ACM Morro Santana... Day 3

A day of contrasts, that amply describes yesterday.  The constant rain did not dampen spirits or change hearts.  But the day might have.  As I watched one of the girls looking out a window, staring at the sight of what the staff call "the invasion", I wondered if she felt the same sense of desolation and sadness that I had at the sight.  If she realized the absolute luxury that we enjoy in the USA, even in some of our poorest areas.

We were at the social during the day, our goal was to interact with the Brazilian kids and get to know their joys and challenges.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had previously had a few conversations with others that had already been to Brazil, I knew their thoughts.  I was still not expecting what awaited us.  In the USA we refer to our "challenged neighborhoods", to ghetto's, and the abject poverty that we have all around us.  I will never again be able to see our poverty in the same way.  Never will I understand how the kid on the street, getting into trouble because they are bored, while dressed in nice clothing, carrying a cell phone and often contraband cigarettes (to be cool) is even remotely aware of what true poverty is.  It was life altering to see.





Tucked in what appeared to be the heart of this city in a city was the small ACM Morro Santana, fully engaged in changing these kids lives.  Making a difference every day.  Feeding up to 140 kids a day, providing them with sports, educational assistance, music, art, and technology  opportunities to stretch beyond their humble homes.  The chance to have someone believe in them and help them achieve whatever greatness they wanted for find in themselves.

We learned that through their programs there where 4 children and the Instructor that were Hapkido world champion.  That the kids from that ACM had acutally had the opportunity to go to Rio to see the World Cup and participate in a Football tournament of their own.

Even more amazing to me was the pure joy and love that was observed in all of the staff and children.  Inside those gates, guarded at all times, it was a safe, warm loving environment.  It was powerful and amazing!

Before having lunch at the ACM we went to their inside area for the teens to try their hand, foot, in some cases heads at Hapkido... Must say we have a few I would not want to meet in a dark alley.  I was so proud of our teens, their willingness to go the extra mile and give it their best.  Through much laughter and sillies they learned some new skills....
















Lunch was very tasty and well balanced, the same thing the kids would eat when they arrived a bit later. With the exception of the grape juice served in a delightfully interesting bottle... Del Monte could learn a bit about presentation...







After lunch the kids arrive... I wish I had pictures to share, my phone died.  That was so amazing.  To watch our youth interact with these kids and using their phones and Google translate to communicate.  Sharing pictures and helping the kids learn English, while the kids helped them learn Portuguese. 

The evening wrapped up with a walk in the pouring rain and the chance to meet the Board of the Rio Grande Do Sol.  It was wondeful! So informative and interesting.  Again our teens represented us so beautifully, engaging in conversation and laughter with each new person they met. 






A quick trip by car back to the Hostel and another day had ended.  Today will find us heading back to ACM Morro Santana for Festa Juliana... I will have pictures... 

Hopefully there will no scary messages from home, I was so worried last night 6000 miles away is too far to be worrying about someone that is ill... 

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