IMG_6127

Meet Sydney and Cricket, American ambassadogs in Sao Paulo.

For the second year in a row (not bad, considering we’ve been here one year and two weeks), the pups were ambassadogs at the American Society Volunteer Day at the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo.

It was their job that Saturday to meet and greet the youth who came to play at the consulate as they do every year at this time. The youth came from Helen Drexel, an orphanage run by Roberta Lund; Projeto Sol, a community center run by Sister Angela; and SPace, an educational program run by Sampa Church. AmSoc donates funds for each of these amazing, life-enhancing entities.

This year, ninety kids came to enjoy soccer, American football, tennis, basketball, and swimming.

IMG_6188

IMG_6147

IMG_6171

IMG_6160

They also had arts and crafts and plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs and delectable desserts to fill empty-from-playing bellies.

The volunteers have just about as much fun as the kids, as witnessed by the same volunteers showing up several years in a row. It’s about getting out in the sunshine and playing, but it’s also about making a connection with the youth of Brazil. I think the volunteers benefit from the interaction as much as the kids do.

IMG_6144

Volunteers and donations came from the U.S. Consulate, the Corinthians Steamroller [American] Football Team (a gold-star favorite with the kids), the Guilherme Lima Instituto Muda Brazil Soccer Group, General Mills (which donated juice and string potatoes for the hot dogs, a Brazilian thing), the Hyatt Hotel (the devoted cooks), Camp Juice, and Sophie and Theo’s Cupcakes (which were devoured with gusto by children and adults alike). Boy Scouts from the Graded School kept watch in the pool area as ever-ready life guards, an especially important task considering that many of the kids who hopped in the pool don’t know how to swim!

IMG_6156

As I stood at the ever-extending end of the line for lunch, I got to enjoy some young man-cubs (rapazes) exhibiting their soccer-kick prowess, as they pretended not to know I was watching. Man, were they good! and barefoot!

IMG_6190 IMG_6191

I then struck up a conversation with four young meninas shivering in their wet bathing suits as they waited for the food. They must have thought I was deaf as I kept asking them to repeat their rapid-fire comments to me.

IMG_6192 IMG_6173

I couldn’t understand them to save my soul! Finally, we got around to names and ages. They were 11, 12, and 9 and 9. I told them I was three. They looked at me quizzically. Then I said 13. They smiled. No. Okay, so I’m 53 (yes, I was still lying). Oh, that was a good one! I was velha (old)! and they knew another velha, Sister Angela. (Sister later told me that they don’t know a lot of “old folks,” because the grandparents typically live in the countryside, while these kids are stuck in the city.)

The kids quickly scarfed down their food and zipped back to play, returning only for dessert and then rushing off before they were rounded up to return home.  But it had been another great day of fun organized by AmSoc.

Until next year, kids!