Rob Connects To Sao Paulo

Rob Errington, dressed for the Sao Paulo weather with a friend

You may have seen this on the Connect2 section of the CAFOD website , but just in case, we’ve dropped it in here as well.

Robert Errington shares his anticipation for his upcoming trip to Brazil, to visit projects supported by CAFOD.

I missed the first episode of Michael Palin’s ‘Brazil’ travelogue on BBC1 this week.  Instead I was at a meeting at my local parish in Hexham, Northumberland, talking to people about my preparations for my own trip to Brazil next week.

A small group of us from different parts of England will be travelling to São Paulo on 1 November for a 12 day visit to projects supported by CAFOD.

I’ve spent many years working in community health in the north east of England, working everywhere from food co-ops to prisons, so I am keen to see how my experiences here relate to those in Brazil.

So far I haven’t found many people in rural Northumberland who have been to South America, never mind São Paulo.  Like most people, when I haven’t been to a place in person I often form my opinions of them from television travel programmes, made by people like Michael Palin. So it is very tempting to see Brazil as an exotic cocktail of football, dancing, coffee, jungles and carnivals.

But because my parish has been involved in the Connect2 programme I have been lucky enough to get a bigger picture.

Last year two Brazilian women, Zeza and Heluiza, visited us, staying with local families and talking about how CAFOD’s work has helped change peoples’ lives in São Paulo. I then spent the next week walking 135 miles with them and other CAFOD supporters from the Hexham and Newcastle Diocese to Holy Island.  It was a fantastic week with many new friendships formed.

After the visit our parish joined the Connect2Brazil programme and we have kept in touch ever since. When the residents of the Mauá building were threatened with eviction over 100 of our parishioners signed a CAFOD petition to protest the court decision.

Next week I have the opportunity to pay a return visit to Zeza and Heluiza. I hope to find out more about the work that CAFOD and its partner organisations do in São Paulo.

And on my return to England I will go back to the schools and parishes that Zeza and Heluiza visited to tell them what is happening and Brazil and how people can support the work CAFOD is doing over there.

And that for all the images we receive through our televisions, Michael Palin: National Treasure notwithstanding, there are other stories out there that need to be heard.

We’ll keep you up to date as Rob’s adventure progresses…

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