I spent 5-months in Brazil volunteering with Iko Poran. I was placed on three different projects, including Carnaval preparation in Rio de Janeiro. It was great, as I explained my experience and... Lucy Foreman
Health and Safety
Submitted by Lucy Foreman - London England | April 12, 2016
I spent 5-months in Brazil volunteering with Iko Poran. I was placed on three different projects, including Carnaval preparation in Rio de Janeiro. It was great, as I explained my experience and skills beforehand and the programmes were matched to my interests.
When I first arrived, it was quite daunting-a new culture and I didn't speak Portuguese, but the Co-ordinator, Felipe, introduced me to the programme and provided language lessons in the first two weeks, which set me on my way.
I met some amazing people, making costumes and seeing the development of the floats over time, which were spectacular. Carnaval is a huge part of the Brazilian culture and I was amazed by the hard work and passion that went into making it a success in one of the main Samba schools of Rio and feel lucky to have been a part of it.
The workers undertook long hours and there were many deadlines, so the pressure was on at times, but the people I worked with were welcoming and made it a fun and enjoyable experience. I was impressed with their hard work and commitment. Most didn't speak any English, but I practiced my Portuguese and we found other fun and creative ways to communicate.
What I would say is that you get out what you put in...I wanted to embrace the culture and get to know the Brazilian people, whilst doing something creative and this programme allowed me to do that!
I met other volunteers who I was able to explore the amazing city of Rio with and staff at the hostel where I stayed, were so helpful and became like family. As an older volunteer, I wondered how my it would be, but this really didn't matter as I was working and living with people of all ages and different backgrounds, which I believe also gave me greater insight.
The Iko Poran programme was affordable and matched my skills to the programmes. Felipe was always there to answer any questions I had and was supportive of my wishes and feelings throughout. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone and feel lucky to take away amazing memories and friends for life!
My experience in Brazil was amazing! So much so, I want to go back!