Today is our second day in Lençois and our tenth full day into the study abroad program. It’s hard to describe all of the amazing people we have met, the beautiful places we have seen and the wonderful things we have experienced during our trip thus far. And it is really easy to get entangled with trying to update my family on everything that I am experiencing here. While trying to capture all these precious moments, I find myself struggling to find my camera so that I can create something tangible to hold onto these memories. But not today. Well, at least, not so much. I decided to be in the moment…to experience everything as it is in real time, undisturbed.
I appreciated the beauty of the cavern, from the colors in each sedimentary layer to the millions of years worth of history each stalagtite and stalagmite represented. I appreciated the cool breezes and the tiny raindrops that kissed my forehead. I, especially, appreciated the food that was prepared and the fresh water that was available for me to nourish my body. I greeted each new person I met today with a smile and showed my gratefulness to the guide who kept me from falling in the cave.
The cave was the first event on a list of things to do for the day. We met the director of Grãos de Luz e Griô, an NGO located in Lençois dedicated to educating children and teens. We were greeted with drums and singing and encouraged to sing as well. We sang. We danced. And we shared stories of our legacy and ancestry. Our thumbs were anointed with a sweet smelling oil to aid our attempt to connect with loved ones on the other side of the world or this life. We exited the establishment the same way came in with song and dance.
The finale was a capoeira performance by a group affiliated with Grãos de Luz e Griô. It was wonderful to see all of the performances and body challenging feats these children and young adults could do. It was especially awe-inspiring to see one of our professors go into the ring and prove that superheroes can also come in small unassuming packages.
As I look back at the events of this past week and look forward to the things to come I, not only, challenge myself but all students on this trip who may read this post to not only document and record the events of the day but to be an active participant. We are nearly halfway through this adventure and while it is important to keep in touch with friends and family let’s not get so bogged down with taking pictures, texting and chatting. Let’s totally immerse ourselves here and not forget to experience all of the awesomeness that is hoje.