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posted Jun 1, 2010, 8:21 AM by Julie Bateman   [ updated Jun 8, 2010, 6:45 AM ]
Bom dia! Internet has been scare, so this is from a few days. We should be able to catch you up over the next few days, we leave the Pantanal tomorrow and will be in communication again. So here was last Friday, 5/28:

Today we left Fabricio's fazenda (ranch) outside of the city Pocone and will drive the two hous to Eduardo's lodge deep in the Pantanal near the village of Porto Jofre.

We have a had a busy few days between Cuiaba and Pocone. In Cuiaba, the truck that we rented from Eduardo is ready for the summer, and we will pick it up June 3rd when two of our three architects, James Chesnut and Nisha Patel, arrive at the airport.

The past two days in Pocone, we have talked with the former Secretary of Education (who retired two months ago) and has many teachers interested in teaching at PCER. Through her and the current Secretary of Education, will register PCER as a public school. The government pays the salaries of all registered schools, and also will subsidize transportation of the students.

More pressingly, we have hired a local civil engineer / construction contractor, Carlos, who is helping us with designs, signing off on the project, and assuming legal responsibility if anything comes crashing down. By the time, Nisha and James arrive, he will also have a list of materials and price estimate for construction. Fabricio and his wife, Adillana, have taken us to the schools in and around Pocone to get a feel for foundation, ventilation, lighting, and space. Our next steps for construction include hiring a pedreiro (construction supervisor), who will oversee the project on a day-to-day basis. Construction looks set to begin in the second week of June.

This all has still left time for much food and games at the fazenda. Brazilians don't let their guests go hungry, and we have been lunching on arroz com feijao (rice and beans) with sausage, and squash with papaya and organge juice, and raisins and dates in farelo de madeira (breadcrumbs of a starch like potato), and finishing off with very, very sweet coffee (that everyone else sweetens still more with liquid sugar).

At the fazenda, we played with the water well and pump to understand a typical system in the region, fed a baby calf, and just returned from a ride with Lazao and Saeno, our horses.

We are going to the lodge now, and once there will survey the lot and arrange homestays for our GIEU students who arrive in mid-June.

Tomorrow will be 5/29 and onwards!