Back down to Earth with a bump…

Well I have been back in the UK for 10 days now so I think it is time for a reflective post of what I have learnt whilst I’ve been away. I have been asked this question a lot and my answer is simple – many things! I’ll try and unpack them a bit for you…

Mental Health in Brazil and our NHS:

This was something that I was particularly interested in finding out about here. Whilst I did not have much opportunity to witness any psychology sessions with the girls, I did see a little of what they were being taught around keeping themselves safe. I had a brief but interesting conversation with Rose around what the mental hospitals are like in Brazil. It seems that whilst in the UK we are still fighting stigma around mental health and wellbeing, Brazil is particularly underdeveloped in this area. Rose informed me that some patients in the hospitals would not even have beds. This is obviously not uncommon for developing and third world countries, and even in the UK this was not so uncommon for us 50 years ago.

This trip has also made me particularly thankful and proud of our NHS. Andy informed me that if I was shot, I would probably be waiting in the A&E department for the hospital for 13 hours, or even longer. Whilst there are many frustrations and things that can be improved, it has taught me to be thankful for our standard of care given, the (almost) immediacy of treatment and the fact that it is free for everyone.


The divide of classes in the North:

Coming back to Western society has also taught me to be cautious of our over-developed nation and our wealthy and spoiled society. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having nice things, it has just taught me to be thankful for the things that I do have, and not so demanding of the things that I want or feel I need.

One thing that was particularly evident in Brazil is the divide of classes and the fact that there is no middle class in the North of Brazil. Andy pointed out en-route to Recife one day the spot where a favela had been knocked down and the residents forced to move out and build their houses on stilts over the river. This was to make way for a particularly Western shopping mall full of top-end brands and businesses. This is because favela land is cheap, and technically is not owned.


Being joyful in painful circumstances:

The main thing that I will take away with me is that ReVive is a house of love and joy, in the midst of extremely painful circumstances for all the girls. Every day I woke up to laughter, chatter and an overwhelming feeling of God’s love being given to all who walk through the doors (and lots outside the house too). Despite the hardships, these girls are all caring, warm and funny girls who welcomed us with a smile and a hug, even though life has shown them the opposite of this. Seeing this special community certainly helps you gain perspective, but mostly it has taught me that thankfulness, praise and coming closer to God in a time of hardship is far more healing that turning and running away. Obviously it has taught me much more than this but I’ll stop for want of boring people!


Things I will miss (probably everything about my trip but I suppose I have to narrow it down):

  • The people – Andy and Rose, all the girls and all the staff – you made our time an absolute joy and I feel I have gained a second Brazilian family! Keep in touch!
  • The culture – despite being quite nervous about a laid-back approach, I actually enjoyed this adopting a more chilled attitude towards things!
  • The music and the dance and the vibrant Brazilian culture – particularly the music blasting from the cars!
  • The hot weather – for obvious reasons. My tan is already fading!
  • Guaraná, coxinhas and pão de queijo!


Things I will not miss so much:

  • Frogs in the toilet!
  • Rice and beans…

Final thoughts:

I have no doubt that I will be going back to Brazil at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future (Andy and Rose – if you will have me?!). I thank God that he has given me a real heart for this country and blessed me with ideas for my future as a mental health nurse. It was the best experience and possibly the best/craziest 3 weeks of my life and for that I am truly thankful.


Some final things to pray on for:

  • Please pray on for Brazil as a country, for the healthcare and education, and particularly the difficult government situation in the country at present.
  • Please pray for those living in the favelas and poorer parts of the country – that they would be recognised as having a voice and a place in society. That their communities would be treasured and their homes respected.
  • Please thank God and pray on for all those mentioned in these blogs – the girls, the staff (Andy and Rose, Elise, Becky and Evaldo, all the educators, Iracy, Gordo, Salomao, Leto, the social workers and psychologists working with both the girls and the families, and for anyone else I have forgotten), and for other volunteers (Abi who is still out there and Debs who will arrive in September).
  • Please thank God for my time out there and for Rosy and Sophie’s time, and pray that God would continue to use this experience to shape my thinking, to grow me and to give me clear ideas, visions and plans for the future.

Thank you! 🙂


 

And Relaxxxx….

The beginning of this week brought us some much needed rest and soaking up the vitamin D!
Sunday morning we went up to old Olinda town for a look round the shops in daylight and breakfast out with Andy and Rose to a quaint hotel called Pousada do Ampora, full of character! It was a traditional Brazilian breakfast – meats, cheeses, fruit, coffee, eggs, tapioca and cake! Needless to say we did not need any lunch. The surroundings of us were so beautiful and peaceful – I would recommend the hotel to stay in if you ever find yourself in Olinda!


During this time we also visited Andy and Rose’s friends who own a shop in Olinda and are Sofia and Julia’s godparents. Dom and Heather spent some time in Brazil before deciding to move out to Olinda and begin their own social enterprise business. The shop is called Beeconomics and hosts their own brand called “Okira”. The idea behind their business is that the brand is eco friendly cosmetics using honey from Brazilian stingless bees. All the products use natural ingredients. Furthermore their business is designed to help the entire community by offering apprenticeship opportunities for those who have finished school and not likely to get offered jobs. This may be something that is very useful for some of the girls in ReVive as they grow up. The products are also all incredible – they smell amazing and look so professional! Their website is below if you would like to find out more: 

http://www.okira.com.br 


Sunday afternoon we hopped in the combi with Andy, Rose and their little girls and drove down to Muro Alto – a popular holiday destination for Brazilians. We drove right through Recife which is just huge! We were driving for over an hour before we came to the end of the city, then we drove past dense rainforest which Andy informed me is an extension of the Amazon! Then, just as we were driving past the oil refinery, we burst a tyre.


This was a bit of a tense moment, but about 5 minutes later at the right time a helpful man who was on his way to tend to an accident saw us and helped us out. Rose, Abi and the girls went with him – there turned out to be no accident(!) – and we waited for the tow-truck. A particularly funny/hairy moment was when 4 of us, had to squeeze into 2 seats in the front of the tow-truck. Andy was practically on the driver’s knee and definitely on top of the gear stick, and I was sat on Rosy and Sophie’s knee squished against the front window. Rosy had her arms around me as a seat belt and held on tight (sorry mum!) As I have said before, there is no health and safety in Brazil! Thankfully we were all sorted out and back on the road again in no time. Of all the places to break down too we were on a well lit road and someone was there to help us. It could have been a lot more dangerous!


Once we got there, only an hour later than planned, Andy and Rose are fortunate to have a friend who lends them the beach house whenever it is free. We were the only people in the complex and the house was incredible! It was quite a shock for us to sleep with air con and without a mosquito net! The beach was beautiful and practically like paradise – the water was so clear and still – a natural lagoon. The time here was spent relaxing and catching up on sleep. It was great to spend more time with Andy and Rose and get to know them even better than we have done. This morning we also visited Porto de Galinhas which was a nice trip out. It translates as the “Port of Chickens” and refers to the slaves coming over to this port in cages. There are lots of chicken statues around the port all wearing different costumes. It’s a quirky little attribute, even if the reason behind it isn’t a good one. After buying lots of Havianas we went back to the beach house for a last minute spot of sunbathing! We stayed here until this afternoon when we sleepily travelled back! This evening we are off to Spettus – an all you can eat meat restaurant that has had nothing but the highest praise! Definitely looking forward to it! 


It has been a lovely few days of rest and a real privilege to visit such a beautiful area. I definitely won’t forget it in a hurry! 

Kelly’s story:

Kelly was born in a very poor place and was not looked after by her family. Kelly was practically living on the streets – they didn’t even have beds. Kelly has two other sisters who her mum loves, but her mum told her that she did not love her and that she wasn’t her daughter. She was brought to another home, and then to the ReVive house, but sadly ran away from here to live with her aunty who is a prostitute. Kelly had a really bad time there. Kelly was brought back to the ReVive house.

Kelly is a quiet girl, lacking confidence (she won’t even look in a mirror) who has taken her time in warming to us and opening up to us. Rosy managed to have a very in depth conversation with her just this weekend. Kelly acknowledged that ReVive was the best place for her – the reason for this is that she feels loved here, and she has never felt that before. It’s conversations like this that stress the importance of the work of ReVive.
For those who pray: 

  • Thank God for a lovely rest and relaxing time away.
  • Thank God for Andy and rose and all they do to make everyone feel so welcome and at home – making it the best experience possible for us.
  • Thank god for a quick resolution to the burst tyre!
  • Please pray for our final day here tomorrow and our journey home to go without a hitch.
  • Please pray for Kelly and thank god that she feels loved here at ReVive. Please pray that she would come to know the deeper love of God and feel truly accepted in him. Please pray that she would grow in confidence and be more accepting of herself.

Two weeks in

Apologies for a later posting and 2 blogs to read, but lots has been happening, and I have also been without wifi for the past 2 days so posting has been delayed! Another longer term volunteer arrived on Wednesday too, called Abi, and she will be staying for 4 months.

Closing the ReaViva Olympics:

From Wednesday to Friday last week, we spent our time finishing off some of the Olympic Games for the girls. We also spent some time teaching them a dance to “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake for our Olympics closing ceremony where we performed the dance and handed out medals to the girls. This was a lot of fun, and one evening we even christened the new dance studio by learning in there – I felt like a proper dancer with the ballet bar and mirrors! At the closing ceremony we recognised all the girls achievements and their different personalities by awarding them each an extra medal for the things that they should be proud of about their character. It has been amazing to see their individual personalities shine through even in the short time that we have been here and I think they all felt very special afterwards. 


During the end of this week we also spent some time making “Fifteens” (Northern Irish cakes) with them, and decorating their own bunting. We even have some activities left over to leave behind with us for the girls to do! As always, we managed to complete some of the painting on the outside of the building too! For one very tall section we enlisted Andy’s help and he managed to reach – there is no health and safety here!

Culture Time:
On Thursday afternoon, Sophie’s friend, Mariana, who met her briefly in the Uk a few years ago but who now lives back in Recife, took us out for the afternoon to show us some museums and a spot of Brazilian culture. 


We visited two museums, one (I think!) was very colourful and about a community of Brazilians who live elsewhere but live like the old end days (a bit like the Amish community), the other was the museum of Favro (which is a type of dance that is famous for the Perbambuco state here, particularly in the carnival. 

We got to write on the walls in this museum, and also got to see many carnival flags and banners from the parades. Olinda old town is famous for its carnival so this was good to see! We then went to a big book shop in Recife and had an ice cream by the sea – it reminded me of Newcastle quayside!



On the Streets: 

Late Friday night saw Andy, Salamao and us girls hit the two main streets in Olinda in the combi, offering sandwiches, coffee and water to the homeless. Most of these people were drunk or high and asleep. This was a particularly special evening for me as I felt at home with the work we were doing, despite being frustrated by the language barrier. It was horrible to see people living the way they did, but I enjoyed meeting the different characters – some of them in very high spirits, despite their circumstances. I didn’t take any photos of this work as I felt it would be inappropriate to those we met.

White Knuckles Rides:

Saturday saw us take the girls to the theme park in the afternoon! This was a gift for the girls from a supporter of the project. As usual we spent the morning doing nails and the ReVive salon, but the girls were super excited for going to the theme park on the outskirts of Recife. Lots of them will have never seen anything like it before – it was a very loud day! We went from about 2-8pm. Once it got dark all the rides lit up and played their music louder. The Brazilians sing along and dance whilst on the rides – it was like being in a nightclub, but great fun! One of the girls who so often tries not to smile particularly enjoyed herself one of the rides and that was great to see. Afterwards we had a small amount of vomiting from those who had been too stubborn to sit out even though they felt terrible! Talk about making the most of an opportunity! 


Jenny and Grace’s Story:

Jenny and Grace are sisters who were physically abused by their mum. Their mother was extremely aggressive towards them – the girls have visible scars from the abuse that they suffered. Their mothers partner also abused them. The old judge wanted the girls to go back to live with their mum despite ReVive knowing that she wasn’t safe for them to be with. Grace suffers from bipolar disorder and it is because of this that none of their extended family wants to take them in. These sisters are two of the brightest personalities in the house. We have come to get to know two funny, caring and intelligent girls who love to see others have a great time. Despite their abuse, they are outgoing and adventurous girls! There is concern over the future for the girls as they are some of the older girls in the house. Jenny however is taking extra courses to try and give her better chances at a good future which I sincerely hope they will both have following their time at ReVive.

Things to pray for: 

  • Thank God for fun and safety in all the activities with the girls including the Olympics on the beach and the trip to the theme park.
  • Thank God that we have got to know all their personalities over a short amount of time.
  • Thank God that we had an afternoon out in Recife! 
  • Please pray for Abi to settle in quickly, to enjoy her time here and to pick up the language easily and build relationships with the girls and staff.
  • Please pray for those homeless and on the streets – that they would come to know God and his love for them. And that their physical needs would also be met. Please pray for Andy, Salamao and the others who usually go on the streets – that they would have wisdom and a good impact with those they meet.
  • Please pray for Jenny and Grace – that they would both have bright futures ahead of them and that their past experiences will not hinder them moving forward in their lives.

Welcome to the First Olympic Games of ReVive!

…and we certainly hope it won’t be the last! This Monday saw us begin our ReaViva Olympics with the girls. It has been a fun week so far, filled with activity and sunshine.
Let the Games Begin: 

Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon saw us take some of the girls to the beach to begin scoring for our Olympic Games! The girls really enjoyed being out of the house, even if some of the physical activity was a bit much! Andy has stressed that he would like to encourage the girls to do more sports and exercise – we hope that this gave them a taster that it can be fun! We started with some high jump and long jump into the sand, moved on to a tug of war (the rope broke they were that strong!), did some relay races, played volleyball, throwing and even got out the colourful parachute which the girls enjoyed playing games on. Some of the girls needed a bit of encouragement to play but we found that they watched each other and decided to get involved. It has been nice to see some of them growing in confidence in this area and learning from each other. The heat meant that we needed to take frequent water breaks and have breaks to cool our feet off in the ocean to soothe us from the burning sand! Doing the games has especially shown us each of the girls characters – I am pretty sure that there could be some athletes in the house if they keep at it! 


Paint everywhere:

On Monday afternoon we began painting on the outside of the house – the green garage doors needed a repaint and we also started on repainting the outside of the house yellow! It is hot and sweaty work but we happily got on with some tunes to sing along to. Rosy even braved the heights to stand on the ledge of the upper floor, much to my horror but she did a great job. We were also helped out by Gordo who also enjoys a sing-along whilst scaling the walls! There is still lots of painting to do so we will be continuing this throughout the week. 

 

Devotional time:

Monday evening saw us lead a devotional with the girls – this time looking at the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz. We asked the girls to get involved with acting this out – much hilarity was had by all but we think they connected with the point of it and the different ways Boaz reflects God’s love and protection.


Frog Antics:

Monday evening also saw us with a visitor to our toilet – a nice little frog who came to say hello. Rosy nicely flushed him back to where he came from. Sadly on my way into the shower I found another little friend who was watching me on the shower curtain. Well this nearly finished me off and it was left to Rosy who disposed of him in one of our drinking cups – much to the horror of the Brazilian staff. We did our best to disinfect the cup. Finally we had another visitor on his way up to our room a bit more formally via the steps. This time he was flicked off with a broom whilst I hid inside the main house. From now on the toilet lid is staying firmly closed… 🐸👍🏻


Frog removal!

Testing the Tapioca:

Yesterday evening we took a little trip up to old Olinda town – cobbled streets and terracotta roofs. We treated ourselves each to  a sweet and a savoury tapioca wrap, and of course a Guarana! It was delicious street food – ate in the company of Gilda who was very efficiently running the street food stall. She could only be described as the Peggy Mitchell of the tapioca world. The taste is hard to describe – it looks like a prawn cracker, has the texture of Yorkshire pudding, but is also very salty! It tasted good! 


During this trip we also got to see a stunning night time view of old Olinda, the sea and over to Recife. It was a welcome trip out! 



Today:

This morning also saw us making smoothies with the girls. This went down a storm with the girls and the staff! Iracy (Rose and Rosely’s mum, the cook and mum for everyone else here too), was in heaven! Gordo especially enjoyed this and sat down to enjoy his in the sun! We will be doing this again this afternoon with the remaining girls in between the painting. 

Iracy and Gordo enjoy their smoothies!

Tonight will also hopefully see us hitting the streets of Olinda in the combi to help the homeless. A few of the girls have even been found and brought the the house this way. I hope that this will be a real experience for us to learn and show the people we meet a small taster of God’s love for them. Hopefully this will take place as plans often change! 

Anna’s story:

Anna first came to Revive over a year ago. Both her parents had died and she had technically been living with her granmother but spent her days going from one person’s house to another between going to various parties where she would take a lot of drugs. It had been a struggle for her to adapt to the change in her life when she came and unfortunately she ran away. She then became pregnant but sadly lost the baby at 5 months. After the loss of her baby she was then taken to a governmental home again where she specifically requested to be taken back to Revive as she believed that only there could she make a difference to her life. Anna is one of the eldest girls and has a funny, sensitive and bubbly personality.  Anna is clearly still grieving for her baby and will be for the rest of her life, she still has some of her baby’s clothes in her room. Our prayer for her is that she can rest in God’s peace and love as he heals her from this ordeal.

For those who pray: 

  • Thank God for having a fun time doing the various activities with the girls.
  • Thank God for providing us with rest and time to ourselves at the weekend.
  • Thank god for each and every one of the girls and staff here and their differing personalities.
  • Please pray on for productivity in painting the house – that we will be able to get lots done in the next few days.
  • Please pray for the girls and what they learn in the devotionals – that they would take it away with them and think on it further.
  • Please pray for the staff to come to know God on a deeper level.
  • Please pray for Anna and her situation – that God would comfort and heal her in her grief and that she would know his love further.


Thank you! Nos amos Brasil! 🇧🇷❤️

Wonderful Weekend

Time for another update – I wish I could do them more often but we tend to be quite busy with little time to sit down and write! This weekend was just great – lots happened so I’m going to go day by day!
Saturday

Saturday saw revive turn itself into a salon for the girls. The evening was one of the girls’ 15th birthday party – which is a massive deal here, even bigger than the sweet 16 in America – so naturally all day was spent preparing for it. We all had a slightly longer lie in which was nice, and then the beauty regime started with nails from after breakfast, then turned to hair and make up, right up to when the party started! The girls all make a huge effort when it comes to leaving the house and looking their best, or even for a party at home – so we felt we needed to do the same! 


This also gave us the opportunity to see what the girls had and divide up all the gifts which we brought over from donations. We made them each up a little bag of cosmetics, based on what they already had and what they liked. Anything left over was out somewhere where they can all share. They also absolutely loved the hair straighteners and curlers. Rosy was straightening one of the girls hair for almost 2 hours it was that thick – but it looked great afterwards! This felt like a really rewarding day – just to spend time doing the things they enjoy and making them feel special. 


In the evening the birthday party was great! Andy got to dance the waltz with the birthday girl (a turning 15 tradition) – no doubt just one of many times he will dance the waltz! Andy, Gordo (the handyman) and Philipe are great examples of how men should be treating their wives, sisters and daughters. It is lovely to see Andy looked up to as a father for all the girls here.


Sunday:

Sunday in Brazil was Father’s Day. A difficult day for all of the girls in the house. It was nice that the birthday party fell the night before as a little celebration for the girls. Rosy spoke on the Good Samaritan at the morning church service – and one of the girls helped me and Sophie out in acting out a modern day version of this. Naturally we used football to demonstrate it – this will never fail to grab their attention! Andy then said a little about how God is our perfect Heavenly Father – a moving moment for lots of the girls. The church service itself was informal and fun – I tried to sing in Portuguese which I think provided much hilarity for the girl stood next to me. I did love the vibrancy and the dancing though! 


Sunday afternoon saw us have time away from the house and the girls on our own for the first time. We went to the beach and were stared at for most of our trip out – 3 white girls is a rare occurrence! We drank out of coconuts and soaked up the sun. It was a lovely time to chill despite the beach being crammed full of Brazilians celebrating Father’s Day. We then tried to have some food but found most places we wanted to visit closed so went to the Brazilian version of McDonald’s called “Habib’s” and ate even more carbs. They were showing the olympics however so we managed to see some GB gold medal winning! 


On Sunday evening we went to the house of the ReVive England volunteer coordinator Rachel, and her father Steve who is one of the Brazilians on the ReVive board. Steve lives in the penthouse of an apartment block in Recife so we had a great journey over in the combi and a great view of the city skyline from the top. It was like being in New York – Recife is huge! It was great to meet Rachel and Steve and hear about their plans. Rachel and Sophie even had a friend in common – it’s a small world! Afterwards Andy and Rose took us to the big shopping mall in Recife for dinner and for their little girls, Sophia and Julia to play in the games station. It was lovely to spend more time with them, and the mall was quite something! However, Andy told me that they had to move the shanty town to build the mall as the land was cheaper – we drove past the shanty town and saw that it was by the edge of the river and some of the houses were on stilts. Sadly this is typical of Brazil with the divide of wealth. 


Jane’s Story:

Jane came to the ReVive house 2 years ago, just in Rosy’s last week. Rosy told us that when she arrived she was physically a mess, with matted hair and scraggly clothes. They quickly discovered that she couldn’t read, write or count to 10 as she had never been to school before. Emotionally, she was really difficult and refused to do anything she was asked to do. Sadly Jane had come from a heartbreaking situation where her mother would take her every weekend to her grandmother’s house where her grandmother’s partner would sexually abuse both Jane and her mother and then receive payments for his friends to do the same. Coming back here now and seeing a confident and chirpy girl with long sleeky hair who always wants to help out and is favoured by her teachers, is just an example of the work here at Revive.


I haven’t had time to put prayer requests in this one but please do pray on for everyone mentioned, especially Jane! X

Dia 5! 

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. 

Sophie’s Story:

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!

Bom dia, Brasil!

I’m new to blogging but have always wanted to give it a try, so bear with me and here goes..!

Rosy, Sophie and I have safely landed and are beginning to settle in here in Olinda, Brazil. Thanks to all who have prayed for our journey out here, it went very quickly with next to no hiccups – our delayed flight from Gatwick made up an hour’s worth of time! Andy picked us up in the really cool ReVive VW camper, which I loved!

The ReVive yard and VW camper!

First Impressions:

My first impression of the house is that it is a place of peace for girls that have come from less than peaceful circumstances. Not only that but it is providing a place of fun, laughter, safety and education. Most importantly, the girls have a loving family here that most of them do not have outside of the house, and we feel very privileged to be invited to be part of it. We are still learning about each of the girls’ stories but I hope to write more about each of them in following posts. Their individual personalities are all shining through even after two days: they are all funny, caring and energetic girls!

The practicalities of the house:

Most days start at 7am – the girls must be ready and eat breakfast by 8am. Then they head off to school at different times and for varying lengths. This means we have time throughout the day to build relationships with each of them in smaller groups. I hope to learn more about the girls as time goes on; at present they are involved with social workers, psychologists and nutritionists as well as all the staff at ReVive so some of their time is spent with each worker. Over the past few days we have just been getting used to the routines and timings – although these are loose terms here in Brazil! I am learning to go with the flow and embrace the relaxed attitude. We have been able to run a few activities and games this morning, and have spent some time painting flags and t shirts ready for the the ReaViva Olympic games which we will run next week, complete with closing ceremony! 

One of the girls holding her Olympic flag. Faces are blurred to protect their safety.

Andy has also suggested that a lot of painting can be completed whilst we are here! The builders are just finishing up in the new extension, which gives us brand new walls to paint along with repainting the ones that have been messed up in the process.  No doubt we will be kept busy with this along with running activities for the girls!

Meals are simple but so far have tasted good. Unusually Brazilians eat their main meal at lunch which is followed by a nap, and it usually consists of rice, beans and an unnamed meat. Carbs to the max, but lots of fruit has been offered to balance it out! 

Our annex block is doing the job nicely, we each have a little bed and a mosquito net. The bathroom is separated by a plastic corrugated door so privacy is out the window but we are embracing it! There is an electric fence on top of the wall of the property and 2 lovely guys called Leto and Salamão take turns to sleep in a room below us every night as security for us and the girls, so we feel very safe. Andy informed us that sadly the crime rate in the area has risen so security is becoming increasingly important. On an evening the girls either attend a devotional or ‘thought for the day’ or have time to rest. Last night we ran this time and it evoked lots of conversation.

Our annex block and wash area!

Weather wise it has been lovely and hot with only one rainy night- the nights aren’t so hot that we can’t sleep but there isn’t any need for a blanket and we have a fan blowing all night. Mosquitos have so far mostly stayed away too. I love the temperature and the way of life here but this is only winter! 

The girls learn about types of violence from the ReVive psychologist.

I am slowly but surely learning to speak the Portuguese language! Watch this space… I aim to be fluent before I leave! 

Lots more updates to come – hopefully they will be slightly more planned and slightly shorter, now that we have settled in and have a vague timetable.

For those who pray:

  • Please give thanks for our journey over going smoothly and for being made to feel so welcome by everyone here.
  • Give thanks for the extension which looks fantastic and is coming along nicely. 
  • Give thanks and continue to pray for rest and no illness as we adjust to the new time difference and food.
  • Give thanks for opportunities to lead devotionals with the girls and pray for this time to be fruitful and for us as we lead it and the Sunday service, looking at Ruth and James.
  • Pray for us to build good relationships with the girls and with staff. 
  • Pray for the girls to have fun in the time we spend with them! 
  • Give thanks and continue to pray for our safety in the project and when we head out.
  • Please pray for God to provide financially as ReVive has suffered due to the post-Brexit pound drop.

Thank you!