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Casa Abba Project Blog

Casa Semear Blog

This blog is writen by various people as they volunteer and work in Casa Semear in Sao Paulo Brazil.

Day 16 & 17 – Sat. 24th & Sun. 25th July – The Beach

2010 Group Posted on Mon, July 26, 2010 04:40:52

Caio who helps Robert and Silvana with the work at Casa Semear kindly invited all the team to his father’s beach house at Bertioga which is east of Sao Paulo.

After much deliberation and arm twisting a number of us decided within two seconds to take him up on his kind offer Gavin, Craig and Douglas decided to remain and push on with the work as they felt we required to progress the Art Room in order to achieve a completion before we returned home. The rest decided we had really had a very hard weeks work and a day i.e. Saturday to recuperate would keep everyone’s spirits up and make us more effective for the remaining week!!!

The team amicably agreed to split with those who treasured a rest going to the beach house and those who wished to press on with the work remaining at Casa Semear. They did say they would pray for rain so that we did not enjoy ourselves too much!! We decided to leave late on Friday night at approximately 11.00 pm arriving at the coast at 1.30 am rather than have another early start.

The beach house was much more palatial than we expected so we went to bed looking forward to waking up in the morning to glorious sunshine. However the three musketeers had clearly been on their knees most of the night and we woke up to the type of weather conditions one experiences on a Glasgow fair fortnight. We chilled out literary until the rain became a drizzle and ventured down to the beach with our brollies. The tourists looked a bit conspicuous as Brazilians don’t have brollies they just get wet!!

After a sandwich lunch we went with Caio and Dorothy to his favourite surfing beach which involved a short ferry trip and a half hour walk, over the hill arriving eventually at a beautiful sandy beach with large breakers crashing onto the shore. The hardy including the writer ventured into the water to experience the power of the sea it was all great fun. We all had giant pastel’s ( not wax chalk more deep fried pasties very healthy and I don’t think !!)

We all went to bed hoping the three musketeer’s had worked so hard on the Saturday they were in no fit state to pray for further rain and lo it came to pass. The next day was a scorcher so much so even Amie and Esther got up at 7.15am in order to be part of Caio’s party that returned to the surfing beach (Pousada beach).Ray, Ruth, Stuart, Robert and Silvana opted for a longer lie and relaxing time at the pool. Caio gave the early risers surfing lessons Esther tells me she is now a semi pro having stood up first time on the board while Amie feels she requires further practice next stop Tiree!!!

All good things come to an end and we set off for Sao Paulo at lunch time as Caio had to preach at his home Church that evening.

We went to Roberts Church (Portuguese Baptist) in the evening which was a wonderful experience. The worship was up lifting with a Soul Band that had us all swinging. We were warmly welcomed and had to stand to polite applause. The preacher spoke on worship in its fullest context and thanks to an interpreter we were able to enjoy his preaching it was very biblically based and an emotional message.

The team are now refreshed if a little tired from their weekend surfing and swimming exertions but ready to hit the art room and finish the painting of the toilets the last remaining task before we head for home.

Ray on behalf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here

Day 16 & 17 – Sat. 24th & Sun. 25th July – Casa Semear

2010 Group Posted on Mon, July 26, 2010 04:32:32

The group were once again split and unfortunately the workers were without transport. After contacting Tim from Abba about the sick Kombi he very kindly offered to drive us over to Casa Semear in the truck or “the beast “as it’s more affectionately known. This made for a slightly later start than normal.

The plan for the next couple of days was to stay at Casa Semear anyway so once there we were fine. Gavin had walked as usual, so the three of us, Snr. Luiz was away for a long weekend, decided to kick off as we meant to go on and had a cup of tea. A constant challenge between the workers was “how many cups can you reasonably get from one tea bag”. Douglas suggests 10 but I feel 6 was our limit. Try it for yourself and leave comments to tell us how you get on.

Keen to get a start on things and get as much done as possible before the beach bums sun and surf worshipers came back it was full steam ahead into the plastering of the arts and crafts room. The day before had seen Snr. Luiz setting us up some flat reference surfaces to work to so that we could really progress things right from the start.

The plastering “brazilian style” is tough and no matter how many times Luiz shows you, when you do it, it’s never the same. However in saying that we were kind of getting the hang of it. We had a system that seemed to be working well. Gavin was tackling the high bits, due to his need for extreme sports, a double height trellis was created with a chair on top of that. Douglas and I worked as a team and as he fed the right mix of concrete into my tray I had to flick it at the wall. However when the fancy smoothing was needed it was Gavin who did his magic. Without Luiz to check our work as we went it was what we thought that mattered.

By the end of the day, with a stop for lunch of course we were pretty pleased with the progress, while it was no where near completed, the room was looking better with each plastered wall. Even from this stage we could see there was a real chance of getting the room plastered and painted before we would have to go home. This spurred us on even more.

We decided on a fairly reasonable finish time for the night and agreed an early start in the morning would help things seeing as we were actually staying at Casa Semear.

As it was just the three of us a trip to the restaurant area of the Interlagos shopping complex was in order. Gavin set off early to get washed and changed and Douglas and I followed about 30 to 45 minutes later. The shopping mall is about a 30 minute walk from Casa Semear. I’m sure there are a few shortcuts you could take, but we felt it wise to stick to the main road that we knew. The option was always there if we wanted a taxi back at night but later it turned out to be such a nice night we just walked back.

By the time we returned it was time for Bed, and my best efforts to have a conversation with Douglas were being hampered by my inability to keep my eyes open.

The early start on the Sunday morning was a great idea and in no time, after a cup of tea of course, we were back in full swing. Our main objective was to get as much done as possible for the team returning. Having progressed around the room at low level, we needed to move the platforms in order to get the high level as well.

With a quick break for lunch, good old French toast, we decided to call it a day after a few hours and a good clean and tidy up. Gavin had just left when the beach goers returned. Everyone was suitably impressed with the progress. And everyone agreed that the room should be plastered and painted by the time we were to leave.

The plan had always been to go to Roberts Church in the evening so with everyone back together again and a quick exchange of stories then it was across town to the Girls house, picking up Gavin on the way, to get ready.

See the following account of the Sunday for details of the service.

Craig on behalf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here

Day 15 – Fri. 23rd July – Work, work, work.

2010 Group Posted on Mon, July 26, 2010 04:05:19

Hot, sunny, dry.

Team had arranged to meet at Casa Semear for 10.00am. At 11.33am the team arrived in 2 Combi vans. Tim had gone to the girl’s house and delivered one Combi van while Robert took the other Combi van to get the exhaust repaired.(what with the state of the roads here, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the exhaust had split in two and one piece was dangling underneath the van)

Today we were joined by Paulette and Tauani from the girl’s house. Douglas led devotions.

Work tasks were allocated as follows:-
1) Check paint situation(Ruth);
2) Check Polyfilla requirements(Ray);
3) Any more gloves required?
4) Windows going in today. Will require filling in round the edges.
5) Corridor ceiling to be filled and painted (Ray).
6) Toilets walls to be rubbed down, painted:boys-lower half wall blue; girls-lower half wall green.(Ruth, Amie, Esther)
7) Break up concrete on floor of art room, then put in rubbish bags(Matthew & Stuart)
8) Sand inside entrance to be bagged(Matthew & Stuart)
9) Lower part of wall inside front entrance to be painted white then red door to be placed against it to protect it from future deliveries of building material.(Esther)
10) Furniture inside front entrance to receive new covers and delivered to a family in the favella.(Paulette re. the covers; Robert and co. Re. delivery)
11) Paint to be scraped off ceiling wall in kitchen(Paulette, Tauani, Esther &Stuart)
12) Bedroom & kitchen corridor to be scraped and painted(as above)
13) Senor Luiz to show Craig, Gavin, Ray, Stuart & Matthew how to plaster.
14) Douglas very happy to assist where required.
15) I suggested buying a large watch for Robert and setting it at Brazilian time, although one hour earlier!

Craig, Gavin & Robert drove up to Leroy Martin and purchased extra paint, sand paper, water filter and gloves. Robert said he hadn’t had any breakfast, and would Craig and I mind if we had a coffee at Leroy Martin. Despite our ardent protests, Craig and I enjoyed a beautiful roll with a soft cheese centre washed down with an Americano coffee. Robert had a hot sausage roll and a can of coke. Oh, I nearly forgot, I also had a melt in your mouth, mouth watering, dark chocolate truffle( well, they were right in front of me on the counter top and you really couldn’t resist them, could you?)

Back at Casa Semear, everyone was working hard, so, Craig and I walked down to the local supermarket and bought lunch. The water melon went down a treat, as did the favourite drink, Guarana.

After lunch all worked progressed very well as planned. Some of the team helped with the children’s club from 3.30pm to approx.5.30pm.

Senor Luiz showed the guys how to plaster the walls in the art room. We had a lot of fun learning from (and being corrected by) Senor Luiz, and, surprisingly, the end result was very encouraging. He is some guy and greatly appreciated.

The team finished at 6.00pm and went back to shower and change. Robert took the Combi van in to get the oil leak fixed and we then had the use of the truck, which is a frightening experience to drive or be driven in! Well done to you Craig! It took Craig 2 days to find third gear in the Combi van, but once mastered, he now drives like a true Brazilian, specifically-don’t stop for anything or anyone, don’t even waste time indicating (that would mean taking your hands off the steering wheel), don’t use your brakes-just lurch out from side streets and take pleasure from watching the other vehicles scatter out of your way and, periodically-toot your horn -if you have one! There is a truckers rally at the local racing circuit on Sunday and we thought we could put Craig forward for it. He would cream the opposition!

We all met again at 8.30pm and, just before moving off to enjoy an evening buffet meal, we witnessed two cars and a motor cyclist crashing right in front of us, right in the middle of the main carriageway!

At 10.00pm, some of the team left in the minibus, with Robert and his family, to stay overnight at a beach house. This was at Caio and his wife, Dorothee’s invitation. It was a two hour drive and meant they could all have a long lie in the morning before hitting the surf, sand and sun on the South Atlantic coast!

Craig, Douglas & Gavin opted to decline the invitation and continue with the work required at Casa Semear. We didn’t mind in the slightest being left with no transport, no food, tired arms and under pressure to progress plastering the art room walls, while they were all swanning off, sunning themselves, relaxing on sun loungers, drinking ice cold drinks, enjoying good food and being waited on hand and foot!

At that, we called it a night at 10.30pm.

Gavin on behlaf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here