Tuesday, June 3, 2008

From the Coasts to the Mountains of Gold

By Renée Ferguson, Senior Direct Mail Associate for Christian Children’s Fund

We had a much-needed morning of leisure before we boarded the bus at 12:45 to go to the airport. Our 3:10 flight took us to Belo Horizonte, the capital and largest city of the state of Minas Gerais.

Minas Gerais, unlike the warm, coastal states of Ceará and Bahia, is very mountainous and completely bordered by land. Located in the Southeast region of Brazil, Minas Gerais is the second most populous state and the fourth largest by area ― a little larger than France.

We flew for about an hour and a half and arrived at Belo’s international airport to a wonderful surprise ― a heartwarming welcome serenade by CCF children and CCF Belo staff accompanied by accordion, guitar and drums.

As we all gathered to listen, the group broke into the forró dance we had first experienced in Fortaleza. They stirred us from the lethargy of our flight as they grabbed our hands, inviting us to join them in the lively dance circle.

I would have loved to see the faces of the bystanders, but I was too busy laughing and whirling around.

After the dance and greetings, we dragged our luggage toward the waiting bus. Some of us attempted to withdraw some money in Brazilian reals from the ATMs before traveling toward the hotel well north of the city. The bus ride took longer than the flight ― about two hours.

The Taua hotel was nestled in the mountains in beautiful lush wilderness, its imposing height replicating the mountains. We ate dinner there and rested for the night. In the morning we would leave very early for a long rural drive and an overnight stay in the colonial mining town of Diamantina.

No comments: