18 October 2008

Pre-Trip: Home Base

The home base for our trip will be in a city outside Sao Paulo called Campinas. It's in Campinas that David's older brother Richard lives with his family.

Richard's move to Brasil involved a slow evolution. About 15 years ago he began bringing Brasilian youth to the United States where they would participate in a two year exchange program known as Masters Commission. Gradually Richard also began taking youth from the U.S. down to Brasil to complete an exchange program there. A school was established and a halfway house was opened to assist children attempting to transition out of the favelas (vast slums in many of the large cities). As Richard became more and more involved in the Brasilian end of the exchange program, he realized he needed to move there. And so he did in the fall of 2007, with his wife Jocelyn and four of their six children. The two who remained behind are in colleges in the U.S. At top is a recent photo, from left to right, of Jocelyn, Richard, Chris, Adriana, Sean and Rebecca. The photo below includes Richard and some of the favelados (slum dwellers) enjoying an afternoon game.

Campinas, the city where Richard and Jocelyn live, has a population of about 1,000,000 and is in the western interior of Sao Paulo state. Campinas is not a tourist destination. Although it was founded in the 18th century, it doesn't sport amazing cathedrals or glorious national parks. Rather it is a participant in the financial, industrial and agricultural products processing boom which is fueling the Brasilian economy's emergence on the world scene. According to the Brasilian Tourism Ministry, 9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 17% of the industrial production of São Paulo State are from the Campinas region.
Historically, Campinas rode the wave of Brasilian coffee production in the 19th century, in part because it served as a major transportation hub between rural production areas and coastal shipping ports. Today, Campinas boasts a Coffee Museum which, according to the BTM, "aims to preserve and promote the memory of the coffee production culture in Campinas." I recently picked up a book about the history of coffee, so I will report back on this topic again later once I have finished reading it.


Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Very professional blog; I will be back for updates.

Sharon said...

I am excited to see what comes of this journey. As a coworker of David's it will be neat to be the proverbial fly on the wall!