Henri Nouwen shared that “to give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. It is more than a word of praise or appreciation; it is more than pointing out someone’s talents or good deeds; it is more than putting someone in the light. To give a blessing is to affirm, to say ‘yes’ to a person’s Belovedness.” MAY GOD BLESS YOU EACH AND EVERY DAY IN THE NEW YEAR.
While everyone I know in colder climes is struggling with cold, possibly freezing temperatures, I deserve little sympathy for the sweltering heat here in Campo Grande – yes my dear friends I can almost hear your thoughts. But even the Brazilians are complaining about the heat. Its easy to see why air conditioning is a must, if you can afford it. Shady spots under trees, awnings, just about anything that will take the scorching sun off your head, I have learned to spot in the distance and navigate in my pathway.
Oh another interesting experience I had in Campo Grande was terere (tay-ray-ray), a tea infusion of yerba mate. Originally from Paraguay but popular in northeast Argentina and western Brazil, namely Mato Grosso do Sul, terere is drunk cold, sucked out from a horn cup called a guampa with a bombilla (metal straw) – looks impressive – see photo below. Taste = bitter but refreshing on a hot day and with its caffeine , its a good replacement for a hot coffee. The place to be on hot sunny afternoon in Campo Grande is Parque das Nacoes Indigenas, drinking terere.
If you’re you going to spend time with young people then a great place to start is a university. Under the superb guidance of Samila and Tais, I was given an extensive tour comprising the library, various departments like psychology where Samila did her masters, the chaplaincy office, gym and swimming pool. The highlight for the girls, well mine too, was their popular radio station, 91.5 FM, which brought back lots of fun memories of my radio days in Trinidad.
Meeting DJ at 91.5 FM, University radio station and saying hi to all in Campo Grande
Tais, Samila and friend, university students and graduate
First day in Campo Grande, in the province of Mato Grosso do Sul and I hit the ground running. As planned, I joined the Salesian community for morning prayer and mass at 7am, a bit jet-lagged and tired from having no sleep for 24hrs, but determined to get my first full immersion in Brazilian portuguese. What a wake-up call or better yet “baptism of fire”. Newsflash: my knowledge of portuguese is nil, nunca, ninguem. Thank God I recognised a few words like Deus (God), Jesus and Amen. It was a full on experience of being lost in translation but on the brighter side is a warm, friendly and understanding community of people who have extended an incredible welcome so that I feel at home. Let the journey begin Lord.