At the American Overseas School of Rome, the Bridge to Bahia project, though only a year old, is now a familiar and on-going activity in our community, but this year kicked off with a real bang. Daniele Dattilo and I were fresh back from prolonged summer sojourns at the ICBIE, and before our stories had a chance to become stale, Julio and Bigode arrived. Everyone was so impressed with their beautiful mural, and all the students, big and small, delighted in meeting them, sharing their smiles, and watching them work. At the same time, the two boys were overwhelmed with AOSR’s open embrace and the warmth that they felt during every minute of their visit. The two important officials from the city of Salvador were also very impressed with the school and it’s commitment to helping the poverty of their favelas, assisting through both friendship and fundraising.
The mural continues to bedazzle everyone who visits the school, and during the annual school picnic in October, the students at the Bridge to Bahia table were able to proudly point at it, as concrete evidence of the wonderful work that the ICBIE is doing. Even the most skeptic parents and colleagues found it impossible to ignore the evidence! And with the two lovely girls Sarah Datin and Annie Neumann passing out brochures and explaining our mission, hundreds of people were informed.
Our faithful parent Claudia Sobral has been busy organizing a new campaign, producing and selling holiday greeting cards that re-use the self-portraits we gathered last year (see sidebar for more information). This year we got a head start, and LeiLei Xu made a new design and Claudia got busy printing them up, so they will be ready before the Thanksgiving holiday. Last week, I met with the International Baccalaureate students, who have again chosen the ICBIE as the main focus of their community service obligations. We have a terrific group of kids this year, and they are already at work, cutting the greeting cards and packaging them with envelopes.
They also plan to visit all the elementary classrooms, conducting workshops about third-world poverty and the plight of children. They will also appeal to everyone, that they each bring in one old and outgrown toy or book, so we can have a big toy sale just before the holidays. One of the students, Luka Mestrovic (who has the honor of being the very first person to post an article on this blog!) came up with the great idea of designing t-shirts, using images taken from Julio and Bigode’s mural. With this kind of creative savvy, this year’s Bridge to Bahia project will certainly be one to remember!