Memories of CAIJ XMAS

My first experience of a youthful Corumbaense celebration in Brazil.

Photo memories of 2012 CAIJ Xmas.

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Dom Bosco and CAIJ anniversaries

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August is a month of special anniversaries for CAIJ.   In fact it was a double celebration, the anniversary of Dom Bosco and CAIJ’s 5th year of operation in Corumba, Brazil.  Follow this link to see how the young people honoured their patron saint celebrated his legacy – CAIJ continues to meet the needs of children and young people in a community where families are easily marginalised and live in poverty.   https://picasaweb.google.com/111166451295496640324/24DeAgostoDe201302?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Feast of Corpus Christi

In Brazil, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday with a mass and public procession when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.   On this public holiday, it is customary to decorate the procession route  with tapetes or salt carpets honouring Christ and illustrating symbols of the Catholic church.   Unlike the flower and petal displays you would find in street processions in Europe, in Brazil, salt, sawdust, coffee and sand are used.

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Bolivia frontier town, where heat and humidity rule

DSCF5078I must admit that living this close to the Bolivian border had set my imagination alight with endless possibilities of taking a few side trips and exploring what that country had to offer.  So when the offer came to visit the nearby town of Puerto Suarez to do a bit of shopping (I had been told this is a much cheaper option than Corumbá), I jumped at the chance.  I even dressed for the occasion instead of the weather which was a big mistake upon reflection as the day turned out to be another scorcher.  On my shopping list, a belt to hold up all my trousers and skirts which are now two sizes too small, some toiletries and a backpack (muchila).

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Our mini-adventure began with the 10 minute journey to border control where we witnessed heavily armed police and crowded queues of people trying to get into the immigration control office to enter Brazil.  Once we crossed without too much fuss, paid our toll charge on the Bolivian side, my first impressions did a head long collision with my imagined thoughts of Bolivia.  It was so dry and dusty that we had to wind up our windows despite the sweltering heat.

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But thank God, this did not last too long.  We meandered through the town and made our way on to a single carriageway, Camino a Santiago de Chiquitos, that provided beautiful vistas of the Pantanal.    The Bolivian portion is about 10% of the total area of the Pantanal and only 350 metres above sea level but it has a high concentration of flora and fauna.

I was grateful for the mini-stops we made at the eco-tourism viewing gallery, one of the town’s unique churches with its hand-carved doors  illustrating the main stories in the bible, and of course the super mercado where all the prices were in Bolivianos and we had to divide by three  convert the prices to $Reais.   I will let the photos help with the story.  Enjoy!

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  • La tarea (geoamericanista.wordpress.com)

Capoeira

DSCF4902On Thursday 28th February, CAIJ celebrated its anniversary in a showcase of talent from teachers and students alike.  I particularly enjoyed the capoeira, a brazilian type of martial arts or “dance of war” and the many musical renditions on guitar.

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Silent Retreat at Instituto Vincente

DSCF4438Definitely one of the highlights of my experiences so far in Brazil.   I am grateful for the silence in such a beautiful, tranquil setting here in Campo Grande and the enormous hospitality of the Salesians in residence.

DSCF4427The retreat centre is actually located on the site of the botany and veterinary departments of the Don Bosco University but this clearly adds to the ambiance, making it ideal for gentle walks, quiet talks, prayer, reflection, contemplation and relaxation.

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