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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 13 (Tuesday 4th May)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Fri, May 21, 2010 19:15:22

This morning was once again the kids club. There was hardly any kids this morning with only 3 turning up so they just ended up playing games which I joined in with – getting quite talented at Monopoly deal.

Caio, Dorothee and a swiss short-termer called alex came to do some decorating of the library so they textured the remaining wall which is also to be purple. They unfortunately ran out of the texture so Robert & I headed out to Leroy Merlin to pick up another tin to allow them to finish. Also stopped by the cash machine to get out some money so I could live! When we arrived back Robert did the last bit of texturing, the room is really coming together now!

Chilling out in the afternoon as well as cleaning and checking big jugs which had been donated for use at Casa Semear. Like many items that are donated one of the jugs didn´t work which is very frustrating! Couldn´t do any painting as had to wait for the texturing to dry.

In the afternoon the older kids had teaching on wisdom and the internet learning that we can´t get all the information that we need for life for the internet and that we need Gods wisdom to be truly wise. Was an interesting discussion with them.



Day 12 (Monday 3rd May)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Fri, May 21, 2010 19:05:04

This morning was the kids club with bible teaching led by Robert and a time of games. I do my best to follow what portuguese I can and managed to get the gist of what the teaching was on.

Managed to get a quick trip to the internet cafe in during the lunch break although so many emails to deal with no blogging could get done properly!

In the afternoon Caio & Dorothee led a session on discrimination which was really interesting and I joined in with and the younger kids met downstairs with the ladies from the first church I visited. It is good to get a little glimpse of the potential the house has when it is finished and there are enough workers. Robert tried to fix a hole in the roof which had been caused by someone throwing a metal pipe or something onto it. The fix looked pretty good and hopefully will mean that we don´t have to have a bucket to catch any drips right at the top of the stairs (unfortunately the rain which was to follow later in the week showed that the fix wasn´t entirely effective although it did stop most of the downpour!)

In the evening after the kids left and we tidyed the hall Dora & I made a dinner of rice and beans together, it takes quite a long time all in all. She showed me bits of the process so I need to make sure to get the recipie to recreate it at home! It is quite challenging to have a conversation as I am still trying to get to grips with the language but we managed to get by.



Day 12 (Monday 3rd May)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Fri, May 21, 2010 19:05:03

This morning was the kids club with bible teaching led by Robert and a time of games. I do my best to follow what portuguese I can and managed to get the gist of what the teaching was on.

Managed to get a quick trip to the internet cafe in during the lunch break although so many emails to deal with no blogging could get done properly!

In the afternoon Caio & Dorothee led a session on discrimination which was really interesting and I joined in with and the younger kids met downstairs with the ladies from the first church I visited. It is good to get a little glimpse of the potential the house has when it is finished and there are enough workers. Robert tried to fix a hole in the roof which had been caused by someone throwing a metal pipe or something onto it. The fix looked pretty good and hopefully will mean that we don´t have to have a bucket to catch any drips right at the top of the stairs (unfortunately the rain which was to follow later in the week showed that the fix wasn´t entirely effective although it did stop most of the downpour!)

In the evening after the kids left and we tidyed the hall Dora & I made a dinner of rice and beans together, it takes quite a long time all in all. She showed me bits of the process so I need to make sure to get the recipie to recreate it at home! It is quite challenging to have a conversation as I am still trying to get to grips with the language but we managed to get by.



Day 11 (Sunday 2nd May)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Tue, May 18, 2010 17:33:13

I spent the morning doing some painting in the house. I did another coat of purple on the library wall, covering myself in purple splodges as I went! The wall needed a secondf coat as when Robert & I originally painted it there were quite a few joins and it was my job to try to disguise the joins. I think it actually did quite a good job!

I also spent some of the morning finishing off sorting out the computer equipment and putting the kitchen back to the way it should have been before scrubbing all the paint from me in preparation for church!

Robert then picked me up about 3.30 to head to their house before church. Unlike the usual Brazilian custom he was actually very punctual as there was a football game starting at 4 which he wanted to watch! Eventually got connected to the internet and spent some time with emails, blogging etc as well as watching the fgootball match. Was actually quite an exciting match, a goal within the first minute and another in the next 10. It was a big state final match so there was lots of cheering around and plenty of fireworks every time there was a goal! Brazilians sure do love their football and show their appreciation with some gusto!

Then it was off to Robert & Silvanas church for the service. They go to the Baptist church very near the Abba office and it was one I was familiar with from my previous visits. Was a good service with the message being about post modernism which I was able to enjoy with Roberts translation help! The girl leading the service was Ester who used to work in the girls house when I was last in Brazil and is married to Celio who is taking over from Thomas Smoak as director of Abba. Was nice to see her and catch up a little after the service as well as chatting to some of the other Abba folk who were there.

Then it was off home for a quite end to the day and bed to prepare for another week with the kids!



Day 10 (Saturday 1st May)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Tue, May 18, 2010 17:24:45

Today was spent in the morning heading out to Embu des Artes a small market town just south of Sao Paulo which is famous for its artists and market. We (Robert, Silvan, Mariane and myself) went their in a bid to look for a bg cupboard for the arts and crafts room to store materials and things in rather than everything just sitting out on the table.

The workshops at Embu are just facinating, so many fantastic pieces of furniture, real craftsmanship. We looked at all of the shops there but unfortunately none had exactly what we were looking for without glass and at the right price. It was definately interesting looking though and I did spy a giant wooden throne which I quite fancied although I dont think it would fit into my handluggage!

We also managed to fit in a wee look around the market which was good, The main day is usually a Sunday so it was a little quieter than I have experienced in the past but had a good look around and admired all the different things which were on offer. Hoping to come back one Sunday with one of the boys from Casa Semear who is really into art so he can see what its like.

On the way home we decided to stop in at Leroy Merlin (a big B&Q/Homebase type place) to see if we could buy titles for the library that we have been painting. There were loads on offer, and we eventually settled on a nice tile which we ordered for collection that day. After paying for it all (including the relevant cement stuff to stick it down with) you then go to the warehouse doors to wait for it to be given to you. Quite a long wait for it all to come out and there was a lot of stuff! Glad we had the combi as it could handle the weight. Then it was back to Casa Semear to unload, will be great to think this room will be finished in the not too distant future hopefully.

Robert & Silvana then left me for the evening and I set about working with the computer equipment that has been stored in one of the cupboards in Casa Semear. This has all been donated for the use of Casa Semear, maybe for an internet cafe however Robert doesn´t know if it all works so my job was to find out how much did! With much manovering in the kitchen with the table and trying to find cables to plug things in I managed to start working my way through the various monitors, keyboards, mice etc that were there. Was quite a task but I now know why I brought sticky labels with me! Mammoth task that took the rest of the evening and just over half way though!



Day 8 (Friday 30th April)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Wed, May 05, 2010 20:04:27

Wow its been a week since I left Scotland now. So much has happened already and Ive been experiencing so much.

Friday is games day for the kids so is lots of fun. Unfortunately the kids seem to have cottoned onto the fact that Im staying in the house or were extrememly anxious for the games to begin as they showed up at 8.50am a full 40 minutes before the programme was meant to start. Luckily this morning Dora spoke to them and told them they wouldnt be getting in at that time as it was too early and we were still getting ready. Just as well Ive been getting up and ready early I guess!

Lots of different games happening with the kids today: monopoly deal, uno, frustration, something called Branco du Brasil or something like that which I have still to check out and various other small toys which the younger ones played with. Those who hadnt had enough of the crocodiles yesterday also made some more crocodiles. I think they were inspired by the fact that they get points for making them and once they get 6 points they get to take one home.

Alan spent the morning doing some of his painting. He really is very talented and I hope to get photos of his efforts up when I can get my camera connected.

For lunch Dora and I again tried to cook together. Today we made a varient of spagetti bolognese. As seems to be Brazilian tradition we made enough to feed a small army and the leftovers were put in the fridge for future lunches and dinners.

The kids were warned before they left in the morning that if they came early for the afternoon session they would get points taken off them. It obviously worked as the kids arrived dead on 3.30pm. More games fun for all. Silvana and the rest of the Meikle family came along today which was fun. Silvana did some art with some of the younger kids which they really seemed to enjoy – again photos to follow!

After the kids all left for the day Robert and I painted the back wall of the library which he had textured yesterday. We managed to get a wee system going where he did the high bits and I did the low bits, unfortunately it resulted in a bit of a dark line in the middle where our sections meet. Even sponging over it all didnt really seem to make much of a difference. Hoping that allowing it to dry will minimise the line but not so sure.

Left it all to dry as we headed to dinner at a Churrascaria. A Churrascaria is a traditional Brazilian form of restaurant which literally means bbq. There is loads of meat which is brought round the tables by waiters on large skewers and they cut you off a bit of whatever you want. We all tried lots of different meats, I even was brave enough to try out the chicken hearts. Verdict was that overall they werent too bad, just a bit chewy. It was really nice enjoying a bit of traditional cuisine and as it was a buffet style event we all ate our fill and some. Totally stuffed!

Forgot my camera though to record the evening so may well have to return again before I go back to Scotland!



Day 7 (Thursday 29th April)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Wed, May 05, 2010 19:40:45

More kids club today. A Thursday is arts and crafts day so generally is the time that the kids make the crocodile keyrings. It is amazing to see them work away at them so quickly and ablely. It was really encouraging too to see David who I helped to make his very first crocodile during my last couple of weeks here in 2007 fly through making the keyrings now. It just showed me how time has passed even if the kids dont really look very different.

I spent some of the time trying to keep Agatha away from the beads as she had a bit of a habit of trying to scatter them all over the place. I also tried to help a couple of the younger ones make their keyrings helping them out with understanding the maps of what they had to do and the trickier bits of threading the line.

There were more kids than we expected today both in the morning and the afternoon. The kids explained that this was because they had a day off school because of teacher training – I guess its a bit like an inservice day.

The kids also enjoyed playing with my camera quite a bit, at least it is one way of getting pictures of me with the kids as they all want to try to take photos!

We also handed out some clothes to the kids at the end of the day. These clothes had been donated by Caio & Dorothee and the kids loved going through them choosing what they wanted.

During our break in the middle of the day Dora showed me a local internet cafe which she uses. I was really keen to find one so that I dont always have to rely on getting internet at Roberts house and I am able to update the blog and keep up with my emails a bit better. The internet cafe is only about 5 minutes from the house and only costs R$1 which is about 40p for an hour so Im sure I will be frequenting it as often as I can find an hour or two to spare!

Whilst the kids were busy doing making their crocodiles today Robert put texture paint/paste stuff on one of the library walls. It looks really cool and was fairly easy to do so Roberty assures me. You just put the stuff on the wall then run over it with a plasticy roller and ta-dah there you go you have a textured wall! All very impressive. Hopefully it will dry by tomorrow so we can paint it a beautiful purple!

For dinner Robert and Silvana invited Dora and I round for dinner. We were treated to Silvanas lovely beef strogonoff. It was very tasty! It was fun sitting round the dinner table with both English and Portuguese conversation flowing, the boys English is really coming along fantastically, it puts my Portuguese to shame!

There was also the opportunity to get online and send some emails which I hadnt had the opportunity to finish earlier in the day etc, thanks to all who continue to keep in touch!

All in all it was a lovely evening just relaxing and spending time with the Meikle family and Dora, a lovely end to the day.



Day 6 (Wednesday 28th April)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Mon, May 03, 2010 18:53:11

A Wednesday is the day for the Abba meeting so there is no kids club at Casa Semear.

Today Robert let me have a bit of a lie in before he, Silvana and Marie Anne arrived to do some work on the house. Robert and I were able to paint most of the room yellow as planned. We also got ourselves covered quite a lot in splodges of bright yellow paint. My flip flops will never be fully black again!! Although I guess that is all part of the fun of decorating no??

After we had completed the painting we headed off towards the Abba meeting. On the way we stopped at Shopping Interlagos to pick up some lunch of bagettes which we ate in a wee park near the girls house (where the meeting was to take place). It was very nice.

Then off to the Abba meeting. This is a meeting once a week where all those who work in the various aspects of Abbas work get together for a time of prayer, sharing and fellowship. It is a really good opportunity to get to see what is going on in the rest of Abbas work outside of your own bubble.

When we arrived everyone else was already there. Hedi (one of the women who worked in the girls house when I was here in 2007) was really pleased to see me and came over and gave me a big hug. It was great to see her and I recognised a few familiar and some not so familiar faces in the room. Thomas welcomed me and introduced me to the rest of the group and I was able to say that I was over from Scotland helping out with Robert & Silvana in Casa Semear.

The meeting began with a devotion led by Thomas on Hebrew (I think it was chapter 12). Then there was a time to share concerns and things which had been going on during the previous week. One of the things which Silvana shared was something that we had been hearing about for the previous couple of days. There was news going around that a black car was travelling around the south of Sao Paulo (where Casa Semear and the rest of Abbas work is based) picking up children and taking them away and killing them for their organs. This is obviously very concerning for all, especially as the children coming to Casa Semear often walk their on their own or in small groups.

There was also a time for prayer requests and everyone was able to share, even those of us short-termers as we are called who cant speak Portuguese well as we were translated for. Roberts request was for the building work as Senior Luiz has indicated that he should be able to start working on the property again by the end of next week which is very exciting.

The meeting finished with some praise and some time to mingle over coffee, juice and cake. I was able to catch up with Hedi properly and meet a couple of other English speaking girls who are working with Abba just now. One is Paulette who is an American girl who is now working with Abba on a permanent basis and she is living in the girls house. Another is Alessandra who is a Swiss girl also living in the girls house but working in the boys house. She was telling me that she also usually comes to Casa Semear on a Tuesday morning so I should be seeing her again next week. I also had the chance to say hi again to Rusty the girls house dog I felt a particualar attachment to Rusty last time I was in Brazil as the girls found Kirsty hard to pronounce so would often call me Rusty!

We then had to leave to pick up the boys from school. They go to a little English speaking nursery/kindergarten in preparation for them going to PACA the American school very close to the Abba office which Robert also went to when he was growing up in Brazil.

It was then off home where I had my left over pancakes from the night before for dinner and spent the rest of the evening listening to my Portuguese podcasts. My walls are beginning to look like a school classroom with numberous sheets of paper with words on them all over the place!



Day 5 (Tuesday 27th April)

2010 Kirsty Posted on Mon, May 03, 2010 18:17:40

Tuesday is again the kids club but today I didnt get involved in that. Instead I helped Caio and Dorothee with the painting of the library. They come to help at Casa Semear every Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning and on the Tuesday they have been working in the library. Caio & Dorothee spent most of the time sanding down the wall that has been plastered to make it nice and smooth for painting and filling in some holes in the wall. I did some more painting – its like a never ending job!!

After the morning club I got Robert to drop me off at the local Shopping Interlagos. I was able to get some money out and had a wee wander round the shops picking up some bits and pieces which I needed to get. I also managed to return to the wonderful Spolletos which is a pasta place in the food court. Here you get to make any sauce you want with any pasta you want and 8 ingredients of your choice. It was very tasty, even if the woman did get a bit frustrated at my lack of Portuguese – there was a lot of pointing at the menu to say what I wanted!! It was then a short walk back to Casa Semear in time for the afternoon programme.

In the afternoon instead of the kids club I did more painting of the bits that had been sanded in the morning. Before he left for the day Robert did some of the bits which I couldnt reach as well as filling in some big cracks with cemen. tI finished the sanding and the painting in the evening too and by the end of the day the whole room was white ready to be painted with the new colours.

I did join the kids at the end of the session to play some games and have the snack with them. All good fun getting into the swing of things with them. Some favourite games are frustration, monopoly deal and uno. Just have to make sure none of them get too competitive and start cheating!

In the evening I made dinner with Dora. We made pancakes with chicken or cheese and ham in them. We had to go to the local little supermarket Ideal which was good as I now know where it is to top up my supply of food if required! The process was interesting as we attempted to communicate in Portuguese, often I had to stop Dora to look up words in my dictionary but we did manage quite well I would say!

Sorry this day is so short and not very descriptive. I dont even have many photos from the day which must mean I was working very hard!



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