Drew Hayes brazil 2013
Drew loves meeting new people and learning new ideas. Through Global Citizen Year, he hopes to learn a lot, gain perspective, and be greatly humbled. His focus is on a sustainable society, and he's been a part of a local initiative to put solar panels on high school buildings. His other lifelong pursuits include swimming, playing piano, and reading literature.
April 10, 2013
High school for me was mostly a matter of reaction. Test announced, I prepared. Something assigned, I did it. Bell rang, next class. Extracurricular, I showed up. Swim practice, I obeyed the coach. Social event, I socialized. In hindsight, I succeeded mainly because of that system of expectations. I let myself be dragged. I’m no longer in high school, however. I’m living in rural, coastal Brazil, doing foreign exchange and volunteer work through the program Global Citizen Year.
When I discovered the program, described as an intensive learning experience abroad, I immediately applied. Moreover, I applied expecting expectations. I expected a host family…
A Story on the Coconut Coast
April 4, 2013
Please click here to view my Photo Gallery….
Manuel lives on a piece of land close to the town center of Diogo, the small coastal town of 500 inhabitants in which I’ve been living, but the tranquility on his property makes it seem isolated. I didn’t meet him until I’d been living in Diogo for several months because he seldom leaves his home. Luckily, I had an excuse to go and meet him a few weeks ago because I’m a friend of his sons, who are well-known figures in town.
I learned that Manuel spent the majority of
Identity Below The Equator
February 13, 2013
The definition of “gringo” is hard to pin down. The basic element is being a foreigner. Being white and pasty is a large component. Being from a northern hemisphere, Anglo-Saxon society is another big one. Being wealthy is important also. The cherry on top is the gringo accent. Whatever it may be, apparently I’m about as gringo as I can get.
The label is as easy to deconstruct as it hard to classify. Would I still be a gringo at seventeen if I had arrived here at thirteen years old? At ten years old? At seven years old? Also, if…
Stranded on the Beach
January 9, 2013
I remember the buzz about cities. In Ted Talks and magazine articles, people were raving about the efficiency of cities because, according to some grandiose regressions, the larger a city gets the more productive it becomes per capita. Megacities were claimed the future of mankind. I was not impressed. I lived in a mid-sized city and I didn’t see how someone living in Chicago or New York had a leg up on me in productivity. My perspective was clouded, however, by the fact that I already lived in a city. Now, living in a village of five hundred, I feel…Read the rest »
December 5, 2012
Often when I tell people I’ll be living in Diogo for the next six months, they tell me how privileged I am. They gush about the beach, the sand dunes, and the river. Now that I’m here, I can confirm that Diogo, Bahia, Brazil is a place worth gushing about. It makes an awesome postcard.
Diogo is situated on the northern coast of Bahia, an area called the Linha Verde. The Linha Verde, or “Green Line,” consists of kilometers and kilometers of palm trees, sand dunes, lush vegetation, and beaches. Some of the best and most famous beaches in the…
Noise Pollution or Noise Beautification?
September 24, 2012
Hey friends! Long time no blog. I have lots of excuses up my sleeves, but what matters is that I’m in Bahia, Brazil. Finally, I’m abroad. Finally, I’m a foreigner. New words, new people, new habits, new things. So many new things that I do or say each day that it’s difficult to process each detail. So for now, an observation. An American living in Brazil for 30+ years is asked what, if anything, he still isn’t used to about Bahia. He thinks for a moment and responds “the noise level.” In Salvador, the capital of Bahia, it’s nearly impossible…Read the rest »
Liberation By Multiculturalism
July 10, 2012
I remember a family friend, who had recently emigrated from the Philippines to my hometown in Minnesota, describing her bilingualism as “having two machines in my head.” Makes sense, I thought, just like people have machines in their heads for doing math or playing instruments. As I grew older, though, I came to believe her bilingualism was different than most mental “machines.” Whenever she talked on the phone with Filipino relatives, it wasn’t just the words that changed, but also the speed, the range of emotion, and the intensity. It was as if she became a different person. The Filipino…Read the rest »