Oi ! Tudo bem? These words have become a daily greeting to everyone I encounter here in Salvador. After two weeks of constantly hearing and attempting to speak Portuguese, I think I’m actually becoming understandable.
Over the weekend, three people from our group traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We had a schedule packed with activities including walking the ocean shore in Ipanema, riding a train to the top of Corcovodo mountain to seeing Christ the Redeemer and capturing spectacular scenery along Rio’s shorelines and hillsides. It was paradise! Rio is truly a beautiful place full of tourist and native people from all over the world
Salvador’s culture is very different compared to Rio de Janeiro’s.
Today, we had the opportunity to hear from PhD students from the Institute of Collective Health at the Federal University of Bahia about their research on various topics. The presentations were about emerging topics in Collective Health such as Dengue, Zika, Asthma and Rotavirus. Currently in Salvador, there is an outbreak of the Zika virus that is gaining attention from the municipal health system. It’s interesting to see current research being conducted to help understand and gain knowledge but most importantly how to help out the communities being affected by these outbreaks in Brazil.
Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP) is a law enforcement policy in favelas that reclaims territories that were once controlled by drug gangs. Calabar was the second favela established on the outskirts of Salvador. It is one of the poorest communities and established a UPP back in 2011 to empower the community through social programs. We had an opportunity to visit the Escola Aberta in Calabar. This school helps empower and strengthens its Afro-Brazilian identity while opening doors to knowledge.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. I’ve been exposed to different cultures and Salvador is no exception. We’ve all created memories together and with our host families. We have been able to experience the culture first hand but most importantly we’ve gained so much. It will definitely be hard to say goodbye to friends and families we’ve gained here. It will be a bittersweet moment for all of us.