and so excited to be a part of this project with the Chapadinha community and Luiza, one of my best friends since my first semester at Mac. As an International Studies major at Macalester with a core in Political Science, this project could not be more ideal for me. In this Live It! project, I’ll be able to take things I’ve learned at Mac and in East Africa (where I’ve worked with a variety of public health and education projects), and work with real local leaders and community members in a truly grassroots project. Having a leading role in this project but still sharing the reins with a foreign community I do not know will be invaluable in shaping me as the global citizen I hope to be. I can’t wait for all that is to come!
Hey y’all! My name is Luiza and I’m a rising junior at Mac, where I’ve been studying Political Science, Economics, and International Development. I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and visited Chapadinha with my former high school almost five years ago. I’m looking forward to work with the wonderful, highly motivated people in this team, and see where these ideas will take us.
Hi, my name is Danilo, and I am a 21 year-old Brazilian, I´m currently a production engineering student at Federal University of São Carlos.
Since the high school I got involved in social projects, I believe that being a volunteer is a way to recontribute all the opportunities that I had in my life, and I hope that in this project sharing my time, knowledge and experiences can help in some way the community development. The experience I had in Montes Claros taught me a lot and made me a better person, I´m sure that this experience will be awesome and I´m glad for this opportunity!
Hi, I am Juliana Quarenta, a 20-year-old Brazilian. I’m currently a law student at University of São Paulo. In the University I participate in different social projects because I believe that they are essential for a complete university education. Analyze and face hard realities in Brazil and working for change society are some of my objectives.
Returning to Chapadinha means a lot for me, the rural reality it´s totally different from São Paulo, the biggest city of Brazil, so a social action in Chapadinha requires from us the comprehension of their needs. I remember of the community with love, their humility and the way they live has a lot to teach us.
I am really excited to join a project composed by people from different countries. I think it only brings benefits to our project, different perspectives, acting and approaches, makes us better volunteers and a better team.
So I really believe this project will be incredible, I dreamed to return to Chapadinha and contributing to their community in a way that is beneficial for all. This dream will become reality in this project.
I’m Anna Paula Sun, a 20-year-old Brazilian. I’m currently a law student at University of São Paulo.
Through high school and now through my university years, I’ve always tried to get involved in as many social projects as I could.
It feels as a great pleasure – and duty – to dream a better future to my country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our people does not have the same educational opportunities we had, and it is a scenario my generation must tackle.
Chapadinha means a lot to me. I’ve been there twice; at first in 2008, with Luiza, and also last summer. Once Luiza invited us to plan a project to help people from this community I felt deeply delighted and honoured.
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