Anna Randolph
Anna Randolph
Brazil 2015 - 2016
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Oi! My travel takes me to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for six months to work in arts-focused community development with the organization International Volunteer Headquarters. By supporting art education programs in communities throughout Rio, I hope to promote art as a vehicle for social change. Read More About Anna →

Week Twenty Three

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As I sit down to write this post I can’t help but mention the weight on my head and my heart from my upcoming departure from Rio. As the end of January approaches, my time in Rio begins to come to a close. People have asked me so many questions regarding my time in Rio, what it meant, why I went, and what comes after I leave. The problem with this is that I simultaneously have two many answers to these questions and none at all. My time in Rio has lead me in so many directions, given me so many new perspectives, and guided me through a sort of self-actualizing pilgrimage. That being said, its really hard for me to wrap up six months in Rio into one succinct statement that feels both authentic and whole. But I am absolutely okay with this. I don’t necessarily think I need to have all the answers now, and furthermore I think part of this whole journey is allowing myself the time to breathe it in, let it simmer, and take it as it comes. I may have too many or not enough answers right now, but I am comforted that what I have felt, what I have experienced, what I have lived for the last six months is real and genuine.

I still have one more week to spend with the city I have fallen head over heals for!¬†One more week to pack with as many adventures I can, one more week to, in the words of Dr. Andi Stepnick- only one of the most honest people I know, “squeeze out as much justice and meaning” as I can. So in the mean time, here are some of the awesome things I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in the last couple weeks.

Pre-Carnival has started in Rio. While I’m gutted that I won’t be staying to see the whole extravaganza that is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, I am very thankful to get to partake in the pre-carnival blocos. In case you are new to Carnival, a bloco or a bloc is a street festival where people gather to listen and play music, dance, sing, parade through the streets, and celebrate the culture that is Brazil. Let’s put it this way- its completely mental and absolutely amazing. Perhaps my favorite bloco that I’ve been to so far is in the neighborhood Flamengo and it’s called “Orquestra Voador” or the Flying Orchestra. Pretty cool right? The festival consisted of a one hundred plus people orchestra playing everything from trombones to drums to wooden vases cover in beads. The best part? Everyone dresses up for Carnival- think Halloween. Every member of the band was wearing pajamas. The musicians were surrounded by people dancing and playing music on stilts. We ate churros, sambaed around in a circle, and belted out the lyrics to songs we just learned. Needless to say it, it was incredible.

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Speaking of Carnival, we have been doing pre-carnival activities with the children at Emarca. This week we made masks and hats of all sorts. We cut out shapes and then the kids were able to decorate them however they liked. Glitter gathered in the room like dust, and Brazilian funk music played in the background. We talked about the differences in celebrating Carnival all around the city. The smiles on their faces glowed with anticipation for Brazilians favorite time of the year.

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My time may be coming to a close, but Brazil gives me more everyday. I’m still surprised, I’m still in love, and I can’t wait to see what is still in store. Until next time, Tchau amigos.

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