Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween and other notes

Well, I think it's officially mosquitoes 4, Kaylea 0.

I managed to get some cream yesterday, when Adla came by unexpectedly for a brief visit. She walked down to the druggist with me and I came away with a cream that smells (and looks like) diaper rash cream in the states...it has Vitamin A, C and Zinc Oxide in it. It has helped.

Anyway, the reason the mosquito's are winning is because my right hand and legs are swollen from the bites. So Janna gave me a benadryl this morning and zonk, I was out, laying down on the bench outside. (So much for listening to the book on tape,...I slept for at least 45 minutes.)

Then instead of going to Central today to shop, Debbie suggested I take another benadryl after lunch and sleep. So I laid outside on the bench for a while, but the boys liked to see what I was doing...I went into my room and zonk...it was 5 p.m. So today's been a sleep and rest day.

The good news is that I feel better, still a bit swollen but not as red. I'm going to take 2 Advil PM's tonight (which has benadryl in it) and hopefully tomorrow will be another day.


Last night Tia (Aunt) Kaylea struck...I made (with the help of Janna) sugar cookies using the butane oven...think wood stove from pioneer days meets butane...not much regulation, other than on and off....

Anyway, we gave the boys two cookies (1/2 the batch we mixed cinnamon sugar in it to make snickerdoodles) and a spoon full (large spoon) of icing. I showed them what to do, to ice the cookies and then walked around with two colors of sprinkles "adding" to their cookies.

It was a hit. The boys were on a complete sugar high! (I'll bet the night workers hate me.) They loved it. We had icing everywhere. They even put some on Debbie's face (yes, I got a picture.)

Tonight, for Halloween, Janna's baked a cake. I'll hand out (if Debbie can find one other gift at Central today) the gifts I brought...I should have packed one extra present, because there are 20 boys now. But Debbie was going to try to find something special for the oldest boy today.

I found out as I unpacked them, that the remote controls work on EVERY car, not just the car it goes with. The youngest 6 will get these cars, and well, it should be CRAZY.

Gaye, tell mom the boys LOVED the marbles. I should have bought 2 pounds. They were playing when we got here, and Sunday, I pulled the ones I bought out...they divided them up equally, and have been playing non stop since then. The game of choice right now involves a hole dug into the sandy ground by the dining hall. It's kind of like a marbles/golf game. The object is to be the first in the hole, and to knock your opponent away from the hole. Man, they can really flick those suckers.

That's all for now. Don't worry about the bites, it's just my system reacting funky to them. It happens in Missouri, so why wouldn't it happen here. Debbie said she still plans to take me to the Hippy Fada (not sure on spelling) the outdoor market. That's why she encouraged me to rest today. Today's trip was "business" where the trip to the Hippy Fada will be fun.

And, on a side note, the flu shot I got right before coming seems to be holding off the Brazilian Croup the boys have been passing around (and we've been passing around).

Have a good evening,

Monday, October 30, 2006

Flat Stanley Reporting In #6

Bom Dia fifth graders! That’s good morning in Portuguese. Flat Stanley checking in. Yesterday was Sunday, and I spent the day with Kaylea checking out ways the boys at the orphanage spend their free time.
Guess what? They find ways to fill their time with games, just like you.
Yesterday the boys spent time playing a ton of stuff, including futebol (soccer), marmore (marbles) and natacao (swimming).
They even turned a two-liter Coca-Cola bottle into a punching bag using rope, sand and water.
How did you spend your Sunday? Did you play games? Did you read?
Taking pictures of the boys playing all those games made me cansado (tired), so I laid down on a bench underneath the coconut trees and took a soneca (nap). Ahhh!
Well, this is just a short note. I’ll write more soon!
Until posterior (later), your pal
Flat Stanley

The boys in the orphanage love to play with marbles.

They turned an old Coca-Cola bottle into a punching bag using sand, water and rope.

Playing futebol under the coconut trees. Check out his feet--they play the game without shoes. They must have strong toes!

Having fun at the pool.

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog #9

“Americano! Foto! Foto!” is the cry I hear as the children see my camera. I’ve tried to take some photos without their knowledge, but let’s face it, just being an American in the more rural, non-touristy neighborhoods, means I stick out like a sore thumb.
Even as we spread the word about the one-evening Bible school, the fact that Americanos would be there brought many of this children and adults into the church.
With the photos, most want to pose and have me take their pictures. They immediately want me to show them the back of my camera.
Fortunately, my digital camera lets me give them instant gratification. Then they are off, to pose for more pictures--which of course, I am happy to take. It’s fun and it begins to chip away at the language barrier. Smiles, hugs and photos seem to be the same regardless of the language spoken.
Saturday during the Bible school was really the first chance I’ve had to interact with some of the local women. Several tugged on my sleeve and asked me to take pictures of them with their children. I wonder if it is one of the first time they have had a “family” picture taken.
It makes me want to fill up the three memory cards and 20 discs I brought with photos of everyone one I meet and then find a way to get prints made.
Americans love photos, and entire industries have developed because of our love of photography and scrap booking.
It’s yet another thing we take for granted, the ability to document our families for the current and future generations.


Photos one, two and four are mothers who asked me to take photos of their children. I also took photos of them interacting with the children. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

Photo three - Three of the boys who are becoming my favorites of the ones who hang out at the orphanage gate. They are truly not camera shy. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog #8

Bible School is over. Trying to organize an event for more than 100 children and adults, with very little help and only two good translators and one medium translator is as the boys put it “just crazy.” Actually it was quite fun, but I’m glad it’s over.
I’ve already told about our pre-planning, which included the trip to Maceio for supplies. Saturday morning we made up 100 treat bags with two pieces of bubble gum, two small lollypops, a snack bag of Brazilian pretzels, two chocolate cookies, a peanut butter “Mindy” (kind of like a small piece of dehydrated peanut butter) and a piece of chocolate.
For a snack during the event, we gave out a bag of Brazilian popcorn (it looks like lightly flavored cheese balls) and a juice box.
The children and adults, for that matter, were thrilled to get the snack. Most American kids would have said “is this all?”
As the children left, we handed out the treat bags. The adults were given bags, each containing a package of beans and a package of rice.
For the price of $4 in the U.S., we gave the adults what may feed their family for at least one, maybe two to three meals--depending on how they stretch the food. It makes me realize how much we, in America, take food for granted. I waste more food than this, just in leftovers I decide I “don’t want.” There is no such thing as “unwanted leftovers” here. Everything is used up.
As we were finishing up, and loading the Kombie with supplies, two of my favorite “gate kids” came up asking for “cappies”--the kids love American ball caps (or trucker caps as they are now known).
I gave the two brothers and the little girl each a sack of beans and rice to take home. They were thrilled to get the extra food.
I know we have hunger in America. Food pantries and other ministries are growing because of the need. Somehow, it’s more “hidden.” It seems like you can’t go anywhere in Brazil without seeing a hungry child or another need.
Maybe we wouldn’t take food for granted if we saw the need in the U.S. on a daily basis.

Cutlines for day 8

Debbie Mayberry begins to assemble treat bags for Saturday's Bible school at the Forest Park igreja (church). Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Adla and Janete Hailey talk with the children and lead them in songs at the start of Saturday's Bible School. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Children fill the wooden pews in the church built by members of Forest Park Baptist Church, Joplin. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

One of the neighborhood children who took part in Saturday's Bible School. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just a few notes

For the record, the mosquitoes may be winning the battles, but I will win the war!
I woke up with more bites, this time along the knuckles of my right hand (yep, I’m right-handed) and my legs, from below the knee caps to my ankles.
I thought keeping the windows closed, with the exception of the bathroom, and just using fans at night would help. Nope. Obviously, I have some fresh “wounds” in this never ending battle.
But I will win. I have faith and a can of “Deep woods Off” as my weapon of choice. I’ve closed every possible mosquito entrance to my room and sprayed the entire room with Off. I may not be able to be inside all day, but hopefully it will kill any still lingering in the room. Tonight, I’ll spray the bed and sheet I use to see if that helps. (I’ll be honest with you…there’s not many spots left on my arms and legs without bites. The locals just look at me, say “mosquitoes?” and shake their heads.
I’m falling in love with Brazilian coffee. Although, I have to tell you, they like it STRONG! This morning it’s not quite as strong, but I mixed it with hot milk and sugar.
I watched Ceta make it yesterday. First she boils a large pot of water, then she pours in two heaping (serving size) spoons of coffee into it. Then she mixed in two heaping spoons of sugar.
After it boiled for a while, she put a strainer (which looks like a piece of t-shirt material attached to a metal ring with a handle) into a second pot. Then she poured the coffee mixture through the strainer, catching all of the grounds in the fabric. It’s quite a process.
The coffee tastes like a triple shot espresso. It makes my favorite latte look like a sissy drink.
The boys are total camera hogs. They love it when I take their pictures. Yesterday, I snapped a few of them playing in the pool. They figured out if we timed it just right, my camera will catch them in mid-air. Several had fun jumping in the pool making faces and other actions as I snapped away.
It’s Sunday morning, about 8:32 a.m. (I woke up at 7 to the bread man ringing the bell at the gate…he needed to make a delivery). After a cup of Brazilian coffee, I’m awake. I’ve put a load in the washing machine (of course, the directions are in Portuguese) and hopefully, will be able to hang my clothes to dry soon. (I checked a bit ago…I didn’t put too much soap into the machine. I was afraid I would have soap suds overflowing the sides).
I’m feeling really rested here. Journaling more than I have in years, and sleeping at least 8 hours each evening. It makes me realize how frantic my life has become working at the newspaper. I need to cut out some things, so I can journal more and take time for reflection.
It’s also been more than a week since I’ve used a phone or sat down to watch television. You know, you have time to do lots more things when you “unplug” from the world. I can live without knowing what happened in the news and watching the latest show on TV.
Oh well, enough Sunday morning reflections. I’m going to go check on the laundry again and then read.

Bible School & other notes

Well, it's 7:45 p.m., and we are back at the chacara.
Bible School is official over.
Thank God we had an awesome translator Adla, who saved the day numerous times.
I'll write more later, but the gist of it is this...we made 100 candy/treat bags this morning, managed to feed everyone a juice box and bag of Brazilian popcorn, and give all of the parents (and a few older children we know) bags with beans and rice.

I've never been kissed so much in my life. Brazilians are very affectionate people.

I can also say, drum roll please...I've driven a Kombi (Volkswagon mini bus/van) in Brazil.

Janete and I drove around the neighborhood, so she could get a key to the church, and every time we saw a child or adult, we would stop, so Janete could spread the word about our 1 day Bible School. She said "come see the Americanos", when we finished, she told me "I used you for propaganda." The Bible School was good, but coming to something with Americanos was "the icing" I guess.

Anyway, we had a great turnout, and I got some awesome pics. I'll write more about it, and post pics (well, that will happen when I get to an internet cafe).

In the meantime, have a good weekend. I'm going to sign off so Debbie can check her e-mail.

I've also posted my "Flat Stanley" notes, that I've been sending to the 5th grade class in Joplin, so you can see some other aspects of Brazil. For some reason, they posted out of order, but I am letting it go....Debbie's encouraging me in the corner to let it be....it just doesn't matter if this blog is perfect.
(See a little type A coming out)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Flat Stanley #5 - A trip to the Hiper Mart

Oi my Americano (American) friends! Flat Stanley here. On Friday, I went shopping at the Hiper Mart outside of Maceio. It’s a big store. As you walk into the building, the front of the store has been turned into a small “mini-mall” of really fancy clothes and other items you can buy. I even saw some really fancy chocolates! The items are really too expensive for most Brazilians I’m hanging out with, but it was fun to “window shop.”

The front of the store also has a row of small restaurants, kind of like the food court at Northpark Mall. My friends (Janna, Debbie and Kaylea) and I had a chance to try a Brazilian sandwich. Kaylea ate a sandwich that was kind of like a pizza sub made out of lunch meat and cheese. Janna and Debbie ate cheese sandwiches made from croissants.

I had fun exploring Hiper Mart with Kaylea. We saw lots of neat things, including Portuguese versions of some of the “bestsellers” in America, including The DaVinci Code and The Devil Wears Prada. It was fun to see “English” books with Portuguese titles printed on the front covers.

One thing that’s different at Hiper Mart is the meat counter. It is kind of like an old fashioned meat store, where everything is right out in the open. It does smell, but I guess you get used to it.

We found some sorvetes (ice cream) to make a treat for the boys, and bought some pineapple and other things for supper.

Well I better go, Kaylea and Debbie are going to put me to work making treat bags for a program we’re having tonight at the church. We need to make at least 100 bags for the children who will attend. Each bag will include some gum and other candies.

Chow (a typical goodbye in Brazil)
Flat Stanley

Photo information

Two views of the Hiper Mart store.

The cover of Dan Brown's book "The DaVinci Code" in Portugese could be found among the books at the Hiper Mart.

Fika Frio Sorvetes or Fika Frio ice cream at the Hiper Mart.

Flat Stanley #4 ice cream and laundry

Oi everyone, how’s it going. Flat Stanley here, sending you another e-mail from Brazil. Do you like getting my messages? I hope so. I’m having a lot of fun finding neat things to talk about.

Last night, my friends Debbie, Janna and Kaylea put together an “ice cream party” for the boys at the orphanage. We found some vanilla ice cream or vanilla sorvetes at the Hiper Mart.

Guess what, Hiper Mart is owned by Wal-Mart. So shopping there was a bit like being at home, but of course, all of the signs were in Portuguese.

Anyway, we dished up the ice cream so everyone got a scoop of vanilla, strawberry topping and a cookie. They loved it. By the time we served it, some of the first bowls were a bit melty, but the boys didn’t care, getting to have sorvete is a HUGE treat. It sure looked good after they finished their supper, cold potatoes and scrambled eggs.

This morning, I got up at 6 a.m. (because the sun comes up at 4:30 a.m.) and found some of my new friends doing their morning chores. Do you have chores? What do you do before breakfast?

My friends were washing their clothes. I’m sending a couple of pictures from this, so you can see what I mean. They weren’t using a washing machine, instead they hand-wash everything using a bar of soap. One of their sinks looks like an old fashioned wash board, with ridges built into the bowl. They scrub their clothes using that sink, then rinse them out in the regular sink.

Then they hang their clothes out to dry on lines in the back yard. Do you do your own laundry? What do you think about washing your clothes before breakfast? I even got to help one friend hang his clothes up.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll write another letter describing my trip to the Hiper Mart.

Until later,
Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley #3

Flat Stanley Reporting In

Oi fifth graders! Como vai? (How are you?) Bom (Good) I hope! I keep learning more and more Portuguese. Good thing my traveling partner, Kaylea, bought a dictionary in Sao Paulo. We’ve used it a lot here at the boy’s orphanage in Maceio, Brazil.

What have you been up to? I got up at 5:30 a.m. this morning (that’s 3:30 a.m. Joplin time) because the birds were singing and the sun was way up in the sky. The sun rises at 4:30 a.m. each morning, and sets at about 6 p.m. It gets dark here really fast.

There’s not much to do here at night, so we go to bed by 8 p.m. Last night we ate the shrimp we bought at the fresh fish market.

The market was on the beach, and you went up to the counter and bought shrimp laying in bowls of ice. The jumbo shrimp still had their heads on them. It was really different than our markets in the United States. They also sold fresh fish, that looked like they were just pulled from the ocean. What a change from the fish sticks they sometimes serve in the cafeteria at school.

I’m learning lots about Brazil. I hope to go shopping soon, and see what it’s like in a Brazilian store. I think we are also going to check out the open air market.

I’m sending back pictures from the fresh fish market (wait until you see how big the shrimp was), a picture of me with some of my new friends at the orphanage, and a picture of my new friend Clarence. He’s 93 years old and still traveling to places like Maceio, Brazil, to help children. (You’ll be able to read more about him in Kaylea’s story on JoplinDaily.com).

I’ll try to write again tomorrow, if not, I’ll send you some notes and pictures this weekend.

Your friend

Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley #2

Hey, Flat Stanley and Kaylea reporting in.

I went to visit Maceio and saw large cargo ships along the Atlantic coastline. They tell me that Maceio is the third largest sugar export port in the world.

The warehouses in the Port of Maceio contain more than 1 million tons of brown sugar (it still needs to be refined). It's enough sugar to load cargo ships for six months without resocking. Around Maceio, there are more than 300,000 acres of sugar cane waiting to be harvested.

Brazilians love sugar...even the Coke Cola I tried tastes sweeter.
Yesterday, my friend Janete, who helps run the orphanage I'm staying at let me try sugared nuts...kind of a peanut covered in a sugar coating, and a cookie that tasted like it was sugar full of air.

I'm going to post a few pictures of me hanging out at the airline and looking at a coconut tree...I wish I could climb them like the boys here. They just run up the tree like it's nothing to it.

I'll have Kaylea send you some of those pictures soon. In the meantime, have a good day!

Flat Stanley picture info
Me waiting at the TAM (Brazilian airlines) sign, in the Miami International Airport for our flight to Sao Paulo

Look, I'm as tall as a coconut tree. Just kidding, I'm standing on the balcony in front of my room at the orphanage. The building is surrounded by coconuts. I think we're having fresh coconut for lunch!

The sky and ground (of San Pablo) is seperated by the clouds as we took off for on the last leg of our flight to Maceio.

The sugar boats loading raw sugar at the Port of Maceio. Maceio is the third largest exporter of sugar in the world.

Flat Stanley Reporting In #1

By Flat Stanley
Oi [oh-ee] (that’s hi in Portuguese), Flat Stanley reporting in with the help of my pal, Kaylea Hutson from Maceio, Brazil.
When we left Joplin, it was cold and rainy. Here in Brazil, the temperature is in the 70s and 80s, with sunshine.
Maceio is located on the Atlantic Ocean, in the state of Alagoas. It sits on a jagged peninsula between the Lagoa Mundau and the ocean—I hope I’ll get to see the ocean before I come back to Missouri.
I’m learning to say a few words in Portuguese—which is kind of like a mixture of Spanish and French.
They say I have a sotaque [soh-tah-kee], an accent, when I try out the new words.
Hopefully, I’ll get to learn how to play futebol [joo-chee-bah-ohh] or what we know as soccer.
The boys at the orphanage play it a lot, and I want to take some lessons from them—so wish me boa sorte [boh-ah soh-chee] good luck, because I think I’ll need it.
I’ll write more about my adventures later this week.
To my pals in Patty Meintel's fifth grade class at Emerson Elementary, [and anyone else] you can send me notes through Kaylea at kaytebug2002@yahoo.com. She promises to check her e-mail for me.
Hopefully I’ll learn how to falar [fah-lah] to speak or to talk a few more Portugese words before my next message.

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog #7

A treat for many Brazilians is a chance to go eat at a Churrascaria Rodizio, roughly translated a barbeque restaurant.

But unlike barbeque restaurants in the United States, this restaurant does not cook its mean in a heavy sauce. Instead, the meat is cooked in large, open front ovens on metal skewers.

Servers come out balancing a metal plate, skewer and knife. They stop at the table, giving everyone at it a chance to sample the meat. Some feature pork, carne de porco, others carne de vaca or beef. One Brazilian favorite is the skewer that comes with freshly grilled chicken hearts.

In addition to the meat, restaurant patrons can sample a variety of salads and side dishes, including mashed potatoes and French Fries or batatas fritas.

The bill for the meal came to $15 Real or about $7.50 in U.S. currency--quite cheep for us, but definitely a treat for Brazilians.

As we entered the restaurant, right inside the doorway is a sink with soap and paper towels. Most patrons stopped there first to wash their hands before entering the dining area.

Another difference from many American restaurants, the Churrascaria had two televisions playing the evening’s telenovela or soap opera. Other than the movies the boys watch at the orphanage (like Shreck) which are in Portuguese, it was my first real chance to see Brazilian television.

Cutlines for Day 7

The sign outside of the Churrascaria Rodizio shows off one of its featured dishes, a cut of Braham which comes from the hump on its back. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Bob Arnce holds out his tongs for a slice of meat from our server. The server brings a variety of meats out to the table as they are prepared in the kitchen. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

The big oven, at the Churrascaria Rodizio which grills the meat. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

The hand washing station for restaurant patrons at the front of the Churrascaria Rodizio. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog #6

(I hope to upload the pics by Monday)
There is no typical day in Brazil. Everyday starts the same, the sun comes up at 4:30 a.m. and sets by 5:30 p.m. But in the middle, well, everything moves at a different pace than you might expect.

Some mornings start with local children hanging out near the gate of the Chacara hoping some Americano will give them a treat. Finding children as young as two at the gate is a common experience. Most are early to mid elementary age. A few are older.

We try not to give things right at the gate, because once word gets out, the numbers rapidly multiply. Instead, we give things out as we walk up and down the road, going to the small store or on the steps of the church built by Forest Park Baptist Church members.

Some of the older children at the gate, and the boys living at the orphanage, want to practice their English with Americanos. One of my newest friends, Alan, likes to point out items and teach me the words in Portuguese. Then I repeat the name of the item in English. It’s slow, but it’s a fun way to learn a difficult language.

Each day is different, because other than meal times, you never know what may come through the gate. Take Friday morning for example. As I sat down to journal, in drove a small car of Federal Police. I’ll admit, it’s not a common sight, and several of us wondered what might be up--until we saw Janete’s brother climb out of the car. He just wanted to visit his sister and daughter.

Before he left, the four officers posed for pictures for the Americano journalista. One even made sure his bullet-proof vest and hat were on just right.

Later in the morning, Debbie, Janna and I needed to go to town to purchase supplies for Saturday’s family event at the church built by Forest Park --it’s just down the street. What might have been a short errand in America, took five and a half hours to complete. I said it in a previous blog, nothing is simple here and a trip to town includes numerous stops.

You never know what you might find in Maceio. We stopped at the equivalent of an “everything’s a dollar” store in America. Except here, everything is $1.25 in Brazilian money. I guess they had to raise their prices, even though the sign still says $1 Real.

The streets are also lined with a variety of signs and vendors. On one corner, we found someone had lined the sidewalk with shoes and purses for sale. Another street in the city was lined on both sides with numerous stalls offering everything from fresh fruit to kitchen utensils.

As we drove through the stalls, people continued to walk in the street. We literally crawled through the human traffic until we eventually got to the next intersection.

To buy candy and other treats in bulk, we went to a Tabuleiro store. There we found boxes and bags of a variety of treats including the Brazilian version of popcorn.

It’s also fun to “people watch” as you ride through the city. At one corner, while our driver was running an errand, we saw a group of older men playing dominos. At other places we saw children playing outside and riding bicycles.

Life moves at a different pace in Brazil. For Ameicans, it takes some getting used to. If you learn to “go with the flow” it’s not bad.

Cutlines for day 6

Two local boys peer though the coconut tree leaves while sitting on the wall opposite of the orphanage early one morning. Neighborhood children like to hang out at the orphanage’s gate hoping for treat. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Members of the federal military police take time to pose for a picture before leaving the boys’ orphanage compound. One of the men is the brother of Janete Hailey, one of the executive directors at the orphanage. He stopped buy while on duty to say hi to his sister and niece, who also works at the orphanage. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

The view of the street vendors, taken from the driver’s side window. People and vendors literally fill the street. Drivers simply have to be patient and weave through the human traffic. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Older men play a game of dominos at one street corner in Maceio. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Here's how I spent my Friday

First off, I'm tired. I could write about going to the Hiper Mart for the first time, or a typical day in Brazil (there aren't any typical days), or even buying things at the candy store (has another name, but I need to check the spelling), but after a 5-plus hour trip to Maceio, I'm tired.

Nothing is simple here, today's trip to Maceio for Bible school supplies went like this:

1) Dropping off the air compressor the team from LA/Texas rented earlier this week.

2) Dropping off a chair at Janete's parents' house (I did get a neat pic of older men playing dominos on the side of the street)

3) Trying to get to the candy store (via several detours) to buy treats for the boys at the orphanage and for Bible School...it took a while, but we finally made it and found a parking place.

4) Stopping first at the Everything's a Real (well acually 1.25 Real (or about 65 cents in us currency) (I found a few fun treats for a few of my younger friends...a portugese cinderella coloring book, etc.

5) Going to the Tabularo(how it sounds, not sure of spelling) or the candy/treat store to buy stuff in bulk...I found some Brazilian chocolates for a few gifts and bought gelatin bars (look like our freeze pops) for the boys--a supriso for later this week.

6) Going to another Everything is a Real store to look for dominos and cards for the boys.

7) Going to Hiper Mart (Good old Wal-Mart in Brazil) ...eating lunch at a sandwich shop in the mini-mall before you go into the main store, then shopping. We bought ice cream and other treats....and a few food staples...so it's not beans and rice every meal.

8) Finally coming home more than 5 hrs later. Anyone else tired?

I'm sitting in Greg's office, with the lights off, and well, it's getting too dark to type...it's 5:45 p.m. so I'll sign off now.

I need to process a few things I've seen, and well, try to figure out what I think. It's hard when you see kids hungry on the street, to purchase something as a "treat" for you.

We bought ice cream, to share with the boys, just the "regular" brand...then I saw a case of Hagan-Das (sp?) it was 17.5 real (or about 8.50 us) for a Pint. I kept thinking that's a horrible price, how can anyone here afford it. I was thinking of everything else we could buy for that price...fresh fruit, meat, eggs, etc.

I'll write more this weekend, about the trip to Maceio, life in general, etc.
For now, know that we're all doing ok here. Debbie's got a bit of a cold, but we found some medicine for her. Janna's doing well, and Bob is "Bobby" to all of the children here. They love him.

Life is good. God is good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog #5

Ask Clarence Willie Griffith of Dallas, Texas how old he is, and you might be in for a surprise. He jokes that he is 93 years old and holding.

He’ll even whip out his driver’s license to prove he’s telling the truth--making sure to note that he’ll be 94 in March.

His age doesn’t stop him from traveling and working on a variety of in state and international mission trips. In fact, this trip to Maceio marks Griffith’s 42 international mission trip since the mid-1980s.

His first trip in 1985 took him to the island of Barbados. Six months later, after the International Missions Board for the Baptist Church “got his name in the computer” Griffith was asked to travel to the Philippines.

“I fell in love with volunteer missions,” Griffith said. “This is what I do.
“We help these people. We have so much [to give].”

Griffith said even before he became involved with volunteer mission trips, he knew he wanted to give something back to the Lord.--An idea which began to form in his mind as a teenager.

In 1929, his family moved to Dallas, Texas. As a ninth grader, Griffith spent a summer working as an electrician’s helper--working 10 hours a day, six days a week for $9 or roughly .15 cents per hour. By today’s standards, Griffith’s pay was terrible, but during the depression it helped him support his parents and siblings.

“I was born to a very religious mother and dad,” Griffith said. “They taught us to love the Lord.
“I promised the Lord if I could make money, I would take the Lord on as a partner in business.”

With that in mind, Griffith began to lay a foundation for his life. After serving in both the World War II and Korean Wars as a master electrician, he returned to Texas and purchased Anchor Electric Company. He later renamed the business Griffith Electrical Service and operated it until 1980.

“When I made money, we [me and the Lord] both made money,” Griffith said. “The more money I tithed, the more I was given. I didn’t give to make money, but gave out of love.”

In the last calendar year, Griffith traveled to Russia, Romania and twice to Brazil. This recent trip marks his 15th visit to Brazil.

“This is a beautiful country and these are beautiful people,” he said.

Griffith’s travels have served as a model for his son, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His son, David, went to Russia last year on his first mission trip.

“He told me, ‘now I see why you are so happy when you are planning a mission trip or on a mission trip,’” Griffith said.

Griffith said he plans to continue to travel “until the good Lord takes me home.” He maintains an active lifestyle, watches what he eats and follows his doctor’s advice.

“I don’t intend to retire from missions,” Griffith said. “It makes me feel so much better to help people. I’m happy. The Lord has given me good health. I would rather be doing this than live in an assisted living nursing home.”

Cutlines for day 5

Clarence Griffith, from Dallas, Texas, (right) helps Major Garnsworth from College Station, Texas, repair a chair during their stay at the International Christian Children's Home orphanage in Maceio, Brazil. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Clarence Griffith with some of the boys he helps during his stay in Maceio Brazil. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

Clarence Griffith working on a clothes closet during his stay at the boy's orphanage in Maceio. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com.

One of the finished clothes closets placed inside a room of the boy's dormatory. The closets were built using monies donated in memory of Mark Mayberry of Joplin. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Personal note and such

So, I'm posting the blogs, I also am trying to send to JoplinDaily.com. Internet is slow here, kind of like the pace of life. I can upload text at the orphanage, but photos, well, that's another story.

I'll have them ready and upload them when I go to the cafe the next time.

Things are good. We're trying to find out if I can post pics of the boys as a journalista (journalist). Hopefully we'll get a call out to an attorney, to find out...but again, things move slow here, and well, I'm not holding my breath.

I understand why the government is leary about posting their pics on the web, they don't want them to be exploited.

Well, off to spend the day with the boys and interview a 93 yr old Texas man who's here with the work group. Clarence is a hoot, and I can't wait to hear more about his story.

I also hear we're going to tye-dye shirts with the boys...we'll see if my hands turn different colors.

Well, off I go...with my mosquito bitten arms! (They like my shower gel...should have brought Ivory, with no sent.)

I am learning a lot here, a lot about myself and about life in general. Things that seemed important in America, well, just don't here.

Destination Brazil: Travel Blog Entry #4

In a service which blended two cultures and languages, American and Brazilian friends of Mark Mayberry gathered at the boys orphanage in Maceio, Brazil to dedicate a building in his honor.
It was all part of an effort to remember the Joplin man, who died in May. Through an interpreter, speakers talked about Mayberry and the legacy he established with his desire to help the children of Brazil.
The service, set under the evening sky, took place in the courtyard in front of the newly named “Mayberry House.” Leaders opened by singing “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus Loves Me” in a mixture of English and Brazilian languages.
Wayne Wood, president of the board which operates the orphanage, opened the service with two Bible passages, Philippians 1:21 and 2:3 which, he said, “spells out exactly” Mayberry’s life.
“He was a precious friend to all of us,” Wood said. “He was a great friend in the work that we do.”
The passage from Philippians 1:21 talks about living in Jesus, while the passage from 2:3 talks about living a life free of selfishness and with humility.
“Mark went to be with the Lord,” Wood said, “But the impression he made in this country, is a great blessing to all of us.
“Those of us who knew Mark, know that up until the very last moment, he continued to serve Jesus Christ. He was one of the most unselfish persons I’ve ever known.”
Wood said he counted it a privilege to have known Maybery.
“It [our friendship] was a special blessing, he was a special friend,” Wood said.
Bob Arnce, Joplin, also spoke about his friendship with Mayberry.
“I thank God for causing our paths to cross,” Arnce said. “It is indeed an honor to stand here and speak of Mark, and give testimony of his faithfulness.”
Arnce said he and Mayberry often roomed together on mission trips. The pair would close their late night discussions with a passage from Psalms.
“I want to quote a special Psalm tonight, because I sense Mark’s presence here,” Arnce said. “This passage describes his life.”
Arnce read from Psalm 1, which talks about the character of someone who follows God and lets their roots grow deep, like a tree planted by water.
“I thank God for Mark Mayberry, for his inspiration and the example he passed on to me,” Arnce continued.
The service also included a time where volunteers read Bible passages and those gathered responded “For the cause of Christ in working with children and in the memory of Mark Mayberry, we dedicate this building.”
“Tonight this service is about dedicating a building to these children and dedicating it in the name of Mark Mayberry because of his interest in this place,” Wood said.
The service concluded with a prayer of dedication, spoken in Portuguese by Pastor Jonas and an interpretive dance performed by young women representing a church in Nascente.

Cutlines for Day 4

American and Brazilian friends of a variety of ages gather in the orphanage courtyard to pay tribute to the late-Mark Mayberry of Joplin. The group gathered on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to dedicate Mayberry House at the orphanage. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Bob Arnce, Joplin, talks about his friendship with Mark Mayberry, while his translator, Erica, repeats his words in Portugese during the dedication service for Mayberry House. The building will be used as a guest residence for people coming to work on the orphanage and surrounding churches. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Brother Jonas, a pastor from a nearby church, provides the dedication prayer for Mayberry House. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com

Dancers from the church in Nascente perform a worship dance during the service honoring Mark Mayberry's committment to the children of Maceio and Brazil. Kaylea Hutson | JoplinDaily.com
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