The mission of the Program for Assistive Technologies for Underprivileged (PATU) is to allow students to practice engineering skills while they develop strong communication and teamwork skills, gain global perspective, and learn social responsibility through projects for persons with disabilities that otherwise could not afford assistance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A day of thanks

We spent the morning shopping, buying all of our souvenirs and gifts for family and friends at the Ilheus Artisan market. I'm sure the vendors there were excited to have us--we made it a very profitable day for them! There were several hammocks, blankets, dresses, keychains, tshirts, sarongs, necklaces, and other Bahian treasures purchased that now need to be creatively packed into our suitcases.

We spent a little time this afternoon discussing the details of the trip and what was good what was not so that we can improve for the future. While not everything was perfect (as is the case for nearly all things in life), I think the students really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about Brasilian culture as well as the need for the kinds of work we are trying to do with our projects.

This evening we had a potluck going away party. It was interesting to learn that Brasilians don't really seem to know what a potluck is! All of the host families were invited so we could all hang out and thank them for hosting students. There seemed to be a lot of anxiousness about what to bring, but I think everyone did very well! There was definitely not a shortage of food! It was a really great time and I think everyone had fun.

I want to say thank you to all of the families that hosted students (and even Aline who was SUPPOSED to host but didn't get to!). Being able to stay with a family enhances the students' experience more than can even be described, and we couldn't do it without willing volunteers!

Thank you to the Praia do Sol staff for letting us have our party in their breakfast area.

Thank you to the students for coming on this trip. I hope you all had a great trip and will remember this as an interesting and meaningful experience for the rest of your lives. Never forget what you have done here for these people, as I'm sure they never will.

Thank you to Dr. Pierce and Dr. Yochum for your collaboration with these projects and for helping to make this trip happen. I hope that this collaboration will continue for years to come.

Thank you Dr. Urish for also helping make this happen. We could not have found these projects without you and would not have been successful in delivering and implementing them without you.

Thank you to Carolyn and Amalia for all of your translating help these last two weeks. You were great company!

Thank you everyone at UESC, SBC, and SAU that also helped make this happen behind the scenes.

And Patty....there aren't enough words to even begin saying thank you for everything you have done for us. You are amazing. No one will ever know how many hours you put in to make everything happen for this trip. We owe you so much, but would never be able to repay your generosity. THANK YOU!

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