We awoke to a rooster’s crow and a medley of exotic birds. Starting on foot we quickly came to appreciate the luxuries of mobile transportation, we walked roughly 8 kilometers to a local market where we purchased local grown foods that we would prepare for the days to come. Leaving all electronics behind we walked and were able to truly embrace the beauty of the island and engage in our environment. After the market we returned to our villa by bus. Upon our return we separated into our challenge groups of the weekend; “ The crocojeels and Tubas” Throughout this weekend we would undergo various challenges that would prepare us for the future days with various companies and working under the Challenge 2050 program. The challenges were series of mental, physical, and emotional challenges that would test our abilities and strengthen our team. We separated into groups for some mental challenges of solving various riddles and scenarios. After the challenge team Crocojelle prepared a healthy lunch and the team took some time to reflect on the day. Later that evening we all sat in on a interview with Tamiko Gaines, She informed us about her work with HM Clause and how she got the opportunity to work with them. She told us here story and gave us advice on how to follow your goals. She represented her company and how they deal with their challenges to address our huge populations around the globe. She believes in each and everyone of us and believes that we can change the world. HM Clause and people like Tamiko Gaines as well as companies and people like them, provide students like all of us the opportunity to make a change. I am sure I can speak for us all on how grateful we are for this opportunity. I am grateful to have a team like the people who work with Challenge 2050 who express their passion and invest their time in students to help them make a change.
After the interview we left for the night markets where the locals sold beautiful Brazilian crafts and delicacies. Unfortunately most outside street shops were closed due to the rain, but that did not stop us. We continued on to another area with small shops and couldn’t help but be attracted to the sound of music and crowds of people. We came across a festival of people gathered with loud music and brilliant costumes. We all soon joined the crowd of dancing people. Wandering through the crowd we observed all the intricate vibrant costumes. We jumped in with the dancers laughing and trying to follow their moves. They taught us to samba and informed us that tonight’s festival was dedicate to announce the samba team of Ilhabela that would preform at Carnival this year. Carnival is a big cultural festival throughout Brazil and South America, with all kinds of music, costumes, foods, dancers, and much more. It is a big honor to perform in the parade. We could feel the anticipation and excitement from all of the teams. The dancers brought us in like one of their people, put headdresses on our heads and began to teach us their dances. It was truly amazing feeling accepted into their culture and to participate in their activities. I never though it would be that easy to feel comfortable in a new culture, the true human heat was exhibited in all of the people here. They made us all feel at home in an unfamiliar place and welcomed us to their home with excitement and compassion.
I believe it is important when coming to a new area to welcome it with and open mind and judgment free thoughts to truly understand their culture. One of the challenges that his experience presents is walking with the people. We need to see problems through the locals perspective and work together to solve the problems at hand. It has been a challenge for all of us to not draw so much attention, but through awareness we all day by day have gotten better interacting with the locals and seeing issues through their perspective. Tonight we all truly felt at one with the culture and I couldn’t have been happier to partake in this experience. I am so thrilled to be apart of Challenge 2050 and such an amazing team; I am excited for the days to come and what challenges they may bring.