Day 13 – September 26th, 2017
We had to be up super early today.. well 8 o’clock, but that’s still kind of early compared to all the other mornings we’ve had. Today was our first day at Projecto Pepe. I loved it. There were 42 small children running around crazy, screaming and yelling, but I loved it. It was hard to communicate with them. One reason being my Portuguese is still very basic. Another reason being some of the children didn’t speak Portuguese. Some of them have only learned Creole and not Portuguese.
I bonded with a sweet little girl named Ciara. She was a good few years older than the Projecto Pepe students. She was there because her mom was one of the teachers and her school didn’t start until after lunch. She spoke next to no English and I speak extremely little Portuguese. But we did have one language in common: math. We did math problems together for like an hour and a half. She taught me a few Portuguese words (mostly just colors) and I taught her a few English words. I’ve never been as thankful for math as I was today.
Hadassah, Mrs. Lauren, and I went to take some school supplies to a little boy that is about to start real school. There house made me feel like a millionaire. The house was just stone and concrete with no window panes, just openings- so no way to keep out bugs and all the other elements. One of the bedrooms was only separated by a sheet hung in the middle of the room and the refrigerator was also in the room. Some days I forget I’m in a 3rd world country and then some days (like today) God reminds me how good I have it and of all my many blessings.
Speaking of this, Projecto Pepe is just on the roof of the church. No fans, no air conditioner, cement blocks for walls, and openings for windows, no window panes or curtains. The children all share about 5 cups when they’re getting water and they have the biggest smiles on their faces when they have just the nub of a crayon. This hit home with me. During my short time helping with the 2 & 3 year old Sunday school class back home, I remember thinking that the broken crayons should be thrown away and that if another kid even reached for someone else’s cup we washed it off (or if it was plastic we threw it away). These kids find joy in the broken, nubs of crayons and easily share and are thankful for the water they get, even if 5 other kids used the same cup. What if our churches back home took all the extra resources and money we spend on unnecessary things and plugged it into a church here? Or if we donated money to Projecto Pepe? Or if we sponsored a family here? Some churches even have enough money to sponsor whole communities. I’ve only been here a little over a week and I’m already resenting how easy it is in America and how selfish we as a nation are.
Mrs. Lauren took us girls to a bakery for a treat after Projecto Pepe. I thought I was just asking the girl behind the counter what something was, but the next thing I know she was bringing me a huge chocolate cake pastry- which I can’t complain too much about that because it was delicious.
For lunch, we had rice, beans & carrots, salad, and what most of us thought was grilled chicken… It was grilled tuna. The same tuna that the woman cut with her bare hands and had flies circling it at the market the day before. I mean, I don’t know, but if all meat can taste that good after sitting in the heat and in the flies, then I’m down to eat it. It was extremely delicious. I would’ve gone for seconds, but we finished it all pretty quick.
I power napped after lunch before our Portuguese class. I’ve come to understand that it is a normal thing to do. It’s called “soneca”in Portuguese which literally means nap after lunch. I’ve never felt more at home than when I found that out. I love this culture and country.
We started our Portuguese class today. I was extremely nervous about it. I wasn’t scared of the class, but I was scared that I would hate it. The good news is, it totally blew my expectations out of the water. It was so much fun and time flew by while we were there. I can’t wait to be fluent in the language.
For supper, we had grilled chicken, rice & beans, soups, and salad. The food has been so so good. I love chicken in any form, but I have been especially thankful for all the chicken. This is proof chicken is always good and helps support my argument that chicken should be everyone’s favorite food and eaten at every meal.
We had prayer meeting in our apartment tonight with a local woman that teaches at Projecto Pepe and goes to our church. Prayer meeting was especially powerful. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit all through the room. Such a great reminder that you don’t need to be in church to be so close to God.
Thankful to be ending the night playing card games with my team & Mrs. Lauren. We all love her & Mr. Derek so much. I am so blessed to be here.