The worldwide Augustana College experience

October 18th-October 23rd

This never posted so it is a little late. Oops.

Day 1 in Salvador

Saturday October 18th

First things first, we had class early. Luckily, our Brazilian mommy made us a delicious plate of fruit, grilled cheese and something I had never had before Tapioca powder. Basically it is a tapioca powder that she heat up in the skillet it is kind of spongy and she put butter on it. It was delicious! In class we discussed women-space, power,and the Afro-Brazilian culture. There is a strong African influence here due to the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. After class, we had a special lunch to celebrate Sao Cosme and Sao Damiao who were two Saints. They are celebrated by distributing food to poor children. We ate caruru which is a veggie (okra) stew. There was enough food to feed a whole circus. We were able to eat with our moms and meet some of the children. One of the little brothers of my classmates sat with me for a lot of the lunch. He is 5 years old and adorable. He also LOVES hugs, and of course will squeeze during hugs. After we finished eating, a group of us decided to go check out the beach. Sadly, the beach is not as close as it was in Rio to our residence but we had the rest of the day off so that helped. I have never seen a beach so crowded. I could barely see the beach because of all the people and umbrellas on the beach. Since it was just my roommate and our neighbor, we managed to walk down a ways to find space on the beach and get some sun. We came home for dinner then went back to a little outdoor diner by the beach where we could all meet up and talk about  our home stays so far. We have to call a taxi to get back up the hill at night since we did not want to risk getting mugged.

Twin Saints

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Viver Salvador!

Last night I was talking to my mom on Facebook and she told me she hadn’t seen any blog updates lately. I told her I would get some posts up by today so here we go!

20 October 2014

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Gardens and free days and statues, oh my!

11 October 2014

This was a free day, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t do anything all day. Well that’s a little bit of a lie. I did laundry, I cleaned the hotel room, I Skyped my family, I bought some groceries, but other than that I did nothing.

12 October 2014

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October 13th-17th Rio/Salvador

The end of Rio :(

Monday October 13th

Our group got to go to the biggest tourist attraction in Rio which is the Christ the Redeemer Statue. I had absolutely no idea how tall it really was or how crowded it would be. First we took a cable car up the mountain. Part way through the ride,  performers got on the car and started to play music. I loved seeing how much music is incorporated everywhere.  At the top, everybody was trying to take the typical tourist pictures and we obviously joined in. I spent a while lying on my back taking pictures  for people so it was a good angle of them with the statue. Since it was such a hot day outside, we knew we just had to go to the beach. We stayed at the beach until we had art class and political science class. We discussed the soccer legend Pele as well as FIFA and how they screw over so many people during the World Cup. We went out with the professors as well as a lot of the students for pizza. I have never hated a waiter so much in my life because….they just KEPT BRINGING SO MUCH FOOD. Basically, you get all different types of pizza brought directly to your table, you don’t even have to serve yourself. So, I ended up hating them for bringing so many amazing looking things after I was stuffed! After feeling like a whale, we walked back to the hotel. In our food coma we watched movies and finished our coiling.

Christ the Redeemer

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October 7th-October 12th in Brazil!

I haven’t had much time on my laptop to write blogs and I guess that’s a good thing since it means I’m staying busy here=]

Tuesday October 7th

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Morro de Providencia and LAPA

Another busy day to add to the books. Today we went to class, visited Morro de Providencia, and had reservations at two music venues in LAPA. In class we covered more about the hip-hop culture that is present in LAPA. After class we had time to get lunch before heading to the metro station to take the train in to Rio where we would meet with interns from Catalytic Communities (CatCom) and venture in to Morro de Providencia.

Morro de Providencia is a favela in Rio that was used for filming both versions of the film Black Orpheus. Now is probably a good time to discuss what exactly a favela is, since not everyone is familiar with the term. Before leaving for Brazil we spent a lot of time talking about the communities that we would encounter, and Rio is famous for its favelas that are positioned on the hillside. One aspect of favela life that we covered was the name that the media has made for the favelas. Favelas are often made out to be dirty, violent, drug riddled, and a marginal part of the population; described as shanty towns, slums, squatter communities, and ghettos. These descriptions bring with them connotations of squalor, illegality, and precariousness. However that is not the reality of many of Rio’s favelas. While Providencia was once described as one of the most violent favelas in the area, it has turned its reputation around with the help of non-profit organizations like CatCom and artists who desire to help these communities maintain themselves.

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Museo de Indio and Maracana

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. We started out with going to the Museo de Indio and looking at the exhibit that they currently have on the Ashinaka tribe. The exhibit contained many pictures of the indigenous people in their traditional clothes and with the traditional paint patterns on their faces. There were also examples of the different feathered headdresses that the tribe wears, with different colors and patterns representing different things. Finally there was a room that was dedicated to the clothing of the Ashinanka. I thought this was one of the best parts of the exhibit since before we came to Brazil we had spent 5 weeks weaving and now we were able to see the techniques that we learned put in to practice.

After the museum we came back to the hotel and had a little bit of time to get food before classes started at 1:30pm. Unfortunately, the day before I developed a migraine so I did not go to class yesterday so that I could have an opportunity to try and recuperate before going to the soccer game at Maracana. This meant that I was able to sleep for a few hours which helped me to feel much better.

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Carnavalesco and Fejoada

Today we got to talk to a carnavalesco who is a 23 year veteran of the field. He works with all sorts of schools, from top tier schools such as Mangueira to local schools to parades in other parts of the country. His talk today was about how traditional folk art aspects of Brazilian life have been integrated into the parades that you can see around Brazil. Jose, the carnavalesco, did not speak fluent English so Araceli translated for him.

While Jose was speaking it was clear that he loved what he does. One question that we asked him was how an individual becomes a carnavalseco. He said there are various ways and his took an untraditional path to working with Carnival. Jose said that he has always loved Carnival and began following the parades at a young age. At the age of 20 he was able to participate in his first parade. Then he went to school to become an architect but during an economic downturn he was laid off from his firm. This is when his life took a turn. He was depressed about not having a job and couldn’t figure out where to go next. Then an old professor turned friend asked him what he loves and he said “Carnival!” They asked him if we would be interesting in working for a school and he replied, “How do I get a school to hire me? I can’t just walk up and knock on their door and say ‘Will you give me a job?’” The friend asked him what he would do if a school approached him to work for them and he said of course he would take the job then. Little did he know his friend had arranged for a school to take Jose on as a carnavalesco for that year’s parade. For six years Jose worked for free as a carnavalesco, making money with free-lance architect jobs, until one day he was hired by a top tier school!

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First 3days in Brazil:)

Well we finally made it! After flight cancellations, gate changes, flight changes, and mechanical difficulties…we are in Rio! We arrived at the hotel and made our way to class to learn more about the Salguerio samba school. It is the oldest samba school in Brazil. Afterwards, we went to a buffet where we weighed our plates to see how much we had. I had a bunch of different foods on my plate to try and see more of what Brazil had to offer. There wasn’t anything on my plate that I didn’t enjoy! From quail eggs to fresh seafood to beans to fried bananas, it was all amazing. We then saw the Samba School where the bateria explained to us about leading the beat for the group during Carnival. His family had been involved in the samba school for generations. The bateria is like royalty there, this was seen when we found out the shirt he was wearing of Brooklyn’s Garnett was from Jay-Z.  Then a few of us went to a local bar to destress after the long day of flying to get the national drink called a Caipirinha. It is made with cachaca (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar and fruit most commonly lime.  With the language barrier, it was difficult to order things without pointing to the menu.  Afterwards, my roommate Yessie and I went back to unpack and pass out for our first night in Rio. Our view from our window is Christ de Redeemer!

Quadra Salgueiro

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Rio de Janeiro

You may have noticed that it’s been a few day’s since my last post about our flight being cancelled. We have safely made it to Rio and are settling in comfortably. We have had a busy few days though, so here’s a recap of what has happened since the last post.

3 October 2014 – Travel

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