Carnival is finally coming to a close here which means that Projecto To Ligado will opening its doors for yet another year. We’re expecting 36 kids to turn up on Monday afternoon and they’ve got an exciting year planned out for them. A lot of familiar faces in the staff team and some new ones. There are the rocks, Beth and Monica, who provide the stability and experience that is so vital for the project. Claudia is back to keep on cooking, although now in the brand new kitchen that Dave and Shelagh slaved away on before Christmas. Beth’s son Gabriel will continue to work as a Monitor helping the kids on their school work. He is joined by Thais, who recently completed her teacher training course. It’s fantastic to have her as a new member of the staff as she was one of the earlier graduates from the project after spending 5 years at To Ligado. I actually remember teaching her when I first came out here as an 18 year old! Other returners include Mariana (Art) and Marina (Reinforco). Hockey continues to grow; the President of the Rio de Janeiro Hockey Club came to our staff meeting last week and brought with him a very enthusiastic, newly qualified hockey teacher. Perhaps the most exciting development is that Tom will be moving from teaching Music one day a week, to four. The goal over the next few months is to put together a To Ligado band and, at some point, perform to audiences. I think this a fantastic project in so many ways and will help keep the kids energised for their other lessons as well.
We spent all day cleaning the school today, clearing out junk, reorganizing rooms and swabbing every surface with gallons of soapy water. It was hot and tiring work but very satisfying to leave the building spick and span for Monday. Tom completely reorganised one of the old art rooms and has got all the music instruments stacked and stored away. He brought a load of brass over from England that he picked up from eBay – some beautiful old instruments including a trumpet from the 1920s. Would love to be able to tell the person who made it that it would be being played 80 years later by kids from Rio de Janeiro!
Beth recently floated a very exciting idea that pulls together a lot of what the project and VinB are already trying to do, and actually addresses some of the issues that Margaret’s post raised about favela tourism. The idea would be to bring visitors over from the UK and put together a tourist package for them in Rio. We’d sort out all the usual stuff – airport pick-up, accommodation, transport to all the sights and restaurants etc. But we could have kids from the project helping out as guides and, if they felt comfortable with it, they could show these groups a little about their lives and their communities. There’d also be the possibility of the kids putting on performances. This would tie together everything offered by the music teaching that Tom does, the English teaching that VinB volunteers do, the To Ligado community in Rio and the VinB community in England. It’s still just an idea but we would love to know what people think.