We're at last in Brazil! If you have the urge to really journey somewhere, the Pantanal is a contender - four airplanes, and two car rides later we are at last in Poconé, the gateway to the Pantanal. The journey was very smooth, a TAM (a Brazilian airline) is a clear-cut winner over Delta - they start every flight with a basket of chocolates, sometimes even passion-fruit-mousse-filled toffee. Since arrival we've had two delicious Brazilian meals - pancakes which here are savory rather than sweet and usually filled with beef; and churrascaria with juicy though not tender chicken and beef. There's a theme for meals here: beef, beef, and more beef. We have no complaints.
The school is not yet open, but we plan to meet tomorrow with the Secretary of Education and our hope is that by mid-May it will be fully operational - we even gained one more student, the 6-year old son of the new cook at the eco-lodge! The school is public and will be treated as a satellite classroom from a school in Poconé, with the government providing both the teacher and a bus/diesel.
We arrived in Poconé with enough time to check out antenna prices for an internet tower, the tower is 40-m high and would send a signal to either a 40-m tower 55-km away at another ecolodge called Santa Teresa or an 80-m tower 112-km way in Poconé. Though expensive and mildly complicated by the intense rainy season, it's a vital addition to the classroom as there will be students from 7 to 17 years old with just one teacher. And as we look into a implementing a health clinic, internet will expand quality healthcare in the Pantanal through Brazil's already existing telemedicine network.
Tomorrow we will be doing a bit of shopping in Poconé, and hopefully driving through the Pantanal at pôr do sol (sunset).