At the end of school holidays in early February, the older youth from CAIJ were treated to a fabulous day- out at the military recreation centre, located a short distance from the Corumbá – Bolivia border.
The day started with an evaluation/reflection exercise on their experience as young leaders and ways they could improve. This was then followed by some team building games, churrascarias for lunch, a fun afternoon in the swimming pool, some football, volleyball and hanging out in the shade. If ever you are in Corumbá, then this is a great place to visit for rest and relaxation, and of course, to cool down when the temperatures are soaring above 35 degrees Celsius.
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.
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.