I wanted to be part of the CIIP as I wanted to help to make the world better through my efforts.  I spent 30 days in Uberlandia, Brazil, and left a piece of myself there.  I have gained much more than I have given and I wish to share my feelings about my experiences, although it’s difficult to do so.

Day 1: Looking at these smiling faces, 30 days later, this picture looks more like a big family photo.   In the coming 30 days: we would open our hearts and trust each other, we would help the local NGO through the CIIP project, and we would make a positive impact in Brazil.

One day in the 2nd week:  Leoni, the coordinator of Estação Vida, came to our office.  She was excited telling us about her new idea of selling vegetable baskets and wanted us to help.  We started to design the flyers, figure out appropriate prices, etc..  We went to a local neighborhood with fresh picked vegetable basket and the flyers.   We went door-to-door, with the interpreters helping us communicate.  Our efforts bore the fruits of our labors and before our leaving, we already received four constant weekly orders of vegetable baskets!

We worked in the garden to increase the vegetable output; we picked and washed cucumbers with the kids to sell home-made pickles; we also set up financial reports so the NGO could have a better understanding of its business and plan well into the future.

(Left to right, local congressman, Duci, and Leoni)

One day in the last week: The most unexpected experience was when Karina, one of our interpreters, brought a local congressman to Estação Vida.  He is a friend of Karina’s friend.  He looked around and had a happy conversation with president Duci and Leoni.  It was just a visit by the congressman, but it is a really brilliant step for the local NGO and our project too.  Our work, our wish, and our belief were recognized and accepted.  In the future, I believe, more and more people will come here and deliver their love to the kids.

Last day: It was the most difficult day for us as we had to  say goodbye to the kids and all the staff in Estação Vida.  The kids were holding our hands tightly, looking at our eyes, speaking in Portuguese.  They were worried that we could not understand them.  They went away and asked help from their teacher. Later they came back to us with requests that we “Don’t go.”    I believe there will be many other people do the same thing as we did here.  I also hope the children can share our belief that we can make the world better through our own little effort.

The first CIIP project is completed.  It was like a dream; it touched my heart and brought me great memories. The memories from everyone in the CIIP project will last a lifetime.  We cared about each other, we worked towards one goal, we cried together, laughed together; it is definitely not an ending, but a beginning.  The CIIP project is like a train taking us to the future, a bright future.

About my team: My team is to help Estação Vida develop a strategy to increase the garden’s output and increase the revenue so that they could re-invest the extra income into its programs and activities of kids’ after school education. 

My co-workers:  Brian Melton from Shelby, Kaspar Douwes from Budapest , and Meike Roth from Frankfurt.

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of 10 blog posts by team members of the first Celanese International Impact Program to Uberlandia, Brazil.