It has been a few days since any of us has had a moment to post. You all would not believe the experiences we are having and its only been eight days...I think....sorry I lost track of the days a while ago.
This is what I do know...Rotary is amazing and they are definitely doing amazing things in SP! On Friday we got a chance to visit IPP (Instituto Profissionalizante Paulista). This is a program that provides job training and education to students to fill administrative positions for different companies. The students spend one day a week there in addition to their regular hours at school. All of the kids we talked to have jobs at different places, publishing houses or even companies like Citibank- who is a major corporate sponsor of the program. The students are learning about professionalism, how to dress and other components necessary for maintaining their positions. The students were so cool and very interested in us. Our time with them was brief but it definitely made an impact!
On another note: Did you know that in Sao Paulo there is a law that requires companies to hire a certain number of individuals with disabilities? Imagine how your office would be different if you interacted with a person living with a physical or mental disability on a daily basis? Our understanding of what life is like for people who live with these challenges would certainly be expanded. Its also encouraging to know legislation like that can be passed and enforced.
Later on we traveled to the Microsurgery Unit at a nearby hospital (sorry I forgot the name of the hospital!) where we learned that Rotary not only provided equipment for microsurgery, but also supported the education of several doctors to use the equipment. We saw pictures of hands that where completely severed and because of what Rotary has accomplished injured people can have their limbs reattached and have a high percentage of functioning return. We all left in awe of the diversity in the projects that Rotary is committed to and also the vast number of people that are benefiting from what Rotary is doing in Sao Paulo.
We had lunch that afternoon with the Avenue Paulista club and interestingly enough one of the members found an article published that morning where Citibank notes the IPP program as one of the most important programs it sponsors. WOW!
It was an eye opening day that was capped off with a great walking tour of Avenue Paulista. So after this busy week we were shuttled off to Embu for a weekend of relaxation. Ahh, Embu.....we just got back to SP from Embu and Embu deserves its own post, but for now I will say this: Embu was wonderful so stay tuned for more details on the shopping, the dancing and the CHURRASCARIA!!!