It's me

It's me
The Bedouin Woman

Friday, August 26, 2011

Campinas Arrival

Campinas Arrival

August 18, we arrived in Campinas after, I could say a grueling 8 hour bus ride from Belo Horizonte, but actually it wasn’t so bad and the time passed rather quickly. The seats we comfortable and reclined, there were foot rests as well. The bus made stops about every 2.5 hours, I ventured out the 2nd time the bus stopped. Never thinking to look at the number of our bus, coming back I couldn’t find it. I searched in every buss, and there must have been 4-5 of them, the last one I looked in and saw Pauline and was so relieved.

Let me tell you about our luggage and the things like wedding gifts for Sidney and Eli-Ruama(the newly weds)Pauline and I had 3 suitcases each, Michelle had 3 suitcases, the boys traveled a little lighter but all in all we had 4 carts full of “stuff”. Thank God we had boys with us and strong women!

The mountains in Campinas are so beautiful, the locals call them hills but we Floridians and Louisianians call them mountains!! On a clear day and even on a not so clear day you can see forever, Just breathtaking and I will post pics on FB soon!

We came to the boys house first and rested for a few hours then met the rest of the team. On to the girls home, which is called the “chakra” or ranch. It is quite unique with several “adobe” like houses, 2 pools, one for small children and a bigger one for the older girls(in need of a good cleaning)Pauline and I were taken to a house that would be our house to eat breakfast and dinner in and every few days we change houses so we can get to know the Tia’s(house moms)pronounced “chia”. There are about 40 girls living in the houses.

I was very surprised the size of the house we would be staying in. Large bathroom and shower, which by the way doesn’t always have hot water L. The bedroom has 3 bunk beds, and 3 wardrobes to put our clothes in. Finally! We will be able to put our clothes in a place other than our suitcases.

Breakfast is usually bread and coffee and/or hot chocolate. Lunch is always at the boys ranch because that is where we spend the majority of our time during the week. Dinner is once again at the girls “chakra” where it is most always rice and beans and greens and chicken or beef or chicken stew, always good always filling!

We are always up by 6 am and at the house by 6:30 am for breakfast. Back to our house to get ready for the day and meet the ‘Omnibus” to get to the boys ranch by 8 am when our day starts with devotions done by one of the team.

August 19, today we met with the Pastor of Hope Unlimited, he runs this Cidade Dos Meninos(City of Youth). He went over the rules and regs of this campus, including not to take pictures of the kids and post on the internet. Some of the kids have been taken out of their homes and placed here due to family dysfunction and some parents don’t know where they are. I do have pics that I can show when I get home but none can go on FB.

The internet is sporadic at best, sometimes we have it for hours and sometimes we have it for a few minutes and sometimes it goes down and doesn’t come back on.

The weather has been cold and rainy, we needed to get more blankets from the house moms. During this time we had just warm water, not hot. We need to wash our clothes by hand, we were able one day last week to bring our heavy items like jeans and towels to the boys campus and do some wash here in a washing machine, no dryers, we air dry and it so totally different than a dryer, so fresh smelling!

This past Saturday we had some ladies come to the house with crafts for the girls to do, like make bracelets and necklaces, the girls had a great time and made some nice jewelry for themselves.

The first 2 weeks here have just been getting used to the houses and the kids, making friends and trying to learn the language(which is not easy)the kids are also interested in learning English so we have a common goal.

We attend church services on Saturday nights here at the boys ranch for the youth, then on Sunday night we attend church in the city of Campinas which Pastor Derli is in charge of. We are here to serve, so if they are short on help in the nursery then it is our responsibility to help in that area.

That is all for now, I will try to continue blogging on a regular basis, it might be a slow process so bear with me, there is so much we are doing here it can’t be all said in a blog, and I don’t want to have the blog so long that no one will want to read it, so I will try to keep it relatively compact!

Love you with all the love of Jesus! Till next time, Ciao! J J

Monday, August 22, 2011

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte

This is the day we went to the city of Belo Horizonte. Up at 6:30 am for devotions, to boys house for breakfast. Let me explain the different houses and where they are in Lagoa Santa.

The girls and the boys are separated and each have a house. The girls house is like a normal house but with larger bedrooms to hold 2-3 sets of bunk beds. I say “normal house” this would be normal for Brazil but not for the USA. Houses are mostly brick and there are a lot of stairs and gates. Windows have no screens so bugs in your “casa”(house)is very normal. The kitchen is very small with limited cupboard and counter space. The stove is gas operated and sometimes we run out. The living room is fairly large but in ours we had our suitcases, but that was ok because there is no furniture other than plastic chairs.

The boys house is somewhat bigger with a larger kitchen(most of the cooking is done here)they share bunk beds as well and again, there is one bathroom and shower among the 7-8 guys. Their living room is about the same size, they do have some furniture because most of the meetings and devotions take place there.

Pauline and I shared rooms with 2-3 other girls. There is one bathroom and one shower and when the shower turns one the lights dim. I know what you are thinking, the electricity is very primitive.

Beans and rice area main stay in lunch and dinner. Greens and potatoes in some form and also some kind of meat is included.

The boys house is where we ate lunch and dinner most days. In the morning two girls go to the Padaria(bakery)for fresh rolls, we eat them with either milk or juice or water. Lunch is cooked by two or three people, depending how extensive the meal is, as well as dinner. Similar to E3D each person washes their own plate and fork. Another person washes the pots and pans and the floor gets swept after each meal.

For the most part Pauline and I had someone with us if we went anywhere. One day one of the girls, Mandy(pronounced Ma’ngi)took us to the Super Mercado(super market)and we finally got to get some coffee, even though it was instant, at that point with some sugar and leite(milk)it tasted like heaven!

Everywhere we go, we walk, and that is ok because I needed some exercise. The first day we arrived in Lagoa Santa we were invited for Pizza, I think I already went through that episode in the past blog but let me tell you we walked and walked and walked I was praying “please God let us arrive” and we did!

After the trip to the super market, Pauline and I felt brave and ventured out on our own it was not far from the house so Pauline felt like we could do it and we did. Then we took an easier way back and realized that there were many more stores on the way back that we never knew about and never got to visit because the very next day we were leaving Lagoa Santa for Campinas.

Our trip to Belo Horizonte will forever be etched in my mind because what is illegal in the USA is legal, or maybe not exactly legal, but it’s not looked upon as illegal. Does that even make sense? What I mean is they, the Policia(Police)look the other way. We did some shopping in the shopping area and then almost right around the corner is the area of prostitution. Right in broad daylight, right in the heart of town men go in and out all day long into the brothels. One of the girls that was here last did a video of this and here I was right in the middle of it. These women are anywhere in age from well, lets just say very, very young to very, very old. The prices they charge are so cheap $20 Reais(pronounced hay-I’s)about $16 dollars in American money. For the old women 50-60 years old the price is so much lower $2 Reais this is all per hour. These women rent the hotel room for $1000 Reais a month and never make enough to get them out of the prostitution life, so sad! Let me interject here that we did some walking and praying!

Ok, my blogs cannot cover half as much as we have experienced so far in our 1 plus week here.

All that aside, God Is amazing and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do through me and in me. I may come back fluent in Portuguese (one can only hope J )

Stayed tuned for the next blog when I tell you all about our 8 hour bus ride with 4 carts full of luggage and packages to bring to Campinas. Also about the trip with all this luggage in the back of a pickup truck (no, I was not in the back of the truck I was fortunate enough to be in the cab) J.

Signing off for now from the beautiful mountains of Campinas, Brazil. Ciao

Monday, August 15, 2011

We Have Arrived!

We arrived in Belo Horizonte on Friday morning at 8:10 AM after a rather pleasant flight from the USA. What can I say about the weather here? The mornings are cool and the afternoon are HOT! And this is still winter.
When we got off the plane we thought our ride would be here but they were not, so we hauled our stuff, 6 suitcases out on the side walk, this is where our ride was told to pick us up. We kinda knew who to look for but no cars going by looked like them. Finally at about 9:30 am a very pretty lady came up to us asking if we were Marion and Pauline, that was Jacqueline and in the car, a very small car, was her fiance Flavio. Our ride was here! Now, the problem came to pack the car with the suitcases AND the people, but Flavio was very adamant that all would fit and somehow all did!
I will not nor can I go into every little detail up to this point but I will tell you the days were and still are jammed packed with things to do, no boring time but we do have some down time, which I consider my "rest" period.
The first night we were treated to a great pizza party, a couple in the church wanted to bless the team and made about 9 pizzas, homemade crust with cheese, ham and pepperoni. We walked to their house and walked back about a mile journey.
Saturday night we went to youth meeting at our church, which is a spirit filled Baptist church and two of the team members, from Venezuela did a rap session for the youth and they also sold some of there CD's and have ones for us as well, and autographed!
We had a great service on Sunday night where Pastor Josh preached in English and all the pastors prayed for us as we are sent out on our different cities.
There was also a small party for Amanda, one our team members, she was not aware of it and we had about 25 people in our small "casa". Now, let me tell you about this most unusual cake. It looked like a carrot cake, and when Pauline put the first bite in her mouth she was taken aback because she thought for sure they forgot to put the sugar in it. But, no this cake was called a "Bollo Salgada" and was made from chicken, cheese, bread, corn, and something kind of thickener, and was delicious. I was warned so I knew what was coming although I didn't believe PJ when he told me it was a chicken dish.
That brings us to our present day. but let me first interject here that toilet paper is a commodity and no one can flush it down the toilet it has to be placed in a waste basket. Hows that?
We have about 14 in our team, not counting leaders, some will stay here and some will go to Campinas and Vittoria. We have 3 Venezuelans, 2 of them are the "rapper" guys and one female. We have a boys house and a girls house, we go for meals at the boys house, lunch and dinner and mornings one of the girls go to the bread store and brings back these fresh rolls, still hot form the oven! That is breakfast. NO COFFEE. So to rectify this Pauline and I purchased a small jar of instant coffee and some "leche" which is like condensed milk but a little thinner and we us it and regular milk for our coffee. It works. Brazilian coffee is made strong and sweet but no milk. And it's usually drank in the afternoon and night.
Today is our day off and we are all here in the TC office doing FB, skyping and any computer work we need to do.
Signing off for now and will try to be back in a few days to continue this journey, PLEASE if there are any questions ask me because I try to write everything down but today I didn't bring my notes with me or my camera charger :-(, I promise to do better the next time, and sorry this is so long, Love you all, and miss you too!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Off To Brazil,,,,

Off to Brazil or so we thought!

After coming to Houston and staying with Beverly, a friend of Pauline’s and now a friend of mine too! After Beverly took us to the airport, after getting all our luggage into the airport and through security, after getting to our gate and sitting for an hour, after deciding we needed to eat, we dragged all our carry on luggage toward an eatery and stopping to look at departures and arrivals we see our flight to Miami was C A N C E L E D!

I stayed with the luggage while Pauline practically ran back to the American Airline counter to find out the situation. After what seemed to me like an hour Pauline came back with the “good” news and the “bad” news.

What happened was weather, bad weather up and down the coast of Florida and especially in Miami, so bad that they canceled our flight. Now, we could have flown out the next day but then we had the problem of connecting to Belo Horizonte, which was not possible but they could get us into Sao Paulo but that presented another situation of getting us to Belo, neither one of us would have a phone so this was not an option.

Pauline, being the brilliant thinker she is and good in any emergency (remind me to tell you the wasp story, another time) asked the girl at the counter is there another flight another day to get us to Belo? Yes, there is another flight exactly like the itinerary we just had, flying out on Thursday same times to Miami, flying out to Belo and arriving on Friday at 8 am .

She accepted that itinerary and the girl was even kind enough to do my ticket as well, even though I was not in front of her, so “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28

His purpose was for us not to fly out of the country at that particular time. I don’t know why and I may never know the reason. I am not God but I am His child and He cares for me. We are going to do His will and His work and this trip is all in His timing and I am to trust Him in all things.

Pauline called Beverly and we retrieved all our luggage, and since 9/11 the airports now have no lockers to rent so we had to lug all that heavy luggage back to Beverly’s car and assemble it all back in her car and that feat was mainly on Pauline’s shoulders (and back) because neither Beverly nor I are equipped with the strength that Pauline has, she lifted everything back into the car and off we went.

We could have taken this setback defeatedly, but is that what God would have wanted us to do? I felt that God is working character, flexibility and patience into us and preparing us for what might be in Brazil. That being said we headed back to Beverly’s but first stopping at a great Mexican restaurant called Los Cucos, after all isn’t that where we were headed when all this went down? J

Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 Days and Counting,,,,,,

5 Days and counting!

Yes, that is right, we have 5 days before we leave this great city of Broussard and head for Houston where we will stay with a friend of Pauline’s for one night then she will take us to the airport for a 6:10 pm flight to Miami, then from Miami at 11:05 pm we fly out to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, arrival time 8:10 am.

Speaking of Houston, the last time I was there was around 1976, I think, my sons will correct me if I’m wrong because that trip was an unforgettable experience for all of us but especially them. We had decided to take this adventure, sold what we needed to sell and packed the rest in a pull along trailer (that my husband had built) and set out with 5 children and 2 adults in a Ford, Maverick, can you even imagine that? Our youngest son at that time was about 5 years old and quite small and he rode most of the trip up in the back window haha yes, we looked like the modern day Beverly hillbillies!

It was a fun trip until two youngest boys contacted Impetigo and the oldest Gastroenteritis, and we spent about a day in a hospital in one of the states we were driving through, oh dear the memories of that! But thank God we were believers at the time and we were prayed up, well at least my oldest son and my daughter was, my faith at that moment was waning.

Moving on to when we arrived in Houston and set up camp, that’s right you heard me, set up camp. We lived in a campsite in a huge tent, which was our home. Oh did I mention a friend of ours and her daughter and 2 dogs were our travel companions? Forgive me for leaving that part out, haha. They had their own tent, thank God, once again!

We thanked God for a lot on this trip because after living in a tent for 3 weeks and no job possibility for my husband, we decided to go back to NY from whence we came. We left Houston and our campsite with about $185 to get us back to NY. Of course back in ’76 gas prices were not like they are today so we felt that this was a possibility barring no complications.

We got as far as Arkansas and our radiator went, long story short we were able to get it fixed, there is a whole lot to this but someday I will post the “whole” story. Got back on the road again and BANG the transmission went. By this time we knew that the money we had would not fix a transmission and so we made a call to our home church and our pastor came to our rescue and wired us the necessary funds to get the transmission fixed and hopefully get us back to NY. Oh did I mention that our traveling companions left us hi and dry without even offering a helping hand? Yup, they just said well, “we will see you back in NY bye bye” and off they drove.

On the trip to Houston we had to leave our home made trailer and its contents in a Maryland storage unit because the weight of it on our little Ford, Maverick driving up those Blue Ridge mountains was a bit much for her. So we stopped by the unit to make sure all was well and promised to return in the very near future to retrieve it.

We were very close to home when we realized we were a bit short of money and knew we wouldn’t make it the rest of the way so my husband decided to pawn his bow and arrows and that got us another $85 and the rest of the way home.

There is so much more to this story and like I said I will post the story in its entirety at some future date. I re-lived with you some of the adventure I had on my one and only trip to Houston. Now I’m going back there and I wonder will I see some of what I saw in ’76 or will things be so changed I wouldn’t remember?

One can only guess.