The right moment for this blog post would have been before Christmas, but the activities at the end of the year have kept me too busy for writing. During the last years, I used to spend Christmas and the new year in Germany, but this time I decided to postpone my visit to Europe until February.
In Germany, there are many Christmas traditions which make the weeks prior to Christmas a special time for children and adults alike. There are candles and decorations, Christmas markets, hot wine and cookies, Santa Clause and little surprises every day in December. Here in Brazil,
To make Christmas more interesting for our students, I imported some of the German traditions to Brazil. There was a plant in our house with a small package for every day in December until reaching the 24th. In each of them, there were sweets, small toys or other interesting objects. For the kids, it was a good exercise to read numbers in Braille and often there was a small reading or maths competition to decide who will be the one to open the package of the day.
On 6th of December, it is the day of Santa Clause. In Germany, children believe that he will take sweets to well behaved children and coal for those who have been naughty or lazy. Once we told our students about Santa Clause, they were eager to write letters to him informing that they deserved his visit a lot. We put some big socks at the outside of the door and after some heavy steps and big noise at night our kids were happy to find the socks filled with sweets, small surprises and… some coal as well. Of course Sant Clause also sent a small note informing them about the reason of the coal in their sock. And not to forget, Santa Clause knows Braille.
In the town of Ubajara, several companies and institutions contributed to the Christmas decoration. We have been assigned an artificial tree for decoration. It was an interesting task to choose objects which are not only beautiful to look at, but also to touch, smell or hear.
Instead of a normal Christmas celebration, our students decided to organize a trip to the beach. It was great fun to gather all our students and some guests for a day trip to the sea. For several blind children and adults it was the first time they had the chance to play in the sand and the water. Of course, everyone at the beach was amazed to see so many blind people of different ages enjoying themselves just the same as any sighted person would do.
For Christmas and the new year, the project closed its doors. We took some time to recharge the energies for the coming year and make plans for 2016. Our first project is a week’s workshop for blind women on cooking and mobility.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who follow me on this journey to Brazil and take interest in the work of Bats in Action. In the name of our blind students I wish all of you a happy year 2016.