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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Let us not say "goodbye" but only "see you next time"

I am writing this final post with both sadness and excitement.  I am excited to be heading home to see my husband and daughters, but sad to be leaving my Bahian friends.  But I am also excited about the future of this work and the relationships we are developing.  The sky is the limit when you are working with people who are passionate and determined.

During our final day we were given a tour of Barry Callebaut, a large industrial cacau factory.  Kaio, a UESC engineering student who is interning at the company, did a great job showing us around and explaining the processes.  There were great questions and interactions, too, as students were interested in the industrial engineering work that he does here with control charts, production charts, SAP, and OEE.  We had to dress like Umpa Lumpas so as not to contaminate anything.  It was very interesting to see how similar factories are comparing to the US, but this one was unbearably HOT!

We then gorged ourselves with lunch at Los Pampas.  Brazilian BBQ is truly amazing.  The amount of meat we ate cannot even be described.  It was delicious and fun, although many may have regretted it later.  Patty, our previous coordinator, joined us for lunch.  It was so wonderful to see her again.  Love you, Patty!!!

Our final visit was to CEPLAC, a federally-funded research facility/sanctuary.  There are several hundred acres of land where they grow forest with several different fruit trees and cacau.  They do research with growing, raising, and processing cacau.  They also have a sanctuary for sloths that have been displaced by deforestation.  I think this may have been one of the students most favorite things of the entire trip!  There was one sloth that was very friendly and interesting in the students.  They are very interesting animals!

They also raise bees at CEPLAC and produce honey.  They have a special breed of bees that do not have stingers, which is neat for those of us who are allergic!  They also raise African Killer Bees.  When asked why they raise them if they are so dangerous, he said it was because they produce so much more honey than the other types, and it is sweeter. 

I want to say THANK-YOU to everyone who made this trip happen.  It has been amazing.  Thank you to all of the students that have been with us on our trips to help out and learn (Alana, Fany, Kaio, Pri...sorry if I miss anyone!).  Thank you to our wonderful hosts for giving our students a great experience (Marcello, Luciana, Junior, Felipe, Annapaula, Nara).  Thank you to the UESC faculty who helped to organize our schedule (Jose Carlos, Julianno, Fabricio, Patty).  A very special thanks to Marcelo for being a great tour guide, interpreter, and host. 

And, finally, there are no words strong enough to express my gratitude to our coordinator, Fabricio.  Thank you so much for everything you've done.  I look forward to our future collaboration and friendship!

No comments:

Post a Comment