Dr. McCreanor and I had a wonderful experience with all of you. I hope that as you reflect on your Brazilian encounter(s) that you think about your personal growth, cultural expansion, and role as a citizen in the world. It was a pleasure to take you to Brazil, share my family and friends, and introduce you to the nature of international development in the urban periphery. Best of luck with your final assignments and see you soon! Ate logo. - Dr. Spears
Gostaríamos de agradecer a todos no João XXIII por sua hospitalidade, amizade e apoio a este projeto. Em particular, queremos enviar o nosso amor as crianças de João XXIII. Todos vocês ensinara a importância da comunidade. Um grande abraço da Mercer!
Tuesday marked the last day of our program experience at Joao XXIII. We ended the day on a celebratory note. The new garden along the steps is now informally called the 'Caminho das Criancas,' which translates to the 'Children's Path.' This name is intentional as it is a message to drug users that this space is for the community and its most prized possession: kids.
The event was attended by all Joao XXIII staff, its students and some of their parents, neighbors, and Vitoria city council member, Neuza de Oliveira.
Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Joao XXIII staff threw us Mercerians a Brazilian churrasco for lunch. It was the best meal of our time spent in Vitoria.
We ended the day with performances from the Joao XXIII choir and a conga line dance.
Thank you for the experience and now for the memories, Joao XXIII!
Provide three observations that stem from Janice Pearlman's notion of a'dual city.' How does this apply in Vitoria? Your subjective responses may come from readings, the tour of the 'morro', engagement with the people at Joao XXIII, and other experiences. Due Saturday morning in Rio by 9am.
10,000+ protestors marched from UFES, the federal university, to the governor's mansion across the Terceira Ponte (picture). Our hotel was not near the route.
Boa noite from Vitoria. I want to quickly note that all of us are safe and sound. You may have seen the news about the nation-wide political protests and subsequent riots. Young Brazilians are protesting government corruption, income inequality, and the amount of tax reais (the currency) to fund the upcoming World Cup. We are not near the protests. Dr. McCreanor and I are not allowing Mercer students to participate (they wouldn't in any case). I am also keeping abreast of local events here in Vitoria and Rio, where we travel on Thursday. Last night's protest in Vitoria was largely peaceful but a conflict between riot police and protesters did erupt in front of the governor's palace across the harbor in Vila Velha. The safety of the students is always paramount. We will keep them safe. You may stay abreast in English on the CNN website.
BEFORE (ANTES). AFTER (DEPOIS) - Coming Soon (Em Breve)!
The MOM Brazil team completed its project at Instituto Joao XXIII over the weekend! We have our commemorating ceremony this afternoon at the institute.
The entire team took their responsibilities seriously and worked toward their goal. Everyone worked under the baking (winter) sun but did so without complaint. Dr. McCreanor and I are very proud of what this group has accomplished in the 2.5 weeks in Vitoria.
Our efforts to help root out crack users and stop illicit sexual behavior on the steps next to the school have been noticed by local residents in the community and the city newspaper. One resident (he doesn't want his name given to protect identity) brought fruit to the students as a sign of gratitude. Another elderly resident, Karlita, watched our progress every day and conversed with me how this garden will make it safer for children, their mothers, and older residents to pass by without fear of being accosted by crack users.
While the project beautified the area, the residents did not know that there is also science underneath the surface of this project. The terraced garden should also help reduce the volume of runoff water from the hillside and rocks above the street. They often have street flooding that is in-part contributed by the stairs and rocks.
Mercer On Mission met is challenge: to deliver a project based on the school's needs that benefits from the community at-large. We used the science of engineering to meet the social needs of Consolocao. It is our hope that we've assisted in furthering the neighborhood's social capital and citizenship. We are grateful to have had the opportunity.
Here are random shots from our 2.5 weeks on the worksite.
Monday was the first foot tour up to the 'Morro' of Consolocao. A 'Morro' is the Portuguese word for hill but also is referred to by the locals as the community or favela that lives on the slopes over the city. We were given permission to walk-about and visit a person's home, the city social services center, and an elementary school. Each person was required to wear the Joao XXIII t-shirts so that we would be identifiable. The home we visited is part of a joint project between Joao XXIII and local architecture university students from FAESA. These future architects will help the family (their names will not be published to protect privacy) rebuild their kitchen. The home is sandwiched in between a building a dirt hillside. It is damp, humid, moldy, and is subject to many leaks. The home's metal roofing was significantly damaged during a storm several weeks ago. It is expected that the university students will also assist with this project. We will also tour the favela of Rocinha in Rio next week.
Natally is a 7-year-old student that our MOM group worked with at Joao XXIII. She is learning violin and was featured in the state-wide newscast.
Check out CNN's On the Road: Brazil site!
Click below to see more images & comments on Joao XXIII's Facebook Site!
Click below for the Brazil Institute at Mercer's Facebook site.
Draft of Daily Activities
Study Guide: Blank Political Map
Study Guide: Blank Rivers Map
Dr. Eric Spears
I'm a life-long student of Brazil! You will be, too, after this experience!!! Seja bem-vindo estudantes!