Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rio and Belem: All in a Day's Work

Bom noite! My first few days have been very eventful. From the best sleep deprivation of my life to travelling from city to beach to city, it already feels like I have had the trip of a lifetime. It is unfathomable to know that I still have over two months to spend in this wonderful country. I am forever grateful to everyone who made and continues to make this happen. Everyone talks about how differently time is used in the United States versus South America. Knowing how it is in Nigeria, I had no doubts about this, but I still managed to take it for granted. It was not until I needed people to be on, so called, “time” as we perceive it in the US, that I really took this for what it is. Nothing like a seemably empty airport when you need to get the baggage that you forgot at the international baggage claim and have no way to get it for the next two hours. Yep, that’s right, they get a two hour lunch break. Now I   had two opposing thoughts and emotions running through my head. My first thought was that is a ridiculously long break. I need help, por favor! My second thought was “How to I apply?”. In spite of all of this, I quickly realized how patient and helping the majority of the people of Brazil generally are. While Ketan (who is now my designated translator) and I were aimlessly wandering around the airport looking for someone who would understand our (mainly his) variation of Portuguese, we stumbled into the one guy, Edson, who spoke perfect English. He quickly realized that we are American after hearing only a few words of our horrible (mainly mine) Portuguese. He stayed with us for over an hour helping us to get our luggage, get a stellar exchange rate for our money, helping us store our luggage elsewhere until our rescheduled flight later that night, and directing us to the hottest spot in Rio de Janiero, Copacabana. We will see Edson when we return for the Olympic Games where we all drink and be merry. Saude! From this point we saw some beautiful sights on the way there and of course at the actual destination.

This same kindness has been shown to us here in Belem with no interruptions. The people truly care and go above and beyond to help. I can honestly say that if it were not for these kind people, I would be lost in a pavella somewhere doing cheap labor. The beauty of the city is truly reflected in its people. I look forward to diving deeper into this city and also, seeing what the findings of our research has to offer.

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