The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Nya Patton.
It was a regular Friday morning and we were headed into the nearest town, which happened to be around 40 minutes from our center in the rainforest. Once we arrived many of the volunteers split up to take care of our various errands. I walked towards the Super-Mercado (The Super-Market) to buy some local mangoes, and a young girl walked up to me to ask me my name and where I was from. I guess it was obvious to her that I was a foreigner. She asked, with much enthusiasm, if on Monday I could come to her elementary school in Belisario. I promised her to ask my director and that I would try my best to be there! After many conversations between my director and her teacher/school administration, we were approved for the English lesson and many other volunteers joined to teach the class. Once Monday came around, we all piled into our director’s car and drove an hour away to get to the school, passing by the many beautiful mountains and fragments of forest that my organization is working to expand. We arrived at the school and led an interactive lecture on the ABC’s, the colors, the parts of the body, and various verbs. The kids happily joined us in singing the ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ song and then proceeded to teach us the Portuguese version! We all shared some of our favorite foods, activities, and colors, and then taught the class the syntax to share their favorites with us. It was honestly one of the most fulfilling moments of my November, seeing them so enthusiastic to learn, and so willing to share their culture with us, served as a big reminder of why I am in Brazil- a cultural and perspective exchange. As my time in Brazil is coming to an end, these moments become increasingly important to me and I am grateful to use writing to reflect on them and their impact on my broader understanding of this world.