Wednesday May 14: We took a short ride to a nearby favela (poor community) to spend the day at Escola Viva: a small non-profit elementary school for the community kids. It reminded me a lot of New Hope Academy in Franklin, TN as we spent the afternoon playing and relating with the kids. They showed us some of their favorite dances, sang us their national song, and played us in futbol (cough cough we actually won). It is the simple things that matter here. That is something I like about Brazil. Yes, they are in awe at our iphones and fun electronics, but in reality they are content with running around barefoot, dancing to music, singing aloud, and playing simple games we only remember in our dreams. I’ve never seen a little girl so tickled as I did when I pretended to fall during a game of hop-scotch, nor have I ever seen a group of kids so determined and passionate about a game of futbol. Being a camp counselor at a summer camp for children I saw just how different and similar these kids worked. Unlike American children who are given countless options and can become choosy and ungrateful at times when it comes to games, activities, etc, these children at Escola Viva were satisfied with whatever song came on the cd player, whichever game was being played, whatever dance was being danced. Braiding hair is a universal past time I have found. Wherever I go, New Hope Academy, Williamson County Summer Camp, or Escola viva, I find little hands running through my hair. Gifts are also a universal enjoyment. When I broke out my Ohio State face stickers at Escola Viva I promise you I felt like a piece of bread being swarmed by birds, and it is the same in the states; break out any little candy or prize and you are automatically the most favorite camp counselor around. These kids were a breath of fresh air. It is endearing to see such beauty in the freedom of adolescence. To see the basics of fun and happiness come through 130 children’s faces just by dancing with them, giving them a sticker, or pretending to fall over in hop-scotch. I hope to take some of this fresh air back with me to the states. That night we tried Acai for the first time. Healthy, refreshing, delicious. It is like a smoothie…but it’s better. They have it at Smoothie King if you must try it in the states but bear in mind the Brazilian acai will always be superior.