I realize it has been a while now since my last update, but it has been a busy three weeks! I finished up my time researching in Vale do Capão in the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia and spent a day in Salvador, Bahia before returning to Fortaleza to write my monograph and present it to the program. My last week and a half in Vale do Capão could not have been better. I finished up my interviews and was able to revisit Cachoeira da Fumaça, the tallest waterfall in Brazil, before leaving. This time it was full and flowing beautifully because it had poured all night, harder than it had in the month I was there. We even had to walk through a pond about 2-3 feet deep where the trail used to be. It was a great way to make a full circle with my experience and get one last taste of the waterfalls.
Three other students and myself took the night bus from Vale do Capão to Salvador before flying back. We arrived bright and early for a day of souvenir shopping and fun on the beach. We went body surfing and wave diving until it was time to sneak in some muceca for the last time, my favorite Bahian dish (a coconut curry with shrimp and veggies plus sides.)That night we returned to Pelourinho, the historic neighborhood, to see some live music and make the best of our final time in Bahia. It was a blast and Salvador stands as one of my favorite cities of Brazil.
Sadly, we had to return to reality upon arriving in Fortaleza on the 27th. It was time to crack down and write my 30-40 page paper by Monday. However, I was happily surprised first by Oelito (the program assistant and my Brazilian dad) picking us up at the airport so I could avoid the taxis, and then by my host family when I walked in to find a birthday cake and them singing happy birthday (belated) for me. It was the best homecoming I could've asked for. I spent Thanksgiving slaving away on my paper, as well as the following few days. I took a break to see Catching Fire with my host sister, which was greatly needed.
Monday afternoon I submitted my 84 page field journal, 40 page monograph, and evaluations as a cherry on top. But it wasn't over yet! Thursday, I had my presentation, which was a 30 minute explanation my experience and research, followed by 30 minutes of questions. Although I was nervous, the presentation turned out to be a breeze because I had spent so long researching this specific topic. I was second to last to present and loved listening to what the other students spent one month living and studying.
Yesterday, Friday, we wrapped up the program together and celebrated at the barracas (bar shacks with tables) at the beach. Now, I am coasting in Fortaleza, enjoying some last special moments with my family, like making them mac and cheese and going to the beach for sunset, before I head off to Rio for 5 days. Then, I'm homeward bound! I am excited to be home and especially with my parents, but know that I am really going to miss this place.
In the mean time, I am still working on publishing my fundraiser campaign to support education in Manaus, Brazil by hiking Kilimanjaro. If you haven't checked it out yet, here is the link!
All donors receive a story of the teen they helped. The teen up for this donation could really use your support! Even if it just means sharing the page with friends and family :)
Thanks for reading and keep me posted on your lives as well!