It is a cloudy Monday morning in
and therefore, a perfect day to sit down and write my first blog entry for
My name is Erin, although in Rocinha I go by my second name “Liza” because Brazilians tend to have a lot of trouble pronouncing the name,
Erin (The “R” in the middle throws them through a loop).
I arrived in Rocinha from exactly
a month and a half ago. My role here is as Resident Volunteer, teaching the
adolescent class (kids aged from 11-14) and also a beginner English, adult
class. I will be living here in Rocinha until September, at which point I need
to go back to Toronto,
Canada Canada and
start my third year at . York
Since my arrival on May 2nd, 2013, my life has been entirely turned upside down. Rocinha is impossible to describe unless you have actually been here- it is it’s own world- A city within a city. It is loud and wild and dirty and alive and extreme, but most importantly, it is a community with very strong roots and pride. I have never felt so welcome anywhere in my life, as the residents have taken me in with open arms. Every day that I walk through the winding streets and alleyways, I wave to at least five people ranging from true friends, to acquaintances to the man who sold me sunglasses on my third day here but still remembers me and calls out as I walk through the market.
The team at Two Brothers is also amazing and have acted as a true support system whilst I was adjusting here. For my first entry, I think I will just introduce the team and then from now until I leave, I will make sure to keep you updated on the many activities and day to day life events that I experience as a resident volunteer with 2Bros.
On Saturday June 15th we had to bid a very sad goodbye to one of the “family” members, Jess. Jessica is a beautiful compassionate girl from
who was working in Rocinha for five months as a part of her university program.
She worked mainly with the little kids but also taught adult classes. She was a
majorly creative force, with an abnormal amount of compassion and empathy and
in my mind, represented the definition of what 2Bros is looking for in their
volunteers. We really miss her already. Cambridge, UK
In her place, we now have Wesley, who is also a university student, coming from the prestigious
University in the .
He will start teaching this week, taking over the kids class which is easily
the most difficult class to work with as you are thrown into a room full of
kids ages 8-11. United States
The team also comprises of Ben, another
representative from the North of England who has been living in Rocinha for the
past four months. Ben also heads home relatively soon and will start his
Masters program at UK starting in
September. Ben possesses one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met
and brings a lot of fun and enthusiasm everywhere he goes. The kids absolutely
love him, and despite some language barriers (Ben came to Kings
College knowing next to no
Portuguese), he has thrived here and his classes have benefitted from his
dedication and creativity. Brazil
Then there is Paul, who works with the adult classes at 2Bros. Paul is from the States and has been living in Rocinha for quite some time now and I believe plans to live here for the next while. Paul is the definition of an adventurer having BIKED from the
to . Brazil
Last but not least, there is our Field Coordinator, Jennifer. Jenn is also from the States and has been living in Rocinha for the past 9 months. Jenn has fallen in love with
and Rocinha in particular.
The community adores her here and in less than a year, she has managed to
become nearly completely fluent in Portuguese. If and when you are applying for
a volunteer position at 2Bros, Jenn is the gal who you will communicate with
and greet you/orient you upon your arrival! Brazil
One of the best things that Two Brothers does is bring in a slew of creative “Voluntourists”- people who can’t actually live in Rocinha for the minimum three months but are willing to come in and help us for at least three weeks. This is such an important part of the program and supplies the Resident Volunteers with a lot of inspiration and also extra hands to help in the classroom. It also widens the kids perspective on how big our world is and how many different kinds of people are out there.
Currently, we have two amazing Voluntourists from the
, Sophie and
Olivia. They have been helping out and also teaching drama classes every
Friday. The classes are geared towards creativity and identity and it has been
really fun working with the kids on a theatrical level and seeing how they
respond (which luckily, has been very positively!). UK
The point of this blog entry was to give you a sense of the people who are on the ground at 2Bros, who are actually putting the positive ideas and philosophies into action. If you think you can relate to some of the character traits that I have mentioned, please consider applying as a Resident Volunteer or popping in as a Voluntourist! If that isn’t possible, just sending us good wishes and support is hugely appreciated.
I promise to write again soon, next time describing life with my teens, our classes and extracurricular activites!
Paz e Beijos,