by Jessi Hanson, Education Associate, ChildFund Program Quality
Editor’s Note: A ChildFund team has been working in Brazil for several weeks to carry out two pilot projects with netbook technology. As with any trip to the field, there are moments of exhaustion and exhilaration, as Jessi reflects.
Why We Do the Work We Do
One of the most personally impactful moments of the trip was going into a rural village where we have sponsored and enrolled children. I walked with ChildFund Brazil’s national director and several national office staff. The first house we came upon was made of adobe with a dirt floor. It had no electricity or running water. A woman greeted us near the house. She was washing her family’s clothes, while standing knee deep in a filthy stream. She used a stick to help clean the sudsy clothes.
Once again, I was staring into the face of poverty.
This kind woman, who had grown up in this village with its harsh conditions, explained to us that she had enrolled her children with ChildFund so that they could receive a better education and health care. She expressed hope that her children would eventually find a better place to live, or if they remained with her, she hoped that they would have skills to find good jobs and one day improve the family home.
ChildFund Brazil will soon implement a water-treatment project in this village. We’re also working with the school to make sure children are attending daily and progressing well.
A Beautiful Moment
The highlight of this trip—and probably for my job this year—was sharing in the moment when a community facilitator achieved a perfect score on her distance learning test, using one of our netbooks and the Brainhoney software.
It was amazing!
When we began working with Imilene, she had seen computers but had never been online or even used a keyboard.
Her day-to-day work is with early childhood development in one of ChildFund’s small project areas just outside of Turmalina.
When Imilene completed the test, she threw her hands up in the air and began cheering! “I did it!” she said, nearly in tears. “I passed on the computer!”
It was a beautiful moment.
During lunch one day, I was going to get coffee, and a server handed me a large unfamiliar jug that reminded me of a gasoline container. In my terrible Portuguese, I asked, “Is this coffee?” She answered, “Yes, all sweetened coffee.” I almost died laughing at how wonderful this was — a huge container of wonderful coffee, but seemingly very dangerous to pour.
A Man of Many Talents
Traveling to ChildFund projects with ChildFund Brazil’s National Director Gerson Pacheco, we visited a community center with a room dedicated to Creativity and Expression. It was stocked with toys, art supplies and craft items. One corner was full of musical instruments for the local children to play whenever they visit. Gerson suddenly picked up a guitar and began playing. To our wonderful surprise we discovered our national director of Brazil is a man of many talents.