I spent February to June 1994 in Brazil, staying with a family distantly related to me, who were supported by the Good Shepherd Trust, a charity which has now disbanded. Andrew and Gaynor’s work involved arranging international adoptions, whilst Andrew was also involved in running a Christian book distribution organisation. They were also responsible for a couple of homes in São Paulo (which are being run by another charity) run for children taken directly off the streets, where they were cared for whilst new parents were found. I spent quite a bit of time in these homes, helping to look after the children (first time I’ve changed a nappy, and I’m not in a hurry to do it again!), but spent most of my time looking after the children that Andrew and Gaynor had adopted, getting up at about 6.15am, but having most of the afternoons to myself, time which I largely spent wandering around Mogi das Cruzes, trying to learn some Portuguese! I also spent a week in Rio de Janeiro with my Mum’s cousin, and a week near the Mato Grosso, with a couple I met on the plane. I was in Brazil when Aryton Senna died, in fact walking past the Interlagos race circuit the day he died. It was as if Royalty had died!
Here are some photos of my defining moments, experiences and impressions of Brazil!
It was a very challenging time in my life, as I had never been away from home before (aside from Guide camps 1/2 hour’s drive from home), had never flown before, didn’t know the language, didn’t know what I was letting myself in for, etc. The first two weeks were a nightmare, and I very much wanted to go home, but I persevered and after it got past the halfway point it was much easier! It certainly made going away to university much easier.
- Jubilee Action: Brazil Community Project /Music School
- Oxfam: Work in Brazil
- Not for Kids: Street Children Take over National Congress, 1995
- Task Brasil: The Abadoned Street Kids of Brazil Trust
- Cross-Cultural Solutions: International Volunteer Programme
- Check Amazon for books on Brazil
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.