Today we had an opportunity to visit the community of Calabar. This particular community is what they call in Salvador a favela. Favela is Brazilian Portuguese for slum; and these communities are historically low-income urban areas. We visited the only school in the area, Escola Aberta, where we were met with many smiling faces of the students who attend school here.

Through the tour, we discovered that this school receives no government funding, and is only still standing due to the unwavering support of community, and the determination of its principal. The school serves to educate not only children ages 3-12, but members of the community as well. Here the students learn math, Portuguese, music, capoeira, reading, along with a multitude of other life lessons that go far beyond a classroom. A local foundation has also partnered with the school to provide dental, pediatric, and nutrition services to the students free of charge.

As I mentioned, there are other programs in the area offered to not only students, but adults as well. At the school, adult cooking classes are offered in the morning for those who aspire to become cooks or chefs; and are held by a local master chef who does the classes for free. At a nearby center, there is a police program that targets at-risk youth in the community by providing positive learning environments in other crafts such as judo and music. While visiting we did have the delightful opportunity to hear the amazing sounds of some of the music students — and even discovered the talent of one of our very own! While this trip was quick, it was certainly eye-opening to much of the topics that have been circulating through our time here, specifically race and health and the impact it has on the population.

But even in spite of this, and the enigma that I’m sure exists around concept of favelas, it was truly a beautiful thing to witness the unity and perseverance in this community. The students who attend this school and these programs are said to be bright, and more openminded than students from other areas, and are also more aware of the racial inequities that are at play around them. What I believe to be most important of all though, given the racial climate in Bahia… is that they are comfortable in their own skin.


Desejo-lhes bem


  • Gabrielle



Candomblé and Capoeira

Today we had a special lecture on Candomblé, the major afro-brazilian religion in Salvador, as well as the other major religions of Brazil. I personally thought that this lecture was very interesting because I grew up Catholic and Hindu, so I really only knew about those two religions. I learned that Candomblé is very strict and in order to be a priest/priestess there is an initiation phase, much like Catholicism. In Candomblé, it is believed that there is a deity for every follower that guides the follower.

After, we had a Capoeira lesson. Capoeira is is an afro-brazilian martial arts that also involves dance and music. To me, it seems more like a dance than a martial arts, but I can definitely see the martial arts in the dance. We were taught by Mestre Sapoti. He told us the history of how Capoeira came to be and that Capoeria is played and not fought. The idea of Capoeira is to exchange energy and to feel each other’s movements in an attempt to fight and dance.

Mestre Sapoti taught us a basic defense, attack, and flee move. After, we practiced with each other then we sparred with the experts!  I really enjoyed this lesson. I have done martial arts in the past, so this was refreshing and tons of fun. It was also very tiring. By the end of the lesson I felt like I was soaking in sweat and was out of breath. I would never give up this experience, and I am looking forward to the lesson we will have when we are in Lençóis.


Boa noite!


Oi Pelourinho!

On July 5th we travelled to Pelourinho which is the oldest part of Brazil for a historical tour. On the way to pelourinho, Simone gave us the historical background of Salvador. Salvador was the first capital until 1763 when it was moved to Brasilia. When first arriving to Paulinho, Simone told us we were in an area near political organizations such as town hall. The road we were on looked above the ocean and other houses. Michael Jackson actually’s music video for the song “They Don’t Care About Us” was filmed along the roads we were walking on. I did notice the architecture of the homes looked more modern and Simone explained to us it’s because commercial houses started becoming popular in Salvador 15 years ago. The views were beautiful as we walked closer to the museums and churches. I am typically not a fan of history but Simione made Brazilian history so enjoyable. The first stop was outside a church that provided medical care and moral help for the rich. Once a woman became a widow and didn’t have a man to take care of her, she stayed at the church til the priest found her a suitable husband. What was most interesting to me about this church was that “orphans” were dropped off here. They were not actually orphans but children that were born out of wed lock and the mother’s family forced her to give the child up. As we were walking up, we came across the first statue dedicated that was dedicated to an Afro Brazilian. Afro Brazilians were not given much acknowledgment. They fought for their freedom because they were initially brought to Brazil as slaves. The area we were touring held some of the oldest monuments in the country. The Church of Francis was one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen and the whole class was in awe. I loved the small artwork outside on the walls; every picture represented a small story or lesson. The people living in the church recently found a Jewish bath and found out practicing Jews were living in the church but had to practice in secret due to fear. The last stop at the tour was a small museum exhibiting art. My favorite part of it was the background on this model, Dona Flor. She had “two husbands.” One was the one she was married to physically but he represented the logical and boring part of her life. Her other husband lived in her head and he represented the fun and excitement she wanted. Overall today was a really fun experience filled with beautiful art, architecture, and history.

Futbol and Fireworks

Oi! My name is Ashaki “Nzingha” Hall and I am a MPH alumna of Morehouse School of Medicine. I am so excited to tell you about my second day in Salvador, Bahia!

The word of the day is: GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

Today my classmates and I watched the Brazil vs. Mexico game at a place called Porto de Barra.  Porto de Barra is a very popular, lively area of Salvador.  It is next to many shops and restaurants overlooking the sea.  It is absolutely stunning.

Today, our host moms walked us to our meeting spot where we met Dr. Stauber and Dr. Ramsey-White.  We went to some local shops and our host moms graciously helped us bargain for some Brazil jerseys for the futbol game.

My classmates and I walked towards the venue where they were showing the game on a jumbo screen and we got stuck in the rain! We were soaked! We stopped at a local restaurant and watched the first half of the game.

The rain subsided, and we finally made it to the venue.  It was so crowded! We made our way through the crowd just in time and we saw Brazil score their first goal.  Exhilarating! What a rush!  We were lucky enough to see the second goal as well. 

After the game, we made our way to our home stays and took some pictures near the beach.  It was a long walk back to our homestays and it was a great time for bonding and cohort fellowship.

Today, July 2 is Bahian Independence day.  The day celebrates the victory, specifically the battle of Pirajá of native and Afro-Brazilians against Portuguese rule.  Many gathered in Campo Grande to celebrate.  I joined my two classmates Shanila and Sujay at a local park.  There were vendors selling snacks and drinks, bands, and even a children’s choir performing.  Music and singing could be heard throughout the night. Truly an exciting day in Salvador.

I am looking forward to more adventures!



Bem-vindo a Salvador!

Bem-vindo a Salvador!

Today we went on a panoramic tour of Salvador, Bahia. At first glance, Salvador appeared to be like many other cities around the world outside of the US. However, as we continued to explore and delve deeper into the city, it became evident that Salvador is a special place. This tour was far more than the average tour you might receive as a tourist in other cities. It is so unique because Salvador’s history is so rich! I was astounded when I learned how the people of Salvador have preserved so many traditions from their African heritage. On this tour, we learned about Candomble, an official religion, which was disguised and infused into Catholicism during a time of religious persecution in the past. Some of the main gods and goddesses, called “orishas”, that comprise this religion can be found in various locations around the city. We had the opportunity to enter a house of Yemoja, goddess of the ocean. We also passed this area in the upper city where statues of the most famous orishas were located. I was in complete awe at how much Salvador’s African history has been preserved and interwoven into the city’s architecture.

The tour began in the “upper” region of Salvador, which is also a wealthy region in comparison to the “lower” part of the city. The differences between the upper and lower cities can be observed aesthetically in the architecture and how the buildings are maintained. The wealthier areas appeared to be more of a tourist hotspot in comparison to the lower part of the city.  In the lower city, life seemed more peaceful and enjoyable. People were sitting outside talking, others were dancing, and some were simply shopping at a local market. It seemed as though people really took the time to enjoy life in this area. This was a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle that was so customary in the upper city. Even so, what I’ve noticed overall is that people are generally happy in Salvador. There is a sense of joy and tranquility that blankets the city.

We ended the day by sharing a meal at Boi Pretu which was absolutely delicious! The restaurant has a buffet-style service. It’s an all you can eat restaurant with a twist. The servers bring the food to you. I was determined to be open and try new things and I am so glad that I did. We were served so many types of meat, and I was satisfied with all of them! The desserts were amazing and I left the restaurant stuffed! I recommend this place to anyone who decides to visit Salvador because I am certain they will not be disappointed.

Overall, I had an incredible day! I learned a lot about Salvador’s history and how the fusion of so many races and cultural beliefs have manifested into what we see today. I’m excited to learn more and absorb as much as I can during my stay here!


-Victoria Sanon

Vamos dançar!!-Afro Brazilian dance

Muita diversão! Today we learned Afro-Brazilian dance from instructor Denilson José Oluwafemi. He began by giving us a brief history of the Afro-Brazilian dance being derived from African dance in Angola, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Nigeria to name a few. Before we began any dance movements, Denilson stated “we dance for our health”. This statement is very impactful when thinking of dance as a part of cultures around the world. As a public health professional, I view dance as a way to increasing physical activity among those who view physical activity as a burden. There is a holistic nature to African dance focusing on the spiritual and physical. There is also an emphasis on mastering more than one art form of dance. This is the opposite of training in Western countries where focus is placed on mastering on dance form.  African dance allows for self-expression, improvising, and connecting with your body. In connecting with our bodies, each movement focused on a different area of our body as the central focus. There was purpose for each movement we were learning, whether it was elongating our back or curving our spine. Allowing your body to naturally follow the rhythm of the music are the main elements of African dance and rediscovering your body. As I lay on the stage at the end of class, taking in deep breaths, I reconnected with my body and identified the different muscles that were used to create the dance movements. At the end of class, we danced in a circle and sang in Portuguese asking God to bring peace and health to our friends. The thought of wanting good for those around you is a perfect reflection of what I have seen of the Brazilian culture since arriving in Salvador.

Hello world!

Welcome to your brand new blog at!

To get started, edit or delete this post and check out all the other options available to you.

For assistance, visit the comprehensive support site, check out the Edublogs User Guide guide or stop by The Edublogs Forums to chat with other edubloggers.

For personal support, you can attend Georgia State’s training on Edublogs or stop by The Exchange for one-on-one support.

You can also reference the free publication, The Edublogger, which is jammed with helpful tips, ideas and more.