04 July 2010

Greetings From São Paulo!

Here it is July 4th, 2010, and I was musing on how great it is to be an American.  Sometimes you don't really appreciate what a blessing it is to be a citizen of the United States until you see how much the rest of the world lives.  In no way do I mean to disparage Brazil or its people.  Brazil is a beautiful country, and we love the Brazilian people we have met.  But we also are reminded of how blessed we are to have been born and raised in a country where we are free to be what we want to be, to do what we want to do, to say what we want to say, and to believe what we want to believe.  I am so grateful for both my LDS and my American heritage. Both were gifted to me by great-grandparents who were willing to leave behind the comforts of home and friends and to emigrate to the United States in the nineteenth century.  I will forever honor and pay homage to my pioneer ancestors from Norway and Holland!

Since our arrival here I haven't posted much concerning our activities here in São Paulo. To begin this post, I want to attach a picture of the Museu das Artes de São Paulo, referred to as the MASP. It is located on Avenida Paulista, the banking hub of São Paulo, just a few doors from where Carlie and I work Monday through Friday.  We have had an opportunity to visit the museum on a couple of occasions and have enjoyed the beautiful art exhibited there.

We are assigned to serve in the Centro de Recursos de Empregos (an Employment Resource Center) for individuals who are seeking to find a job, or better employment, by enrolling in classes designed to improve their communication skills and self confidence. The courses we present are given free of charge and are available for both members and nonmembers of the Church.  This being said, about 80% of those who have attended the classes I have given are members of the Church, usually between 21 and 35 years of age.

In late March, Carlie and I participated in presenting an orientation class for individuals who had accepted an invitation to help others by serving as Stake Welfare Specialists in the stakes (church units) here in São Paulo.

What you see below are pictures of that event.

As the Stake Specialists arrived at the Employment Resource Center, they were greeted by a group of young people who regularly serve as volunteers here at the Resource Center.  Many of these volunteers are individuals who previously participated in the courses we offer, and while they continue their job search, they volunteer to help others seeking employment by registering them for educational classes or other training.

Once an individual is registered, the volunteers track his or her progress, by updating their job search file with a record of each class they complete, including the number of times they come to the Resource Center to use our computers to search for employment opportunities or other educational classes offered by local governmental entities or private schools or universities.

The photo below is of Irmão Bassi, the manager of the Employment Resource Center, addressing the Stake Employment Specialists, Stake Presidents or High Councilors assigned to oversee Welfare Services.
 Here is a picture of the Resource Center, looking toward Carlie's and my office.

Carlie, standing in front of a map of São Paulo.                                                   and yours truly.

I have added a few pictures of the room in which Carlie and I present the Curso de Auto-Suficência Profissional (CASP) or in other words, the Career Workshop. This workshop is a 12-hour course, that we usually present over a three-day period, 4 hours per day.

Another view of our classroom, looking toward the front of the room.

Here is a picture of Carlie and me, posing with our first CASP class. On the table in front of the group are treats we shared at the end of the three-day course, including cookies and the best tasting fruit juice in the world, Maracujá (passion fruit).

This picture show several jobseekers using the Employment Resource Center's facilities, including its computers and announcements of job opportunities. The door left ajar in the back leads to our office.

The following pictures were taken one afternoon as we left for lunch, and encountered a street band offering some music to passers-by.  I have no idea of the occasion or what the name of the band was.  Next to the concert area we found several large puppet-like costumes that had earlier been worn by several in the crowd watching the band.  Again, no clue what they were meant to represent.



Every day is an adventure here in São Paulo, a city of 22 million inhabitants!  We love this opportunity to be here among so many friendly people! Some day we may actually get used to the traffic!


Chelsea Pratt said...

What fun pictures! It's great to see what may seem ordinary to you all...just so that we can have a clearer picture in our minds of where you are and what you are doing. The Brazilian people in your photos are beautiful people! The city is unbelievably huge!!! Today is the 4th of July and while the b-bcue's and fireworks are fun, I really love going to church on or around the 4th where we are reminded of the incredible blessings we enjoy because of the sacrifices of others. It puts it all into perspective and it is a day of gratitude! We love and miss you very much.

One Big Happy Family said...

It's great reading about your adventures and seeing pictures. You both look awesome! Love you and miss you! XOOXOOX, Debbie

megan said...

It all looks so overwhelming!!! I'm so proud of you guys for being out there - SO FAR AWAY - and serving like this! We love to pray for you! I love you!