Rio+20 has certainly developed a more tense atmosphere as the days go on. By the end every day, the faces around Rio Centro begin to look a little more tired than the day before. Today, civil society had a huge walk out, chanting is now commonly heard calling for action, and yet – the outcome document is still weak and international governments can’t seem to come together for the people of Earth. The people of Earth – that’s a huge category made up of over 7 billion individual bodies, minds, and passions. From inside the conference walls, it’s easy to forget who exactly makes up that staggering 7 billion. Tara and Brendan were fortunate to be reminded of who some of those 7 billion are during a recent dinner in the small community near Rio Centro.
While it’s only a quick walk from the conference, the two worlds couldn’t be more different. The dusty roads and children running through the streets playing futbol are a reminder that we are in fact in Brazil and these people are not enjoying the cushy experience of over air-conditioned buildings and tour bus transportation. Sabor E Mar, a local restaurant/pizzeria has become a favorite for HII and friends. The staff, of which there seems to be more every time, is always friendly – even returning my lost phone! The food is delicious and the drinks are right there as well. My favorite time at the restaurant happened when the two of us were bombarded by a group of kids who are frequently seen running around the streets.
Tara’s ability to speak Portuguese facilitated the evening. She was able to provide a crash course in English to the more than eager students, helping me pick up a few extra words for my vocabulary as well. It was awesome to see their enthusiasm for learning and dumbfounding how quickly they managed to pick up the new words. While they rotated in and out of Tara’s impromptu restaurant school, my newly returned cell phone and a Flip cam also managed to be a huge hit. Disappointed that I only have one game – their friends apparently have several on their phones – they were still more than willing to fight over who got to play. Once they mastered World of Goo, it was time to take photos and videos and did they ever. By the end of the night each of our phones was loaded with tons of new photos and videos from our new friends, our stomachs were full of delicious food, and our minds were a little more relaxed after a pleasant night at Sabor E Mar.
Photos and Videos to come once I can find a reliable network capable of uploads!
By: Brendan Schoenman, Environmental Leadership Intern