Saturday, August 7, 2010

Santa Cruz Futbol Celebration!

For our last night Bruno, LaRissa and Kleython took us to the Santa Cruz futbol match in Recife. We had asked earlier in the trip if we could attend a soccer match. They told us later in the trip they had the perfect night, our last night in Brazil. We were so excited. We stopped at the team store before entering the seating area. I bought a cool t-shirt that I put on to wear during the game. As for the game it turned out to be exciting in the end. I was a little concerned because Santa Cruz started off slow. However they really turned it on in the second half. The final score was 2-0, Santa Cruz. We enjoyed chating and cheering the home team on. They have a new fan living in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Santa Cruz for life, just as the shirt says.

Chris and I at the game.

That poor guy in the front. Not sure who he was.


The crew after the Santa Cruz victory

After the game we met in the lobby to say our final goodbye. It was really hard saying goodbye to everyone of our Brazilian friends. I feel like I have gained so many new friends from the great country of Brazil. They truly treated us with amazing hospitality. I ensured them that they will always have a place to stay in Virginia. I hope we can meet again in the future. For I feel like I have a lot to repay them for. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for our hosts. It never ceases to amaze me how gracious people can be. As I wrote last year, "traveling reaffirms my faith in mankind. People are good at heart and want to help others."
Once again I have learned so much about myself and Brazil.

Presentations at Federal University of Pernambuco

Our last day included presentations at the University of Pernambuco. We then met teachers and administrators at a nearby school and learned about there setup and curriculum.

As previously mentioned we surveryed and interviewed family members at local farms in Triunfo, Brazil. We then presented our findings to our colleagues, the graduate students and two of their professors. I thought the presentations were very well done. All of the groups learned a lot at their particular farm. It was interesting comparing some of the similarities and differences between the findings in the various groups. Our groups family seemed to be the wealthiest of all the farms.The fact that our family had a mill and church on its property raised their social status in the community. I really enjoyed the assignment and felt like I learned a great deal. We not only learned from our own research but we also learned from the presentations of other groups.

Later Susan gave a presentation comparing Virginia and Pernambuco. There are many similarities. Susan made the comaprison using location , ties to Europe,  the coastal plains, mercantilism,  the slave trade, and plantation agriculture. I really enjoyed the presentation at the end of the trip. I felt like it was perfect to wait till the end of the trip when we could all associate with the similarities between Virginia and our new home in Brazil, Pernambuco. I came away from the presentation confident I knew a good deal about Brazil.

Later we met with teachers and administrators at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro de Educacao and Colegio de Aplicacao

We learned how the school works and how it is organzed. The assistant principal is actually voted for by the teachers at the school. The educational model is similar to the French. The school is an elementary school and high school. It is associated with the university. The school receives assistance and resources from the college. We learned that there is much more of an emphasis on Geography and the Liberal Arts. It was refreshing to see a school place an emphasis on Geography. We all seemed struck by that emphasis compared to the U.S model.

Francisco Brennand's Ceramic Workshop and visit to Instituto Ricardo Brennand museums

The first part of the next to last day was spent at Francisco Brennand's ceramic workshop. How to describe Mr.Brennand's artwork? Hmmmm, interesting. I will say he is a good artist at what he does. I wasn't too interested in the sculptures. I thought his paintings were impressive. The Brennand family is maybe the most prominent family in the state of Pernambuco. If they are not then lets just say they are a very prominent family. Francisco has built a massive compound full of various buildings with sculptures, paintings and other forms of art. He is a preeminent artist in Brazil.

The Compound

Fierce Warrior

Mr. Brennand himself.


Trojan Horse


Yuck, jaws ripped out

The device for jaw removal?

The second part of the day we visited Ricardo Brennands museum. Ricardo was Francisco's father. I enjoyed this museum much more than the art museum. Actually there were two museums that made up the Instituto Ricardo Brennand. One of the museums dealt with the history of Pernambuco and Brazil. The other museum contained weaponry of all sorts. The most weaponry I have ever seen.

I feel like this museum covered the native populations with more depth than other museums we had visited. The paintings contained in this museum were phenomenal. This museum houses the most paintings by Frans Post. These paintngs depict Dutch rule in Brazil
The paintings also showed the city at different points in history. We saw images not so different than the ones we saw in Triunfo and other locations. Rather than the scene being from hundreds of years ago it was in fact days ago we saw those same images.

Early Explorer, Portuguese

Look at this rug!

The second museum as I mentioned contained massive amounts of weaponry. The museum was set in a castle. There was a moat and drawbridge protecting the castle. This castle has been built specifically to hold all of the weapons. It is an incredible amount of knives, swords, rifles, pistols and other military objects. In fact the museum houses one of the largest collections of armory in the world with around 3,000 pieces.

That night we took the graduate students out for dinner at a nice restaurant. The graduate students have been so amazing. I feel like I have learned so much more on this trip than others I have been on. This is due in large part from the participation from the graduate students that have joined us from the Federal University of Pernambuco. Bruno, Larissa, Kleython, Diogo, Lucas, Ronaldo, Clara and Jonas have been so helpful. If it was not for these individuals our trip would not have been nearly as enjoyable. We presented them with gifts back at our hotel and vowed to stay in touch in the future.

Olinda, the jewel of the northeast

Olinda is a UNESCO world heritage site. It has over 500 years of history and was voted the first capital of culture in Brazil. Olinda was occupied by the Dutch for 24 years. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of this beautiful city. It felt like being transformed in time. The old town on Olinda has kept that charm in my eyes. Recife may have taken over commercially but the real charm lies in Olinda. Olinda is located about five miles from Recife. Olinda is known for its intellectual community as well as its cultural charm.

View from the Convent

Our first stop was Brazil's first convent, San Francisco. San Francisco was originally built in 1585. However the convent was burned down by the Dutch during the successful invasion. The church was rebuilt in 1631. The church was designed in the Baroque style which was popular in Europe at the time. The tilework is certainly a notable feature that impressed me greatly. The church and complex is still used by Franciscan friars today. The church is suffering from being so close to the ocean. The saltwater is causing the stones to break apart along with the high humidity of the area. There is also landslides that the San Francisco Convent must deal with.

Courtyard with amazing tiles all

Doric Column

The second church we visited is called Igreja da Se. Church of Saint Savior of the World. This is the second oldest chruch in Olinda, 1547. All the other churches face this one. The view from this church was spectacular. Notice Recife in the distance.

San Francisco in the distance

Recife in the background

My dance partner

The last church we visited was even more amazing than the first two. The altar is the richest in Olinda. The name of the church and complex is Mosteiro de Sao Bento. The Monastery of Saint Benedict.
This church was built by the Benedictins in the 16th century. This church is also unique for it contains mezzanines. The only church to have mezzanines in Olinda. The rich would watch the service up in the mezzanines while the others would watch below. This church also is the site of the first Law school in 1828.

Later we saw the differences in other parts of Olinda. We went to a shopping mall for lunch. I ended up buying a Sport jersey. It was cheaper than the Santa Cruz jersey. As soon as we got to Bruno in the Mall Chris blurted out how I bought the rival teams jersey. I felt bad and promised Bruno I would get a Santa Cruz shirt at the game we would attend. While buying the jersey Mike noticed a pair of Nike Shocks that had a price tag of S569.90 real. This would equal about $325 American dollars. That is one expensive pair of shoes.

Seriously, or just do the payment plan for ten months.

At night we have been getting ready for our presentation. We will be presenting about the farm we were asked to investigate and survey in Triunfo. We are not sure how many people will be there for our presentation but we want to make sure we are prepared.

Man of the Northeast Museum

In the later afternoon we visited a museum named Man of the Northeast. This museum was very informative. We started off watching a video depicting the culture and daily life in Pernambuco. We then learned more about the people that have lived in this area for the last 500 years. We saw some brutal reminders of slavery. The shackles and chains that were put around the slaves when they slept. Collars and leashes made me cringe in disgust. Certainly an age that was so brutal and so sad. We also saw long wooden harnesses that contained circles for the head and other body parts.

There was an exhibit there called King of the Congo. During Carnaval a dance is performed called the maracatu. The performance is centered around the character "King of the Congo". He parades through the streets in his coloful garb with his queen and court by his side. The music is a fast percussion rhythm. The story goes that when slaves were brought to Brazil some were naturally kings and queens of their village. To honor their presence a celebration would be performed to honor them. To prevent suspicion the slaves would incorporate European clothing to act as though they were praising European culture. The slaves were forbidden to practice or worship their native religons. Therefore they incorporated their ancient beliefs with Christianity. This was another way in which the slaves kept their traditions from Africa and merged it with their experiences in the new world.

Capoeira: Martial Arts Dance

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines martial arts, danicing and music. We got the opportunity to see it while walking back to the hotel from the beach. The music was accompanied by chanting and dance. The martial artists were graceful and athletic. Capoeira was developed by slaves in Brazil during the early sixteenth century. I was particularly interested by an instrument I had never seen. The instrument is called the berimbau. It is of African descent and has strings in the front and what looks like a gourd at the bottom. It has a very unique sound.

Capoeira descends or comes from African fighting skills. Some say that the dance disguised the fact that it was a facade preparing for rebellion. At one time Capoeira was not allowed by the authorities.

Shark Attack!

We were given the morning and early part of the afternoon off. I remember being woken up at night by a big storm off the ocean. Chris and I got a room on the 12th floor, facing the ocean. I was assigned the large box of coffee. Our room smells like a coffee brewery. We slept in a little bit and had a nice relaxing breakfast. We then decided to head down to the beach and walk around. While getting ready I had the bright idea that this would be the day I swam in the ocean down in Brazil. Unfortunately for me the day that I picked was not an ideal day by any means. The wind howled and the current was strong. Something I would find out later.

While walking the beach we were hounded by vendors trying to get us to sit in their chairs. We had no desire to lay out in this type of weather. So we walked on. Finally we found a spot that looked like a good swimming area. Not sure why I found this spot to stop and jump in but I did. In addition the area of Recife is known for shark attacks. In fact surfers no longer use the beach because of frequent shark attacks. Evidently there is a strong tide that is of danger also. I decide to jump in a shark infested, strong tide area. Looking back certainly not a bright idea. I jumped in a good ways when I heard whistles coming from the shore. I looked back and saw three lifeguards. At first I was scared there were sharks around me. I swam as fast as I could back to shore. While swimming back I began to be carried by the tide to the area with reefs. The reefs are sharp and my foot was cut on one. When I got back to the shore I noticed I was in the area with flags indicating "keep out".