Letter to a Sister: Brazil

Tuesday 23rd

Spent day in car, driving from Afogados to Recife. Six hours. Tried hard to not need washroom at the service stops, when finally relented it was the cleanest public washroom ever! Decided I need to start a ” World Wide Washroom” website, get people to grade toilets around the world. Will give it some thought.
Went to restaurant for lunch. Was a buffet. Unlike yesterday, this time I knew that I had to weigh the food BEFORE I started eating it, as it’s paid for by weight. ( Don’t ask about yesterday….)
Dropped some of the team at the airport. Rather sad the team is breaking up, it has been an intense few days but we all seemed to get along, no obvious tensions and lots of laughs.
Checked in at Cult hotel. Same room, duct tape still safely in place.
Walked along beach front. Despite the warnings everywhere, even behind every room door in the hotel, we did not see any sharks. There was even a man swimming and I waited for a few minutes, camera poised, but nothing, not even a fin.
Went to a market. Was either setting up or closing down. Bit naff. Didn’t buy a cushion cover. Ken didn’t buy a hammock. Walked back along front. It was getting dark but Luiz said in a lit area, a group would be fine. Started to rain, then poured. Very warm, so rather nice. Until we remembered were travelling the next day and had no way to dry clothing.
Ate pizza, then said goodbye to Luiz. Was sad saying goodbye, hope to see him again some day. He’s eighteen, has learnt English to a level whereby he can earn money translating. He lives in the favela with his family. When he left us, if the rain continued for more than a day, he would need to help move all their belongings onto tables to escape the flooding. His bit of the world is very different to ours, yet when he was joking with David, showing us round, discussing music, you realised that he was the same, was no different to our boys.
People like him are working hard to improve their lives, to live in communities that have a decent infra structure and less crime. The church is helping with the community – he told me that now, during daylight, there was no fear where he lives, they don’t have much stuff but they work together, growing up he has been surrounded by friends. Tearfund is helping with the infra structure, lobbying the government to improve flood control and provide amenities.

Wednesday 24th

Early flight to Rio. When we landed in Recife a few days ago, my bag was squashed and the zip damaged ( with tyre marks on it.) When we left, with the same airline, they made us sign a disclaimer, saying that said bag ( now secured with duct tape) would not be their responsibility if duct tape should fail. So wished my Portuguese was good enough to have explained that THEY caused the damage in the first place! Shall compose a letter when I am home. Cannot really recommend TAM airlines, not for customer service anyhow.
Bag arrived in one piece ( did not have to pick single items of clothing from conveyor belt. Taxi to Caesar Park Hotel. A few days holiday now.
Am really tired. I came up to room ahead of David. Pressed floor number in lift but we sailed past it to 23rd floor. Know that some lifts you need to wave room card above number, so did that but it still didn’t light my floor. Had visions of spending all day going up and down lift shaft. Thankfully another guest spotted what I was doing and showed me the slot where you have to put card before it will accept floor number. Will have a nap now I think.
Take care,
Anne xx

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