Our schedules have been a bit crazy lately, so it was wonderful to take the day today for being lazy! We hung out at the beach for hours, and that about sums it up! After we got home, we… well, did nothing! Great day!
We went on a four-day vacation to Chapada Diamantina National Park during Brazil’s Republic Proclamation holiday. It was, without a doubt, a liberating vacation! Everything we saw, we had to work for… I mean really, really work for! Tammer carried Stavros on his back several hours per day: up and down mountains, in and out of caves and through bodies of water! Luckily, Tammer keeps in shape, otherwise this would have been an impossible vacation for us with such a young child. Chapada is often called Brazil’s “Lost World” and many of its areas are still being discovered. Prior to moving to Brazil, we had never heard of Chapada Diamantina–but we soon learned it is a “must see”! We saw as many things as possible while we were there; but many tours lasts 2 or 3 weeks, so obviously, there are many things we did not get the chance to see.
One afternoon, we took a drive to the State Park to climb down a mountain and see Mosquito Falls, which was our favorite part of the vacation! Mosquito Falls was just discovered about three years ago. Once we got to the bottom, we were in the mist and the intense feeling of accomplishment (for all three of us) was overwhelming!… We did it!… And it was INCREDIBLE! We also climbed to Poco do Diablo, climbed Pai Inacio Mountain, walked through Gruta da Lapa Doce (cave), swam in Poco Azul, saw Camel Mountain, climbed to watch the people sliding down the Serrano and saw the amazing blue water at Gruta da Pratinha! While we were there, we ran into four other expatriate families whom we were unaware would be there at the same time! Our guide asked us if we were sure we were tourists!… Obviously, it’s just an amazing place to visit! We love showing Stavros the world and hiking is certainly an excellent way to “take it all in”! All-in-all, we LOVE Chapada!
We had an extraordinary morning today! We took all of Stavros’ birthday presents to the children at Missionaries of Charity! The children were told that Stavros wanted them to have his gifts, so when we arrived, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to Stavros in Portuguese and they were all very eager to tell him “Thank You!”! Stavros loved their singing and was smiling the entire time! Even though he is only two years old, we explained to Stavros that the children would love and appreciate new toys. Stavros was happy to see the other children with their new toys, which was very sweet to witness!
It was difficult to keep our composure while visiting the children and once we returned to our car, the “big picture” really hit us! Children in need is something that hits very close to home for our family. These children are excited to receive a simple toy! Without Missionaries of Charity, many of them wouldn’t have clothes and most of them wouldn’t have shoes. They are grateful for every meal and every hug! They are so precious and our hearts will forever go out to them! We were honored to put smiles on their faces today! We are proud that our son will grow up always “giving”. We are excited to help these children in the future–even if it is by giving them something as seemingly insignificant as a toy.
We would like to thank everyone in Brazil, again, for participating in donating to the children! Thanks to the generosity of Stavros’ party guests, there were more than enough presents for all the children! We would like to remind our friends and family in the U.S. to please give to Toys for Tots in your area within the next two months! Also, if any of our friends and family at home are interested in donating to Missionaries of Charity here in Brazil, please let us know. If you’re interested in learning more about Missionaries of Charity, established by Mother Teresa, please click the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionaries_of_Charity. Last, we would like to give a special thanks to Mollie for introducing us to Missionaries of Charity and for helping make today possible! Mollie, we love you and this world is blessed to have you!
Last minute, a friend of ours organized trick-or-treating in her neighborhood for about 15 children! Stavros got invited and we were so excited for him to take part in the fun! All of the kids looked adorable in their costumes and, of course, they were all excited to receive their candy from the neighbors! Our little guy dressed as a United States Postal Service mail carrier! We loved that his costume was unique (he got a lot of compliments)! Stavros was shy about accepting candy, but he loved roaming the neighborhood with his friends! It was a fun night! One day Stavros will be telling people he went trick-or-treating in Brazil… Total bragging rights for him! Andi, thanks for inviting us! It was a wonderful night!