“I felt that all parties had a palpable idea of how the project was going to work and as a result the excitement continues to grow on both sides of the Atlantic”.
Patrick Tasker from Manor C of E Academy went with Clair Brown (Everything is Possible) went to Rio and São Paulo for an Advance Planning Visit. Here is the story:
“After keeping a very low profile at school the week it was announced I was going to Brazil for an ‘Advanced Planning Visit’, I was all packed and ready for my first trip to South America. It did not disappoint. Upon landing in Rio I was welcomed, shown to an airport taxi and arrived to a nice hotel at Copacabana. A quick shower and I headed out to familiarise myself with the area by walking along the beach with Clair, admiring the sand sculptures and discussing plans for the visit.
Up bright and early we headed over to Rio’s Lagoon where the Olympic Rowing will take place, from there to Christ the Redeemer and across to the Barra Olympic Park to catch a gymnastics test event. These were all fantastic but what really inspired me was the welcoming and friendly nature of the Brazilian people. Everywhere we went people helped us, often without having to ask. After traveling for an hour in the wrong direction, one poor bus driver even parked up his bus, locked it up, walked us round the corner to another, explained to the other driver where we needed to go and waved us on our way.
We had been invited to the Palace, and after hastily changing out of my shorts and into some trousers to be allowed admittance, we met with a number of government officials who were keen to find out more about the project and see what they could do to help. In fact they had so many ideas that it was decided that one week in August would not be enough, we must go for the entire Olympic and Paralympic period. Although everything is possible, we counted ourselves lucky enough to have the one week and the opportunities to explore downtown Rio and take part in some special events during the games were more than we could have hoped for out of the meeting.
It was then off to São Paulo for the second leg of the visit. It is enormous; I still can’t get my head around it. We thought our hotel was close to the airport, but it took an hour and a half in a taxi to get there. While in Rio (bar getting on the bus in the wrong direction) we had always felt quite orientated with our map, but when we asked for one of São Paulo, our hotel wasn’t even on it. Our saving grace was Raí arriving to pick us up and drive us to the places we needed to visit, although regular requests for people to have photos with him added even more time onto each journey.
Having hosted our partners at Manor CE Academy I was filled with eager anticipation to visit Gol de Letra. Again we were given a really warm reception before being introduced to Douglas and Victor who will be coming over to the UK for 9 months. Listening to them talk about some of the activities they have been involved with through Gol de Letra and independently sparked some great ideas on how their plentiful skills can be put to good use at Manor and hopefully give them a worthwhile experience.
Leaving nothing to chance I put on my trousers in the 30 degree heat before heading to the British Consulate. This was no easy task as the volume of Brazilian cheese balls and red meat I’d consumed throughout the visit was having a significant impact on my waistline. The Consulate, like the Rio Government, were very interested in the project and keen to know what they could do to support us. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they can use their contacts to link us up with Team GB Rugby 7’s but we shall see.
Our final meeting was back with Gol de Letra, where we met some of the young people who will be part of the project in August. They were happy to receive a post card each from my students back in the UK and I am sure they are going to get on very well.
Whilst all parties have maintained confidence in each other and have worked collaboratively to plan the project, doing this across continents and languages has its challenges. By the end of the visit I felt that all parties had a palpable idea of how the project was going to work and as a result the excitement continues to grow on both sides of the Atlantic”.
Patrick Tasker from Manor C of E Academy