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Our official travel report

Travel report

Friday 1 May 2009

Governor Joost Hoffscholte, incoming governor Arend Sijpestijn and friends and family members came to the airport to wish the team a good journey and a great exchange.

The team left with a mascot, a teddy bear that will be donate to a crèche that was destroyed by floods. The team has raised funds for the reconstruction of this crèche.

Saturday and Sunday 2/3 May 2009

After a 24-hour trip, the team arrived on Saturday in the afternoon at the airport of Navegantes. We received a warm welcome by several Rotarians, among them governor Valdir Fiedler and GSE supervisor Sergio Correa.

That evening our hosts, the Weibt family, made a great dinner for the whole team to welcome us. Their house is situated near the beautiful coastline of Brazil. It’s the perfect environment to rest from the long journey and to get used to the 5-hour time difference.

The next morning the team has spend resting at the hostel “Pousada Ilha Feia” of Rotarian Antonio and his wife Gejane.

Monday 4 May 2009

After having rested in the weekend, the GSE programme started on Monday. This first day of the programme the team has visited the municipal of Gaspar. This village is situated in an area that has suffered most from the floods and landslides last November.

The crèche for which the team raised funds is also located in this area. The crèche, ‘Morro do Bau’, has been completely destroyed by the floods. In total the team has raised approximately 8.000 Euro’s for it’s reconstruction (2.750 Euro’s have been donated by friends and family, 5.000 Euro’s have been donated by rotary clubs from our home district, district 1580 in the Netherlands)

The committee of governor Valdir Fiedler will control the funds and make sure that it will be used for reconstruction purposes. Visiting the area and the crèche, the team was shocked to see the impact of the floods.

In the evening it was time to travel to the city of Blumenau, we’re the team was welcomed by the local Rotary club including the host families.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Tuesday morning the team has visited the factory of ‘Dudalina’ in Blumenau. This company designs and makes clothing since 50 years. It has started as a small family business and has grown to an international company with a production of 3.000.000 pieces of clothing per year.

In the afternoon the team has visited a small ‘cachaca’ factory in the hills near Blumenau. Cachaca is a typical Brazilian liquor, made of sugar cane. It was interesting to see how the sugar cane is being processed, still in a very traditional manner.

Afterwards the team has visited ‘Momento Ambiental’. This is an organisation that processes chemical waste by wrapping it, using special techniques, in huge basins.

At night al team members returned to their host families to have dinner with the families.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Wednesday morning the team has visited the city hall of Blumenau. We were welcomed at the city hall by a member of the city council and received a lot of information about the city of Blumenau and an insight of the manner the municipal dealt with the natural disaster of last November.

The team was interviewed at the city hall for a local television station.

That morning the team also visited a day care centre for young children called ‘Amiguinho feliz’ (happy little friend).

The team had a free afternoon and could prepare themselves for the first presentation that evening at Rotary club ‘Hermann Blumenau’.

The first presentation was a success, although we had to improvise because the English of some members wasn’t sufficient. Thanks to a Rotary member who spontaneously stepped forward, the whole presentation was translated in Portugues.

Thursday 7 May 2009

During the day the team members had vocational visits. In the evening a dinner for the whole team and their host families was organised by Rotarian Alexandre Ernani.

Lianne (industrial designer) has visited ‘Lince TV Studio’, were commercials are being designed and made. In the afternoon she went to ‘Belli Studio’ were illustrations and animations are being made. It was inspiring to see how well the designers can draw. The difference compared to Holland is the split up of the process. Every employee has its own task (for instance only the concept drawing of only the filling-in) but in Holland one design normally is responsabele for more the one task in the proces.

Mariska (lawyer) has visited lawfirm ‘Hess de Souza, Arend & Associates’. Owner Sergio Hess de Souza explained the outlines of the Brazilian system of law. Afterwards Mariska was given the opportunity to study several dossiers and to interview some of the employees of the law firm. During the day Mariska has visited several courts and a consumers organisation. At one of the courts she has interviewed a judge.

Misja has spent the day with her host father and Rotarian

Alexandre Ernani da Silva, an urologist. We visited a

public hospital, a private hospital and his own private clinic.

In the afternoon we met an endocrinologist and we talked

about the diabetes care. We also visited CAPS, a centre

for addicted people.

Sofie (occupational therapeut) has visited ‘CAPS’. This organisation gives specialist care to drug addicts. In the morning Sofie had a tour through the youth section of CAPS and got to speak to an Occupational therapist who is a young professional herself. In the afternoon the adult section was visited together with Misja. The centre has to deal with little money which makes the professionals very creative in giving the best care with little.

Friday 8 May 2009

In the morning the team has visited ABAM, an organisation that functions like a day care centre and at the same time as a shelter. The children that live at ABAM still have one or both parents, but custody has been taken from the parents due to neglect and abuse.

The children made a beautiful collage about the Netherlands. They also prepared a show with dances performed by several groups of children from different ages. The team couldn’t stay behind and improvised a Dutch dance.

In the afternoon the team has visited the project ‘Banco de leite’ (bank of milk). This project provides the possibility for women who gave birth recently and who have a sufficient production of milk to donate their milk to sick and premature babies. After being processed, the milk is used to feed these babies, who are believed to benefit from drinking this milk.

Later that afternoon the team has visited another project: ‘Casa de Apoio as Criancas com Neoplasia’. Translated this means: ‘house to help children with cancer’. In some ways the project can be compared to the work of the Ronald McDonald foundation.

Saturday 9 May

The first day we didn’t have a Rotary program. One of the host families brought us to Camboriu, a small city along the beach. We have made a trip through a park and enjoyed the view of the skyline. When we returned, we had a special Brazilian BBQ, the so called churrascaria. In the night we have visited one of the largest discotheques of Brazil. We had a wonderful time.

Sunday 10 May

It was Mother’s day and we all spent the day with our host family. Because it was mother’s day we went to the grant parents as well and we had a big lunch. Marijke participated with her host mother in a run against breast cancer.

In the afternoon we went to the next host family is Indaial, a small city with 500.000 inhabitants. We met each other and there was also a girl who has been an exchange student in the Netherlands in 2005/2006. It was very pleasant to meet her. The evening was spent with a meeting to talk the program over.

Monday 11 May

We have a meeting in the city hall. The mayor is unfortunately not present but instead someone else told us about the city. The city is named after a tree which is called India. We made a picture of the tree. Health care is a big problem in Indaial and also the tourism. The try to improve it, but they miss qualified people. After this we have met some members of the Rotary club of Rodeio and have a touristy trip through the mountains and we visit a monastery on 800 meters height. On our way back we visited a wine groove and a cachaca factory. In he evening we gave a short presentation to the Rotary club, there we met the mayor of Indaial.

Tuesday 12 May

The day started early in the local radio station Ponte FM. For more than half an hour we were ‘live’ on the radio. Our coordinator Samir Tillmann told about the GSE team, after that everyone was asked to tell something about their profession and about our impression of the city Indaial and the country. Pedro Mascimento,

(an English teacher and host father of Misja) translated everything in Portuguese. It was a very nice experience.

After everyone had a vocational visit. Lianne, Mariska and Sofie went to APAE, a centre for disabled people. Marijke and Misja went to a family program, where Misja gave education to a group of 25 diabetes patients. After we went to see the shelter of Bugio monkeys. Unfortunately Marijke en Misja missed it.

We met each other again in the furniture of wood called Butzke. They showed us the factory and they told us about the whole process. It was funny to hear that some products are sold on the Dutch market like Blokker and Leen Bakker.

Lianne stayed in the factory to talk about the design and the others went to other places for the vocational visit.

Mariska Mariska has visited the law firm of Ademar Keunecke in the city of Indaial. Ademar explained about the ethical code of Brazilian laywers, explained some interesting features about Brazilian law and showed Mariska the local court.

Marijke went to a tourist office.

Misja has visited a family program and gave education to a group of diabetes patients, who specially came to see the Dutch diabetes nurse. It was a very nice meeting.

Later in the afternoon Sofie and Misja went to CAPS, a centre for addicted people. Since they both already visited another CAPS a quick tour through this location was enough.

After a big thunderstorm in the afternoon, we gave a presentation to the Rotary club Indiail/ Indaial Nacoes and Indaial Palmeira. We enjoyed doing our presentation.

Wednesday 13 may

We appreciated the hospitality of the Brazilian people

very much, they want to show us everything. Our

program is very full and today we asked to shorten it.

We visit an organization of women fight against breast

cancer, a firm called Acidi (like a Chamber of Commerce) and the voluntary firemen. They showed us video’s and photos of the flood.

We have lunch in a ‘churrascaria’; a restaurant where the waiter walks around with grilled meat on spears. You can eat as much you like. The afternoon we spent on making the weblog. In the afternoon we went to the Rotary meeting in Timbo, where we didn’t give a presentation but just listened to the Brazilians and watched their traditions, like clapping to the flag. Brazilian people are very warm and like kissing. If you don’t know each other you still give three kisses to say hello.


Thursday 14 May

Vocational days

Lianne visited Muller, a factory of washing machines. The low-end market is large, because of the big income difference. For example in Holland, we only have metal front loaders (washing machine), but in Brazil there is a whole development of & market for plastic top loaders, because they are much cheaper.

Sofie has visited a physiotherapy practice of her host mother. Here she can see some physiotherapists working and get the change to use some facilities herself.

Mariska has visited the law firm of Walter Ramos Momm with whom she exchanged facts and point of view about Brazilian and Dutch law. Walter also gave a guided tour around the local university. At the university law students attend people with juridical problems who cannot afford to pay a lawyer.

Misja had visited a small hospital where the only have preventions departments and first aid, without beds for patients to stay. They showed her how they try to prevent the growth of the Dengue mosquito.

After this we went to the city hall of Timbo, where we met the mayor, mister Schuzter. The city has 35.000 inhabitants and there live a lot of Italian and German people. Our bus driver liked to play on his accordion and he played for us during the lunch and on the mountain Morro Azul where we drove with the bus to have a nice view over the city. In the evening we went to Schornstein Choperia brewery. We tasted the wonderful beers. After a few glasses the Dutch girls started to dance the polonaise! Everybody joined us. It was a great evening.

Friday 15 May

In the morning we have vistited Apae, it was a very beautiful place. After this we brought a short visit to the hospital of Timbo.

Brazilian people like to eat sweet things. Typical cake from Santa Catarina is the banana cake, We liked it very much.

After lunch we said goodbye to our host families and we went to see the studfarm Morro Azul. Mariska and Misja wanted to ride on a horse, but that was not possible. The bus went to Jaragua do Sol where the Rotary conference started and we stayed in a hotel We joined in the evening the traditional governors diner. We put our beautiful clothes and we had a good diner with lovely caipirinha’s.

Saturday 16 May

The conference has been opened officially with the flag parade. The first flag was the Rotary international flag, after the flags of local Rotary clubs and after that the flags of the countries the exchange students came from. Hey song the Brazilian folk song and the Brazilian flag song. It was a very busy day, the program was taking the whole day. We gave our presentation in the afternoon and we were all a little bit nervous. We gave a short introduction of ourselves and Marijke handed symbolically the amount of money, which was shared by the GSE mebers and the Dutch Rotary district 1580 to the governor Valdir Fiedler. The money is meant to rebuild the crèche in Morro do Bau. Marijke also handed the governor the present of the Dutch governor of district 1580 Joost Hoffscholte.

At the end of our presentation we were surprised by the Brazilians. They wanted to thank us for the money and asked us to make a painting with our hands. They will put id in the new built crèche. It was a great honor!

Sunday 17 may 2009

After lunch the conferences got closed by planting trees to compensate for the CO2 emission the conference had caused. This happening took place in a park at the other site of the city. Because the car with trees got lost everyone had to wait. Finally the trees could be planted with a delay.

After two very intensive weeks today the team went to an outhouse of Joao Prim from Indaial. Everyone was surprised by the beauty of the mountains and the hospitality of the family. After arrival we had a delicious Feijoada made on the on wood fired cooker.

Monday 18 May 2009

Today was a free day in which we could relax in a beautiful house in the mountains with view on the lake. Mariska, Misja and Sofie made a small walk through the beautiful nature. A very good lunch was made by the family who owned the place. Their daughter had been a exchange student to the Netherlands for a year.

At the end of the day we had to leave this beautiful place and were driven to Rio do Sul. Here our new host families were waiting and had diner with us in a Italian restaurant.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Today Marijke has her birthday and will be celebrated!

First a childshelter for children who have been taken away from their parents will be visit. In the first six months the parents get the change to show that they are capable enough to raise their child. After these six months a long adaptation process will be started. On average this process will take two to three years.

Then the team visits a elderly home in the surroundings of Rio du Sul. These people do not have family nearby or the family has no facilities to take care of them. This centre for the most part dependents on charities.

In the afternoon a tour through the surroundings of Rio do Sul was made in an open air van. We got to see a beautiful waterfall. During this tour recordings were made by the local TV.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

In the morning the team has a interview with the regional TV. This evening the recording will be showed.

After the interview all team members will have a vocational visit.

Mariska has visited the law firm of Antonio Naschenweng Neto, a young lawyer in the city of Rio do Sul. Antonio explained several issues about Brazilian law and the Brazilian bar association. Together they visited the local bar association.

Sofie and Misja bring a visit to a nursinghome ‘Trombudo Central’ in the next village. The center has to deal with little money and facilities. Because of this every year the local Rotaryclub raises money to provide the center an extra facility. Sofie and Misja advises them to buy a lift to help to transfer the patients. At this moment the nurses have to carry the patients themselves with causes a lot of back pain and absenteeism.

Sofie and Misja have visited an elderly home. It was an organization between a hospital and a revalidation centre. They showed us how they are working. The local Rotary club sponsors every year a project in this hospital. We talked about what they can ask the Rotary club for next year. A help for carry people out of bed into the chair etc.

Lianne first went to the company of her host father ‘Elber’. Build-in refrigerators for cars & boats. It was a modern company with its own designers. In the afternoon she made a round tour through the ‘Elder’ factory which manufactures build fridges and sound boxes for cars. They gave Lianne a warm welcome and a detailed tour through the company. 70 % of the workers in the yard are girls, from the age of 16 and older. It was sad to see that they work on the assembly line and probably don’t have time or energy to go to school after work.

Thursday 21 May 2009

During the free morning the team has time to work for the weblog. After lunch with the host families it is time to go to the next city, Rio Negrinho.

Friday 22 May 2009

Today the team has a citytour through the very little city Rio Negrinho (50.000 inhabitants). A visit to the local museum and a shopping was made. The rest of the day everyone has time to better get to know the host families.

In the evening the team helped the rotary club with the preparations for the party tomorrow night.

Saturday 23 May 2009

In the morning the team visits a grand furniture fair in Sao Bento accompanied by the Rotaryclub from this city.

After lunch a city tour through the little city Sao Bento was arranged. This night the local Rotaryclub from Rio Negrinho has organized a big party with the theme: ‘Night of the hits’. The proceeds of this party will be used for several charities. It was a very nice swinging party!

Sunday 24 May 2009

F:\Sofie\8 joinville\DSC01086.JPGThe party of yesterday went on all night. Therefore we had a long sleep in the morning. The rest of the day everyone stayed with their host family. Most Brazilian families are used to have a big lunch with family and friends on Sunday. The Sunday afternoon is for resting and relaxing. Misja and Sofie went to a farm with horses. The farm was beautiful, but there was no chance to do some horseback riding. The horse was to skittish en it wasn’t clear which tack to use. A pity! Mariska laid in de sun. Marijke had some rest. Lianne sorted out the photos of all the group members.

Monday 25 May 2009

Today we leave to Joinville, the last city we will visit in Brazil. With a mini-van we are transported from Rio Negrinho to Joinville. When we arrive we are welcomed by our new host families. We get a small city tour after disposing our luggage. Joinville is the biggest city we visit and had around 500.000 inhabitants.

Tuesday 26 May 2009


We visit the national museum in Joinville. Initially build for the Princess and Prince of Joinville in 1870. The couple never went to the complete decorated county house. On the second floor of the little palace the portraits give an impression of the many German immigrants that arrived in 1850 as representatives of the German Emperor. Together with a few ‘exchange students’ we travel by van to some hotspots of Joinville; a watchtower with magnificent view of the city and a visit to Zoo Botanico.

Then we visit ‘Viapaxbio’, producer of organic foods. The company was founded in 1994 and is the first company in Brazil that delivers 100% biological products. This year Viapaxbio started to export its products to Europe and America, because the market in Brazil is very small. There is a lack of education and products are 3 times more expensive than ‘normal food’. The son of the owner gives a presentation and a tour around the company. This visit ends with a very nice biological and vegetarian dinner.

Vocational day 28 May

Urologist Ernesto Reggio invited Misja to see who he did a kidney stone surgery in the Unimed hospital in Joinville. It was very interesting.

Sofie visits the Occupational therapy faculty of the ACE (Catarinense Association of Education) University in Joinville. Here she can talk with students and teachers. Also a tour through the building was made. The faculty is located in a relative poor neighborhood and therefore has a social program in which students can practice with local people and gain information for research, and at the same time these local people obtain free check-ups and specialized care.

Wednesday 27 May

In the day care center Pauli Madi we get a warm welcome by ‘padre’ Facchini, who established a fund for children from poor families in 1994. Initially children got a good warm meal at noon. This developed into a shelter where children can stay before and after school to prevent them from going astray. Volunteers organize sport activities, but also computer and guitar lessons. Per day approximately 200 children make use of the program. Nowadays there are 30 locations in the area of Joinville where 4000 children are taken care of by around 420 volunteers. Not all locations have supporting activities next to the food supply, but there is an ambition to develop the program further. The shelters are financed by gifts including the financial support of the local Rotary clubs.

After a presentation about the ‘kitchen project’ we visit one of the shelters where children get a warm meal daily. The complex is called ‘Jardim Edilene’ en is stationed in a very poor community just outside Joinville. The parents of the children are poor and the meal the children receive is often the only meal they eat per day. Sometimes the parents are addicted to alcohol or drugs. The whole situation makes a big impression on us. The building is still under construction, but unfortunately there is a lack of finances to build the next building. As a symbol, a red trunk ‘pau Brazil’ tree is planted to represent the start of the next building. We have lunch together with the children prepared by the ‘cook mothers’.

In the afternoon we visit the international ballet school ‘Bolshoi’. This is the only establishment outside of Russia, but the education is a copy of the Russian model. Many Russian teachers give lessons to the strong selected students in the age category from 8 until 18 years. The beautiful building was opened in 2000 and we get a detailed tour.

At night we have dinner at ‘ Opa bier’. Maybe the name tells you something different…it is a place with a few restaurants under one roof, where Opa beer is served.

Thursday 28 May

Early in the morning Lianne visits the university where she speaks to the manager of an incubator (building for young entrepreneurs). The support for starting entrepreneurs seems to be more in Holland.

We visit the 8 year old industrial park Fabio Perini. 80 companies from different branches with in total 4500 employees are established in the park. We get a tour from the manager of the park along the companies Bosch, Sesi (a medical practice), Cisa (a big sterilization company for hospitals). The last company we visit is car company TAC, who makes new 4 wheel drive cars. The product parts are produced elsewhere in Brazil and the assembly by hand is done here. The doors aren’t made of metal, but of polyester. The car isn’t on the market yet, but Marijke makes a test drive ‘off road’.

In the afternoon Sofie brings a visit to the faculty of ergo therapy at a university in Joinville.

At night we are in the private hospital Unimed, where we get a tour from Ernesto, an urologist. Misja gives a presentation to nurses and doctors about diabetes care in Holland. After the presentation many people from the audience ask questions. Before and after the presentation Misja is interviewed and photographed by a journalist, who will write an article in a national specialist journal. ‘It was the most special vocational experience I had!’

At night we have a lovely dinner with fish and French wine in the house of one of the Rotarians from Joinville.

Friday 29 May

Today we leave early to Florianopolis with a rented van. The distance to travel is 200 km. We are very glad that the organization could arrange this trip, because it wasn’t included in the original program. A visit to the city & dunes was the advice of many Brazilians we met. Florianopolis is the capital city of Santa Catarina with around 350.000 inhabitants. It is consists of an Island next to the state. We visit a market and buy souvenirs including ‘ haviaianas’ ; real Brazilian flip-flop’s, which are also popular in the Netherlands. After that we take a look around in the city centrum. We have lunch in a fish restaurant near the water in one of the bays, where the sea-gulls, herons and street dogs wait for the left-over’s outside.


The area has 34 beautiful beaches en it is a famous place for surfers and dune snowboarders. We visit the ‘Joaguina’ beach. The weather doesn’t allow us to jump into the sea, but we do enjoy the sea view. At night we all take a little nap in the van with a long & fun day in our minds.


Saturday 30 May 2009

In between the mainland of Joinville and the Island Sao Fransisco do Sul lies the Babitonga Bay. A big touristic motor boat takes us across to the Island Sao Francisco do Sul. The boot view offers many small Islands spread around the bay. There are a few beautiful country houses with their own small harbors on many of these Islands. A little paradise!

The good-bye dinner is held in a typical Brazilian restaurant: ‘‘Rodizio de pizza’. Waiters serve all kind of pizzas. As soon as you see a tasteful pizza you will tell the waiter. It is a good concept. This way it’s possible to taste different pizzas. In Brazil they have many salty pizza’s, like we also know, but they also have an assortment of sweet pizzas. You eat these pizzas as a desert. We had a good time with our host families & the GSE-organizations of this week in Joinville.


Sunday 31 May 2009

Today is our last day with the host families in Joinville. Again, we stayed with very friendly and inspiring Brazilian people. The good-bye is therefore more difficult, but on the other hand we are looking forward to see our family and friends again. We travel with a van from Joinville to the airport near Navegantes, where a small airplane takes us to Sao Paulo. Tonight at 19:45 hour (Brazilian time) we leave to Paris. Tomorrow we will arrive in Paris around noon and after a two hour break we’ll fly to Amsterdam.


Monday 1 June 2009

Luckily, we returned home save. The moment we arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam we heard another airplane disappeared from the radar. That airplane departure from Rio de Janeiro and we departed from Sao Paulo approximately one hour later. We flu the same route to Paris just like, what we later discovered crashed, airplane. During our travel we didn’t notice bad weather of strong turbulence, but the whole situation gave us a fright. With the plane crash in our minds, it was extra special to meet our family and friends again.