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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 20 – Wed. 28th July – Family Visits

2010 Group Posted on Thu, July 29, 2010 04:24:07

Today was a fairly productive day for the team at Casa Semear. Most of our efforts are now put in to finishing things off as we leave in two days and it would be good to leave having completed a couple of projects. The girls finished off painting the corridors and door ways. Everything now looks much brighter and fresher. The boys work hard to finish of the arts and crafts room and it’s looking great! When we arrived the walls were just bare brick. Now they are gradually turning in to nice, smooth plastered walls ready for painting. It’s been a grand effort. However, in attempt to remove some ‘dead space’ Senhor Louise extended the floor over the stairway to create some storage space. This involved him balancing perilously on 3 thin beams only three stories up with nothing holding him up. My nerves weren’t really up to watching it but I managed to get a quick photo for evidence. It may have been mentioned before but health and safety does not exist here! Thankfully the job was done without any fatalities.

Left to Right: Aline, Mum, Alexandra (below), “Wee Agatha”, Amanda and Alan.

This afternoon Silvana was venturing on some family visits. She regularly visits the families of the children who come to Casa Semear and offered to let us come with her today. We went in pairs to avoid over-crowing the small houses and over-whelming the families. Esther and I went together and on the way we met Aline and she invited us in to her home. Aline is the sister of Alan, Casa Semear’s resident artist. There are about 10 people living in their two-room house. Note: that doesn’t mean “two bedrooms” but quite literally two rooms. To say that lack of personal space is an issue would be an understatement. However the family were incredibly welcoming and allowed us in to their home. It was a real privilege to visit the children in their homes and gain an insight into their daily lives. Those who visited the families today agreed that it was a benefit that we already knew the children rather than simply visiting strangers. Alan showed us some of his sketches and I showed his Mum a photo of the paintings that I have bought from him. Although neither of us spoke the same language it was a special moment being able to share in each other’s lives even so briefly. It is somewhat sad to see these families living in cramped houses with open sewage systems running near by, but today personally I didn’t feel sad. I felt hopeful – hopeful that the work of the Abba team at Casa Semear will enable these children to reach their potential and provide opportunities for them to work their way towards a successful life, whatever shape or form that might take.

No doubt the team have mixed feelings about our pending departure. It’s been a long three weeks in which time quite a lot has happened. Sharing in the lives of Robert & Silvana, Dora, Dorothy & Caio, Hedi (AJ), Tauani and Paulette, has been an immense privilege. Everyone we have met has been so incredibly welcoming and it is extremely humbling to see people who are working on the “front line” and living by faith day to day. The work on the house has progressed extensively and I think it’s safe to say we have achieved much of what we set out to do. We can only hope that we tie up most of the “loose ends” the next couple of days as we prepare to head to home.

Amie on behalf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here

Day 19 – Tues. 27th July – New Project Started

2010 Group Posted on Thu, July 29, 2010 04:07:43

Dry, dull. Team gathered at Casa Semear at 9.10am. Esther led devotions.

Caio brought the paint for the kitchen corridor. His wife Dorothee had chosen turquoise. Unfortunately Dorothee was unwell today and could not join us.

We had planned to continue with the following tasks:-

a) Fire ahead with cementing, plastering and painting the art room walls;

b) Finish painting the toilet walls;

c) Sand corridor ceiling and paint it;

d) Continue painting the kitchen corridor;

e) Paint the bathroom ceiling.

Robert was anxious, however, that, seeing how well the team had worked up till now, there were 3 other major jobs that were preying on his mind and he wondered if we could discuss them with Senor Luiz, to see what would be possible over Tues., Wed., and Thurs. (we leave on Friday, or so we thought!). The three “other jobs” were:-

1) Build a temporary balcony outside the art room windows (which are 200 feet above ground level) and cement and plaster the outside wall.

2) Build the concrete staircase from ground level up to the first floor level of the flats in the backyard.

3) Knock down the lower half of the wall in the art room, expose the open light well, (which is only 100feet above ground level), and build a concrete floor over this 4 sq. metre area which would then become a large storage cupboard for the art room.

No.1 was dismissed immediately as insanity, as it would have meant attaching a rope around the pensioner (i.e. Gavin), although willing, and lowering him over the window with his bucket (of cement) and trowel! (Only Esther and Ray were concerned. The rest of the team were worryingly silent!)

No.2 was declined as it was felt by the time Senor Luiz had built the shuttering to house the staircase steps, ready to be filled with concrete, the team would be in their beds!

No. 3 was the winner, which then knocked the planned programme on its head.

So, the day went like this:-

1) Orlando cleared the blocked drain in the art room sink;

2) The children arrived for their Bible club at 9.30am with Robert;

3) Senor Luiz was asked to make out a list of what materials were required;

4) Craig and Caio were despatched in the Kombi van to buy this;

5) Sand, stones, cement and chalk, were delivered to Casa Semear within the hour;

6) The guys started to bag the large amount of rubbish in the back yard, ready for uplift by the cleansing on Friday;

7) The girls carried on with their painting tasks;

8) The lorry arrived with its’ full load, and deposited it in the street;

9) The Combi was parked in the street and caused a traffic jam as nobody had the keys, so we had to push it out the way;

10) The guys shovelled and bagged the stones and sand, and carried what was required up to the art room,

11) A leak was noticed coming out of the water pipe at the front door;

12) Senor Luiz, just at that moment , put his chisel through a water pipe, and we had to turn off the water until he could fix it;

13) Ray polyfilled the wall in the art room;

14) Senor Luiz fixed the burst pipe;

15) Craig returned with all the concrete beams ordered by Senor Luiz;

16) The guys mixed the concrete and the new floor was laid as the base for the art room cupboard;

17) Walls were plastered and rubbed down, ready for painting;

18) The children’s club came in at 3.30pm and some of the team were engaged with them until 5.30pm.

Work then progressed as planned. It became another long and exhausting day but much was achieved, ready to progress tomorrow. We finished at 7.00pm.

Gavin on behalf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here

Day 18 – Mon. 26th July – Work, work, work

2010 Group Posted on Thu, July 29, 2010 04:06:49

Hot, dry, sunny. The team arrived at Casa Semear at 9.15am.

Craig led devotions. Afterwards, I allocated tasks and everyone set themselves to them. Again, today, we had Caio, his wife, Dorothee, Robert and his wife, Silvana and the children.

In the morning, there was a bible study from 9.30-11.00am, with children from10- 13years, and in the afternoon, there was the children’s club from 3.30-5.30pm. We had good fun with all of them.

Caio ran me up in his car to Leroy Merlin, to buy more paint, roller handles and paint brushes. Once back, the girls continued with the various painting tasks while the guys got stuck into the art room, cementing and plastering the walls. It is hard work, and makes for a long day.

Silvana and Dora made the team our evening meal at Casa Semear. This was Robert’s idea as he wanted the work to progress, because he knows it won’t get done when we all leave to come home.

Didn’t stop work till 10.00pm! The younger members of the team also worked hard, on & off, throughout the day, as did Robert. We had our evening meal at 10.20pm.

We left Casa Semear at 11.00pm.

Gavin on behalf of the group.

Photo Gallery can be found here

Douglas’s blog can be found here