Thursday, June 7, 2012

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6/2/12 Today was such a great day. The whole house, with the exception of Paulo and Marcia (who isn’t feeling well) loaded up in the pickup for a field trip. Marquinho gave us a tour of the church in Cimbres, and then took us to Nossa Senhora das Graças, an incredible overlook outside of Cimbres. To get to the top, one had to climb up hundreds of stairs and a few little smooth inclines. This trek is not for the faint of heart. Marcos Paulo was determined to beat everybody to the top, and didn’t seem to find it as funny as I did when I would race him past him every once in a while. All throughout the course of the steps were religious icons, and at the top of the hill there was a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I don’t think one can go more than five minutes in Brazil without seeing some kind of religious symbol; religion here is very open and signs of Catholicism are literally everywhere. The view from up the top was absolutely incredible and was worth every bit of effort it took to get there. Today was our last day with Marquinho; he had a meeting come up in Brasilia at the last minute so he’s going to be gone the last few days we’re here. To top it off, after we got back from Nossa Senhora das Graças he had to go back to work and didn’t get back to the house until almost ten, so it was a quick goodbye before bedtime. Though it was short, it was an extremely hard goodbye to say. He thanked us for coming here and for taking the time to learn and spread the word about his people, but really it was us who needed to thank him. The time I’ve spent here and the things I have experienced is something that cannot possibly be described with just words; it’s something that I feel in my heart and in the lump in my throat. It’s as though I’ve been asleep and my eyes have been opened for the very first time. Leaving the “safe net” of North Dakota to be completely immersed in such a culture laden with extreme beauty and pain has changed the ways I look at myself and the world I live in. The modest “thank you” that I was able to say in Portuguese will never do justice how thankful I truly am for the time I’ve been able to spend here learning from these people. The cacique is a firm believer in living with your whole heart; whatever it is one strives for in life, devote yourself to it and always give 100 percent. Don’t just go through the motions of living. This is so much easier said than done; I feel like we get so wrapped up in the trivial things that flood our lives that we miss what is actually important. My biggest goal when I get home is to do exactly that – making sure I’m actually living my life rather than just living on autopilot. -Shayla Previous Item Next Item

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