Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Brazil Various Stories

While on our various travels home, we had a two leg flight from Londrina to Sao Paulo, stopping in Curitiba. (Side note - Flying over Sao Paulo was unbelievable. You seriously cannot believe how big that city is. It makes NYC look like the mall.) We didn't need to get off the plane, we just chilled for 15 minutes or so. On this flight we met a man named Pedro traveling with his family. Pedro was from Sao Paulo, his wife was from Londrina. Pedro and his family were actually flying back to Wilmore, KY, where he is a student at Asbury Seminary. Before he was in seminary, he was a church planter in Paraguay. A Brazilian planting churches in Paraguay. Isn't that cool?
Of course, 10 Americans on his flight caught his attention and we got to tell him a little bit about what we were doing in Londrina. He loved hearing about it. In fact, he basically gave me an open invitation to bring a team to Paraguay. All around the world, cross cultural workers are dying for teams to come to serve with them. Indeed, the workers are few.

Our team was blessed with really good health, until the end. Aside from me, who had a slight stomach thing every 3rd day or so, everyone else was mostly healthy. We landed in the US at Dulles, took the tram from the gate to the main terminal and got in line at customs. All of us made it through customs with no issues. As we walked through the lobby into an annex area, AW puked. I was walking in front of her, and heard it.
One of those sounds that makes your stomach turn, literally. FZ was right behind her, and I distinctly remember her first response, "Oh, honey," said in a way that was so infinitely compassionate and maternal.
Our plan was to take a bus shuttle from the airport to the Metro station and then take the Metro back to Greenbelt where family could easily pick us up. AW was a putrid grey color the whole way. But, it was (almost) the absolute best place to get sick - right when we landed on US soil. Welcome home.

All of us liked Fatima from the very beginning. She didn't speak any English, but her heart overflowed with love every time we saw her. Her two sons would interpret for her when they were around. When they weren't, we kind of knew what she was thinking anyway. She was almost constantly thinking about us.
We had game night at her house and FZ didn't get any cake. After we all left, Fatima made her a whole chocolate cake. When BB was sick, she took his temperature every other hour. She made him drink water every hour, she made him soup and toast, she made a wicked potato salad. If my child had to be sick 5000 miles away, Fatima's apartment would be my top choice.

The soccer game was a lot of fun. We sat in the uncovered section - the people's section. Of course, there were the rowdys, the ones who loved the refs in one minute and had very creative insults about them ("You are a cow!") the next. Every once in a while, from the far corner of the stands, you would hear this single drum, beating at some wild cadence. I couldn't figure it out, and wondered whether there was a marching band or something. GMcM told me that fans organize their own fan clubs, complete with flags and shirts and other stuff like that. They all come to the game together, sit in the same section, and of course, bring their drums. The drum, he said, was indicative of the game. Soccer is not necessarily just a game with its procedures, strategy and rules. Its more of a dance, with its beats, rhythm and spontaneity.

Oh Brazil...

Photos: Sao Paulo, Fatimas family, and sitting at a soccer game.

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