Thanks to the ongoing support of administration, faculty and students, the Bridge to Bahia project at the American Overseas School of Rome has grown steadily since its inception two years ago. The school community has become familiar with the ICBIE and its work in behalf of the needy people of Salvador, and real bonds of friendship have been forged. Four AOSR teachers have traveled to Brazil to give courses at the ICBIE, two AOSR graduates have done volunteer work and an AOSR family of five spent last year’s Christmas holiday there, while on two occasions, ICBIE students have come to AOSR, and these exchanges have had a positive effect upon both communities.
To kick off the third year of the project, Bridge to Bahia made a big splash at the AOSR Annual Family Picnic yesterday, assembling an impressive group of ICBIE supporters. Along with Roy, Louise and Annie, Monica and Marcella came along, too, representing the new office of ICBIE Italia. Bringing the Roman ICBIE supporters together with the international community of AOSR is a positive trend (and this was already clear at the Churrasco on the Beach party a month ago). On the practical side, a new Bridge to Bahia brochure was distributed, a lot of Bahian handicrafts were sold and the donations box was generously stuffed.
But what caught everyone’s attention was a huge splash of color. For the occasion, Julio & Bigode’s beautiful big mural was exposed, after being covered with student artworks during the past seven months. Its impact was augmented by 31 big color photographs, showing our great ICBIE artists at work in the Alagados last August. Mounted directly on the mural, the photos contextualized the stilt houses present in Julio and Bigode’s artwork, showing the desperate poverty, but also the faces of the delighted children while they observed the vibrant new colors that gave life, energy and hope to their squalid homes.
With this great start, Bridge to Bahia is poised to have its biggest year ever. The AOSR eleventh graders in the International Baccalaureate program have again adopted our project to fulfill their community service requirement. They are planning a big Brazilian evening, to be held in the school cafeteria in early March. Hopefully, ICBIE Italia can assist them in enlisting a Brazilian cook and a band to provide the appropriate music.