Transport manager, town guide, problem solver and many other things. These are just a few of the roles that Ronaldo has undertaken to smooth the way for the folks of VinB.A couple of years ago when Keith, VinB trustee, was taken ill during a visit to Cristino; Ronaldo gave up his holiday time to take him to the hospital and oversee his care.
During last summer, he acted as courier to the ‘Going Global’ group and last week he met our latest volunteer, Martina, off the plane in Teresina and looked after her during her short stay; guiding her through the visa procedure, showing her the city and introducing her to his family.
Incidentally, Ronaldo is brother to Miquel who trialled the first Micro Loan Initiative in Cristino.
All that Ronaldo does, is done with great warmth and generosity of spirit and Brazil could have no better ambassador and VinB no better hero and friend!
Just few days before my flight to Brazil, I thought it might be a good idea to tell my friends about the projects in Cristino Castro and maybe do a small fund raising event. So I sent around an email with a video about Volunteer in Brazil’s Micro Loan Initiative. Amazingly, my friends from the Slovak Catholic Mission in London managed to put together almost £2000.00 for the loans project.
I would like to thank them for their generous donations and support!
Warm greetings from Cristino Castro ! And I mean it literally because it´s really hot here – and they said yesterday was the coolest day of the year! I feel really good here. Martin and everybody else are looking after me very well. I am trying to settle down and Martin makes sure that we’re visiting and meeting new people (many people actually!). I am very glad that he is here, it is much, much easier for me.
After settling in, Learning Portuguese is my number one priority!
I close my eyes and try to imagine living a different life in a distant country and getting to know the people, culture and weather. Though to be honest it’s quite difficult, especially to imagine nice hot weather as it’s freezing cold right now!
As you know, just a few days before Christmas I’ve received my visa approval! Perfect timing, it was the best Christmas present ever!
At that time it seemed quite far away, but the days slipped by very quickly and now with just 4 days left! I have a mixture of feelings, I am VERY excited, happy, full of expectations and a bit worried. I just wish I were a better student and had practised more Portuguese! Let’s see if 90 audio lessons of Brazilian Portuguese will help me not only to survive, as I do know how to ask for food and help, but also to speak enough to be able to make friends and feel comfortable. Thank God for non-verbal communication.
There is still a lot to do, for example to go through my list what-to-take-with-me for the umpteenth time and try to cross out something which is not that necessary, which is very difficult as everything is SO necessary.
Young people from Longridge High School near Preston organised a carnival to raise money for the Volunteer in Brazil micro loan project that supports rural families in North East Brazil.
This is initiative was started when teacher Louise Mulvana invited Global Link Development Education Centre into school to enable students to explore the Millennium Development Goals (8 goals set by the United Nations in the year 2000 to reduce global poverty) in a fun and creative way.
Inspired by what they had learnt about global poverty and motivated by a spirit of solidarity, the young people and teachers organised a carnival day to raise money to provide interest free loans to rural families in Cristino Castro.
Martin and Martina, our two Assumption volunteers in Cristino, will keep the community at Longridge High informed and connected with the families who will put the loan to good use by investing in small income generation projects like rearing goats, sheep or hens. In two years time the loan will be repaid and the money can be recycled to help another family.
The 8th Millennium Development Goal is all about creating Global Partnerships for Development – lets hope that this project goes a little way in helping to fulfil this goal.
NB. There are a number of organisations involved with this initiative, including: Volunteer in Brazil, Global Link Development Education Centre, Longridge High School, The Assumption Lay Volunteer Programme and The Family Agricultural College in Cristino Castro – partnerships really can make a difference!
After months of waiting Martina’s visa has arrived and her flights have been booked for the 14th January. Martina will be touching down in Lisbon, Brasilia and Teresina before taking a 12 hour bus journey down to Cristino Castro. Maria, Antonio and their family will receive Martina into their home helping her to settle into life in the Brazilian outback.
Maria (in the stripped top) can be seen here with her children and Michele from Altincham who visited in the summer of 2010.
While I am waiting for my visa (it has been more than 4months now!), Joe invited me for a Christmas get together in Chipping. I remember (I think it was in November) that I replied that I would be in Brazil. Well, it’s not really like that!
Christmas cake VinB style!
Margaret and Keith picked me up from Preston station and took me to their house. After a while we went to Mary’s house for a dinner. Sometimes I feel frustrated because of my long waiting, but then, other times I feel very lucky and I see the reason why I am still here. And yesterday’s dinner was one of these moments – I was so pleased to join all those lovely people and to have a chance to meet Trustees and friends of Volunteer in Brazil.
I would like to thank you for the invitation, for all the support and for making me feel like one of the family!