We are just coming to the end of day 5 here – it feels like we have been here months! We have all settled in well, and been made to feel so welcome by the staff and the girls. The last few days have been very fun and filled with laughter.
Yesterday morning (Thursday) we walked to the ‘Hiper’ supermarket to buy some snacks and chocolate for our room and some supplies for activities with the girls. The supermarket was massive – it was a Homebase, Range, B&Q, Boots and an ASDA all rolled into one. The walk to the market was lovely in the sunshine (most of the house is in shade to protect the girls from the summer sun, but we do try and catch the rays when we can), and we also survived the crazy Brazilian roads! The cars don’t tend to stop at zebra crossings… On the way back we walked along the beach front – this was beautiful and despite the water not actually being too clean at this part, it was the bluest water I have ever seen. I am really looking forward to going to Muro Alto at the end of our trip where we are told that the water is beautiful.
Yesterday we also began the work of painting the whole house. We have started with the lounge and dining area for the girls. Due to all the building work the rooms are all in need of a good re-paint and a scrub. Brazilians are extremely clean – we have been told that they shower at least 3 times a day and they think we smell if we don’t, so I’m sure they will be happy when the building work finally stops and everything is looking clean again. We are nearly hitting the Brazilian level of 3 showers a day – all the paint mingled with sweat means that a nice cool shower at the end of it all is welcomed. I ended up looking like I’d had a shower in the paint and it was a long shower to get it all off! Today we finished some of the cream walls and now we are ready to start adding a splash of colour to some feature walls and the outside of the house. I will hopefully post a before and after picture in a couple of days’ time!
Papped hard at work painting the walls, and after when we were covered in it!
We have started to play some of the Olympic Games too! Yesterday we set up the volleyball net in the street outside the ReaViva house. We also played some silly games in the house too. The girls all loved them! Today we have had two water fights and played blind battleships (3 showers will be had today) with water balloons. This was extremely fun and the house was filled with squeals and laughter of us all getting drenched! At the end it descended into a big free for all with the balloons. Some of the staff were clearing the area quickly and even a builder had to cower behind his box!
The top photo is when I accidentally burst my own water balloon over my head during battleships!
I feel we have also began to build great relationships with everyone around us. The girls are starting to open up to us more, and are coming to speak with me and start conversations even though my Portuguese isn’t as strong. I am getting there, and I am loving learning new words that come in handy to use again and again. Laura – I have used the phrase ‘pineapple’ many times so it came in useful after all! When I return I will definitely keep up learning the Portuguese.
I hope over all my posts to say a little about each of the girls in the house, although I will not post specific pictures and names will be changed to help protect them.
Sophie is a very caring and sweet girl. We have found out that she actually comes from a more privileged background, unlike most of the girls and staff who come from the favela or the shanty town. She has told us that this some times makes her feel bad around the other girls. Her father pays for her to attend private school when the other girls cannot go – meaning she has more opportunity ahead of her. Sadly though, her father stated that he did not want to look after her anymore, so took her to the judge and abandoned her. As far as we gather, her other family has also rejected her. Sophie has pictures and connections with them on Facebook, but other than this they have no contact with her. This baffles us as she isn’t any trouble and is one of the quieter, more mature girls in the house – however even if she was trouble, this would be no excuse either. The house at ReaViva is however providing her with stability and family. We hope that this will help her to gather the confidence to achieve her aspirations and make the most of her education. She told us she would like to visit Budapest, and I hope that she can one day!
A Trip to the Favela:
Last night we also drove up to the favela, to Gordo’s house (the ReaViva handyman) for a prayer and pizza night. We spent time singing and praying in Portuguese for ReaViva and had some amazing Brazilian pizza. It was a really humbling night and we felt very grateful to be welcomed into Gordo and his family’s home. I loved the drive over past the shanty towns and through the favela. It was eye opening – and a little hairy at times!
A view of the favela from the ReaViva house.
For those who pray:
- Please pray for Sophie, that she would feel loved and accepted at ReaViva and ultimately find the love and acceptance she desires in God.
- Please pray for continued safety and productivity in painting the house.
- Continue to pray on for each of the girls to grow and develop in knowing God, and for us as we try to help them.
- Thank God for all the staff at ReaViva who work so hard to make this a place of happiness.
- Please pray on for safety and fun as we lead activities with the girls, and as we start to take the girls out of the house to do some of these.
Obligatory jumping photo!