Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29th

An update! I have been so busy here.. 2 classes a day everyday and now I´m starting an art class for younger kids age 7-14. I´m going to start it once a week in October, should be fun, but lots of work too. Things here have been going really well and it feels like I have lived here much longer than just a month so far. The students are really great, and have been enjoying the class and producing great work. Last week, I attended the first official Municipal Cultural Conference in Capim Grosso. This is an amazing thing for the town since it allowed an open forum for locals, including students, artists, teachers, etc. to participate and propose bills to change the current cultural and educational structure. It was an all-day event in which I participated and it was also an opportunity for AEC-TEA to show some of the amazing work produced by students of the Ponto de Cultura (photography program) from last semester; impactful work that focused on social concerns of the town. Charles and I were really excited to present their work to the council and everyone that showed... I think it was also a good experience for the students to recognize that their work is important and can make a difference whether in their community or on a larger scale.

Other than that, things have been going well and I´m having an amazing time getting to know this place better and better everyday. I will try to write more often and hopefully have pictures soon..

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I made it!!

A 2 hr flight from Rio to Salvador and a 4 hr bus ride into the interior of Bahia and a random ride from the bus station, and I finally arrive in Capim Grosso the evening of the 26th. After laying down my 50 kilo bags, I met my fellow volunteers and amazing new friends! The first few days here were overwhelming and exciting. The first day, we had visitors from a local educational program that works with kids and adults of special needs. The local Capoiera group (brazilian martial arts) showed off their skills and we all gathered in the roda (circle) and sang and clapped as they played in the center. Other than that, the few days proceeding my arrival mainly consisted of lesson planning with my co-photography and fellow volunteer, Charles. We set the weekly class schedule for the photography courses, the advanced one and the beginner´s. There were lots of applicants but we could only select 40. The classes are held twice a week and are made up of 7 students for the advanced (who took the class the previous semester), and 12 for the beginner´s course. Yesterday we had our first class and it was really exciting since we were proud of our lesson plan that starts off with self-portraiture. We figured it was a good way for us all to get to know one another. So far it´s been good but only discussions and lectures as of yet, student photography is yet to come..

As for the life here, it can only be described as simple. I have never lived in a small town like this one, but it has really started to grow on me. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows the Association well and the community, I must say, seem pretty proud of it. The town is pretty dry in climate and has lots of cactuses while at the same time is rich in tropical fruit. We have banana trees and mango trees in our yard at the Assoc. The other volunteers here with me, are teaching English, Spanish, Music, and Theater. They are from all over, the U.S., Brazil, Finland, and Germany, for now at least.. There will be more volunteers arriving as others leave. We are all collaborative in our efforts to cook, clean, and work together.

Since I don´t have too much to say since classes have only just begun, I´m going to try to upload the pictures that I´ve taken that show the town and where I live.
Hope to post more updates soon... If anyone has been checking the blog, sorry for the delay in writing!