Wow these weeks are flying by, I have to apologise now for falling behind on keeping you guys updated. It was Carnival time here last week so the Pink House was closed, during this time I got the chance to visit one of the largest cities in Brazil – Salvador.
So Week 2 was another jam packed week that I will attempt to cram into a post that is hopefully not too long. We had the opening day of the salon in the Pink House and a week full of some small but significant achievements not just for the girls but for me also.
Eu falo um pouco de Português – I speak a little Portuguese
My greatest achievement this week has been the improvement of my communication skills, since arriving in Medina I have worked alongside an English couple called Sam and Claire who both speak Portuguese very well. Having these two around has obviously been a God send as my Portuguese is very limited and no-one speaks English here. In the 1st week Claire helped me loads in my classes with translations, without her I think I would’ve had a very difficult time but thankfully her translation helped me and the girls get to know each other a little and start to understand how we’re going to be working with each other.
Week 2 was very different as Sam and Claire returned to England to renew their visas, which presented me with the challenge of communicating with the girls and the team with broken Portuguese and a little help from Google translate. On Monday I was dreading the week ahead as I thought the language barrier might have been a problem and hinder our progress in the Pink House, but I surprised myself by having a good enough grasp of the language to communicate with the other staff members and the girls. The sense of togetherness that’s forming amongst everyone at the Pink House made what seemed like an extremely difficult challenge a minor hurdle that we overcame together quite easily, Rita the Project Co Ordinator has been especially helpful and to my surprise is even learning a little English. Todo bem!
New Faces, New Beginnings & New Friendships
Week 2 has also seen us welcome a number of new faces into the centre – the girls we visited at the end of week 1 who were registered but hadn’t, all turned up at least one day this week. The girls who are finding it the most difficult to attend are the ones who need the Pink House the most, so to see them at the Pink House this week was really amazing. There is one girl in particular who lives an extremely chaotic life who could really benefit from attending the Pink House. She only attended on the Thursday of this week, but the fact that she actually made it to the Pink House and stepped through the doors is a big breakthrough. Please keep this girl in your prayers in hope that she continues to come to the Pink House and begins to attend more regularly.
As I mentioned in my last post, we have many girls from different rival communities attending the centre, this week yet more progress has been made with some of the key ringleaders from the different communities getting along and working together . There are new friendships being formed every day between the girls, many of which prior to the opening of the Pink House wouldn’t have had the opportunity to flourish. Slowly but surely divisions in communities that have been present for generations are showing signs of fading.
I like the Pink House because….
With the help of google translate I asked the girls to answer the statement above, these we’re some of the answers I got:
“Because the pink house is a great encouragement to my life and is teaching me many good things.”
“Because I love to dance, as a child I always dreamed of being a successful dancer.”
“Because very its beautiful and the people here are very nice and polite to me”
“Because I like dancing and it is good for my health”
“Because it is very important to me, and I can learn more things.”
“Because I think the house beautiful, it makes me happy”
“Because it make me happy, I am sad before I come to the house and here in the house I am happy.”
You are Loved, You are Special and You Are Worthy of Your Dreams….
You may remember from the Grand Tour of the Pink House in my 1st post the various phrases painted on the walls throughout the house, each day this week we’ve had short workshops focusing on one of these phrases. For this saying, I thought it would be a nice idea to make something the girls could take home with them to remind themselves and the people they live with everyday that they are loved, special and worthy of their dreams.
We gave each girl a pink heart and encouraged them to write the words “I am loved, I am special and I am worthy of my dreams:”. These are some of the girls hearts…
The girls really enjoyed doing this activity and I believe little by little they are all starting to believe this is a mantra they can apply to their lives, in just 2 short weeks I have begun to see transformations starting to take place within so many of these girls.
The opening of the salon this week was met by lots of excitement from the girls, all of them wanted to take part in the activities going on but as its so small only a few per day were able to. The ones who worked in the salon this week loved it, many of them helped one another and showed a real sense of teamwork. One girl said she liked the salon because it made her feel special and not as ugly. I think the salon is going to be an essential part in helping the girls with their individual healing and self restoration journeys. Over time the salon will improve their self image and help them to understand they are worthy of looking good.
Taking care of ourselves comes in all sorts of different ways, myself and the other staff at the Pink House help the girls look after their outward appearance through the salon and express themselves through dance as we believe it helps to improve their self esteem and sense of self worth. With the grace of God these activities are helping to bring about the transformations within the girls we are beginning to see taking place.
Small but significant achievements are happening day by day in the Pink House, these are just a few from week 2. My hope is that the work we do with the girls within the Pink House will eventually start to over flow into their thinking and behaviour outside of the house and positively affect their day to day lives. Many of these girls have younger siblings and other family members who could benefit from adopting the positive mindset we promote at the Pink House, the hope is that each girl attending the Pink House can affect their whole household and family.
Thanks for checking out my blog, feel free to contact me, ask me questions or leave a comment and let me know what you think. Please check out my Donate page to see how you can support me, I couldn’t be out here without the support from people back home.