Day 42: Desert Adventure

Sobradinho DamThis morning we went to meet the rest of Uncle Byron and William’s family at their home and to have some fun with William. We ate a breakfast of French toast with mamo (papaya) smoothies and at about 9:30 we jumped in the car to drive to Sobradinho, Bahia, another city in another state about an hour away.

Along the way we passed over the Sobradinho Dam, a large hydroelectric dam built in the 1970s. It is built on the Sao Francisco River and provides power to cities as far away as Fortaleza. The resulting lake created by the dam is the Sobradinho Lake, and it is home to a special place that I will mention later.

Upon arriving at the Atha’s house we found William feverishly putting the finishing touches on his homemade go-kart. He built it a long time ago, but it was in dire need of a massive tune-up, so he had been trying to get it ready for us.

Riding in William's CarRest of the morning was SO much fun! The go-kart wouldn’t start so Uncle Byron pulled it with his SUV while William popped the clutched. We didn’t get very far though before we had to stop, call his dad, and do the whole car-pulling thing all over again. But we got it and this time we went a good long distance on some desert trails, having a grand old time.

However, once again it stopped, this time far away from the house. So Destiny, Danae, and I got out and pushed it while William popped the clutch, and we got it started again. The rest of the afternoon we did this SIX more times! Sometimes we just went too slow to keep up the power and it died. One time we stopped intentionally so we could go swimming in the river.

Abandoned Rock QuarryAt one point the car died next to an abandoned rock quarry, so we got out and explored the area. It was full of little shells because sometimes it has water, providing homes to marine creatures. It was all dry at this time, so we just walked through piles of dust, salt deposits, and extremely black mud. Yes, it was just a big hole in the desert, but it had plenty of interesting things to see.

On the way to the river we got stuck in about 20cm of water and had to push it out. This time Destiny steered while we pushed it out. We went through the water earlier just fine, but this time it was too much for the car and we got bogged down. I literally just laughed because I thought it was hilarious.

Eventually we got to the river. Destiny and Danae went with William down to the river while I explored an abandoned construction site that was used while the dam was constructed. Rows and rows of very large concrete blocks were stacked in the woods, once used as temporary dams while the permanent one was built.

Abandoned Building with BedI also went in a building that had a bathroom, a stove, and an old bed. It was obvious that at one time someone lived there, and all around the outside of the site were trash deposits. I even found an old bike with flat tires, standing off to the side.

After looking at some pictures online, I have recently gained an interest in abandoned structures. It’s so interesting to go into a place that was once full of life and now lays empty and dead. It reminds me that in life some people can be so full of life, excited about serving God, but they can just as easily turn around and become living corpses. So I had a lot of fun looking around, envisioning all that used to take place here before it was left to nature.

When I was done, I rode the bike on its rims back to the dirt road, also carrying a cow bell that I found at the site. I joined the others down at the river to cool off and to clean off my muddy clothes (from going through that water) and my waterproof camera.

William’s mom called so we had a thrilling ride back home, reaching speeds of over 60 kph. I tied the cowbell onto the car, and it was a nice touch of sound as we sped through the desert. William felt really bad about the car not working right, and we teased him about it, but in reality we all loved it. Even pushing the car made the morning that much more fun. It was a true desert adventure.

For lunch we enjoyed some southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, biscuits, and sweet tea. Mmmm…we had a laughter-filled conversation full of puns and jokes and other such humor. The Atha family is so fun!

Danae with Kids at EBFAfter lunch we drove back to Petrolina and spent the rest of the afternoon resting from our CrAzY morning. In the evening we returned to Juazeiro Oito for the third and final evening of EBF. It went really well, and I also played the saw for the kids, and they loved it.

It was really sad to watch the kids go. I took lots of pictures of them, and they likewise asked me to take even more. As they left, I lingered outside in the street, taking several pictures of them as they walked away. Many or all of them I will never see again. 🙁 In only three days, I came to love them so much. It has also been five years since I last helped with VBS, so part of me just really enjoyed the opportunity to work with kids again.

EBF Kids Going Home

We ate a snack before EBF, but we saved our appetites to go to a pizza restaurant in Petrolina by the river afterward. It was great pizza, and fortunately we weren’t forced to used the hamburger condiments that were on the table (ketchup and mayonnaise). Just good ol’ pepperoni and cheese/tomato/garlie pizzas with cajuina and uva (grape) juice.

Talking to My FamilyBy the time we finished it was after 10:00, so we didn’t have much time before going to bed. I took the laptop to the Reiner’s empty swimming pool and called my family, and it was fun to talk to all of them for awhile and hear how they were doing.

Soon after I went to bed because a busy day of Treasure Island was up next! One ministry on to the next…saying good-bye to some kids and meeting some new ones. What a great last week in Brasil this is.

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