Day 16 & 17: Final Trip Home and The End

After a long trip home a combined total of more than 60 hours of traveling, the team has all made their way safely home to the US as well as to Canada.

We would like to thank all of you for all your prayers and thoughtful words during our trip as well as the blessings you have sent us. Please continue to pray for CLM and all the hard work that they do on a daily basis as well as blessings on all the kids and caregivers who call CLM their home.

Thank you again to all our reader!

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Day 15: Final Goodbye’s and Adventures in Curitiba

The final morning at our CLM home came very quickly and we headed downstairs with our 5 instead of 11 bags to say goodbye. We made a circle for a final prayer together as a group, gave our hugs, and piled into the kombi with Raphael, Dina, and Wal, who were all heading to Curitiba with us. They made another human chain in attempts for a us to stay, but we did end getting to the bus station within about 2 minutes of the buses arrival, so the ploy almost worked. We met Mary at the stop who gave us big farewell hugs, and Juan who also piled into the bus with our big CLM group. The long bus ride through the winding roads of Brazil was relatively uneventful, except for the masses amounts of construction that reminded us all of home and the roads jam packed with traffic.

Once we got to Curitiba, we said another goodbye which was to Juan, and split away from Dina and Wal while we headed to our hotel to drop off our stuff with Raphael, before we went to tour the city. We met up again with the full group at a mall and had lunch together before Dina had to catch an appointment. The rest of us went around through the city of Curitiba in search of some hammocks, but after wandering for a while in the beautiful cobble stone streets we gave up and decided to drive to a park to watch the sunset. We arrived to a beautiful park over looking a dense forested area one side and the streets on another and watched the final light of the day sink on the horizon, even if it was covered by some clouds. We walked around the area and even to a spot for a cave, which ended up being blocked off, but we all had a wonderful time touring the beautiful landscapes. After dark we met up with Dina again at a cute little coffee shop called the Orna Cafe, and spent our remaining time together with our dear friends before saying our final goodbyes to the last of the CLM family. A special thanks goes to Raphael who throughout the city was our personal guide and translator, without whom we would most likely be lost and confused, but he made for an amazing way to end our trip in Brazil.

Day 13 & 14: Projects Completed!

Apologies for the lack of blog posts for the past few days… It has been quite a busy time. But here is a recap on the teams final days in Brazil.

On Wednesday, we were on our final stretch. After finding a hidden railing on the other side of the compound, the girls quickly jumped to work and finished the priming and painting to completion, finally ensuring that all the railings were freshly painted. The playgrounds were hard at work to finish everything.

By Thursday, the playground was also finished! The entire team as well as other caregivers and some of the boys from the home worked hard to wrap up any loose ends. By the end of Thursday, the team had beautifully crafted a playground that was fully equipped with monkey bars, a wood bridge, a slide, and a new roof, all ready for playing and as Andrew says “ready to stand for 100 years.” While this was happening, the girls decided to paint the swing sets. They bought coloured paint and actively got (almost) all of those who were at CLM to put their hand print on the swing set. The colourful hand prints were to represent the many lives that CLM has touched and put each name under each hand print to remind everyone who’s hand was who and to see over the years on how they’ve grown.

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In the evening, after church, everyone gathered around in the food area and had a final celebration and a night to say goodbye to each other. We spent the night taking photos, and talking and spending a final night with our new friend and drinking white and black cows, which is a rendition of floats but with Guaraná and coke with ice cream! It was a sad but amazing last night with our friends, enjoying our final moments together. The team then went back to their apartment to finish last minute packing as well as sleep to prepare for the long trip to Curitiba the next day.

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Day 12: Cupcakes and Bridges

Today was another beautiful sunny day, slowly making up for the terrible weather from the last week. The team was able to check off a few more boxes of work, before we head home in a couple of days.

The railing areas were scraped, scrubbed, and cleaned of the paint drippings finishing off the front side of the home, but since the girls had some extra time and paint before moving to the swing set, they sanded and primed a small balcony in order to finish off all the railings.

The playground is still coming along nicely, but the kids are growing more and more anxious of its completion everyday. Many of the older boys and caregivers have come to share the load of work, and have been excellent extra hands; they even are making a line to be the next to drill and are very excited about the new skills they have been learning from the team. In result of being fueled by another delicious Brazilian lunch made by a few of the caregivers, once the end of the day rolled by, they completed the chain bridge, cemented and placed the slide, secured all the beams, and fixed one of the swings for the third time.

The girls later in the afternoon, gathered all the younger kids to ice and decorate cupcakes with surprisingly easy and delicious icing using some of the leftover whipped cream from Sunday’s breakfast. Each child made their own tasty treat, topped with layers upon layers of sprinkles that fell off all over themselves and the floor once they went to eat them. After they were done with the cupcakes, it did not stop them from eating more sugar, so they took to their bowls of icing and dumped not just sprinkles, but GRAPE SODA into their bowls and each began eating them with spoons……After eating more than the daily recommended intake of sugar, even to Brazilian standards, Mikayla spent the next hour watching all 7 kids run in circles after the ridiculous amounts of sugar running through their bloodstreams, making sure none of them lost a finger. Rachel on the other hand had equally difficult role of scraping the fat filled, buttery icing off all the dishes, first dragging them up two flights of stairs and back down again, getting both clean dishes and a convenient workout. Apparently she too had lot’s of sugar to burn, since near the end of the day she raced with one of the kids, but due to a faulty start one her part, the final winner is still unknown.

Overall, it was a day well spent whether it was hard at work, or spending time with all the wonderful kids, the team is still enjoying the precious memories being made after each day.

 

 

Day 11: Goodbyes to Our Southern Friends

Today we said a sad goodbye to half of our team. The Weinhardt’s said goodbye to the Lumsden’s who had to begin their long trip home early. The team prayed together for blessings and safety and then made their way to bring the bags to the Kombi. The team was then met with some of the kids and caregivers from CLM to join in with the goodbye. Together we all took a photo and said our goodbyes while the Lumsden’s climbed into the Kombi for their final and long trip Curitiba to the airport. While the Kombi was travelling out, some of the kids and caregivers along with Rachel and Mikayla made a human barricade and started to chant “no pass”. The Lumsden’s then began their long 30+ hour trip back to Wooster.

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While the Lumsden’s were on their long trip home, the Weinhardt’s began their work for the day. The team split off into groups. Lydia, Rachel, and Mikayla worked on the railings while Dan and Andrew went to go finish the playground.

The railing group began to finish the remainder of the tedious job. They all began to work and after a long, hot, and sticky (both the paint and the heat) day in the sun, had managed to complete all the necessary railings, with just enough paint to spare.

While this was happening, Dan and Andrew along with a caregiver named Raphael, began to work hard on the playground. The playground began to come into place and all the pieces began to fit together and started to look complete. By the end of the day, the playground almost was complete. The monkey bars and roofing frame were set, the platforms were completed and started to look and feel like a real playground. The children then all eagerly came to play on the new toy; swinging on the swings and climbing on the monkey bars. The remainder of the day light was filled with laughing and smiles while the children were playing as well as given a tractor ride from Kasnocha. The most of the team spent the remainder of the evening in the warm apartment, while Rachel and Mikayla spent some of the evening teaching the older girls melting beads, as well as making bracelets and playing “Uno” all while periodically watching a sad movie. After a long and productive day, the team eagerly (and thanks to a wonderful gift of a heater) bundled up for a warm and much needed sleep.

 

Day 10: Sunday Brunch

Today, the team finally had the opportunity to repay the favor of all the delicious food and was able to make all of CLM a pancake breakfast for lunch. Similar to our work during the week, the team split up into various roles and utilized the two kitchens to ensure everything went smoothly.

Part of the team was downstairs making the pancakes with a makeshift pan for maximum surface area, while also cooking sausages and cutting up fruit. In the upstairs kitchen the other part of the team was making whipped cream by adding more than just a spoonful of sugar because without it, the cream was definitely not going to go down. They were also in charge of the gluten-free pancakes.

By noon, brunch was ready to go and we rounded everyone up in the pavilion and had food I’m sure iHOP would be proud of, stocked with both fake and real maple syrup. After the brunch, we all enjoyed the beautiful sunny day and appreciated the full day of rest. Some played sports with the kids, including a very competitive game of soccer, we threw the Frisbee, and even redeemed ourselves in another game of volleyball; others took the time to be in fellowship with the caregivers, so overall it was a wonderful day spent growing the beautiful friendships we have made during our time here.

We then all went to church, where there was a celebration for a couple who has been married for 40 years and two birthdays, in which we spent time in prayer for these souls. Brother Thad, then shared a beautiful message about having trust in God continuously throughout our lives, even if we think our way is the right way, it is better to stand there and let God use us, rather than do something without His guidance. This message was graciously translated by Bethany, so the congregation could understand and we ended the service with a song from our group (it was asked of us, we did not volunteer). We sang ‘It is Well’ to show a traditional hymn from our churches and Bethany happily sang along to the familiar hymn for the congregation. After the prayer we informally sang a few more hymns with other English speakers and went home clinging to the heaters and blankets for the very chilly night ahead.

Day 9: Campfires and Churrascaria’s

Yesterday was Saturday, which means we’ve been at CLM officially for 1 full week now! Saturday began quite leisurely in comparison to the other days. Some of the group woke up later than others but all resulted in eating a laid back “help yourself” breakfast. While some of the other team was slowly emerging from their rooms, others were ready to go earlier than later to get started on the new day.

Dan, Andrew and Caleb eagerly took advantage of the beautiful morning. The team started on the playground, working hard to finish what they could. Throughout the afternoon, the team worked hard on measuring, cutting, and placing the boards on the playground base as well as create monkey bars to add in the future. By the end of the day, the playground had a platform for children to play and a fully functioning set of monkey bars! The kids were so happy to play and sit and test out the new playground!

While this was happening, the painting group finished prepping the final set of railings while others started the other railings final coats! Thad and Betty began by finishing final coat of paint on the lower railings while Lydia, Rachel, and Mikayla began the upper railings. The group was able to completely finish the lower railings while through unorthodox methods was able to finish painting most of the upper railings.

After finishing all they could for the day, the team spent the remainder of the daylight playing games with the kids and for some, going for a walk down to the waterfall that is on the CLM premise.

During the night, the team split off into two. One part of the group went to a churrascaria in Guarapuava with some of the staff and their families. The group had a great night of talking and eating many, many, assortment of meats and until fully full on Brazilian cuisine. The remainder of the team spent the night with some of the children from CLM. The team had a fire again, where the children and the caregivers spent the remainder of the night laughing, telling stories, playing instruments and eating marshmellows, s’mores & ‘octo-dogs’! Together they played mini sticks, the Brazilian rendition of Uno, and taught each other how to make different friendship bracelets. When the night ended, the team then settled in and prepared to embrace the upcoming cold cold night.