Yesterday, Friday, June 6th we received some guests from Mauldin, South Carolina. A small city of about 40,000 people neighboring larger city of Greenville. Our guests were Tom & Debbie Bannister who came to spend a full day in Rocinha.
It was Jody's day to make a tour and around 12:30pm he texted me saying that guess, Tom & Debbie had 4 bags of school supplies. He asked me if I could meet him at the top of the hill to pick up these bags. I took a new friend Suzanne not only to help me carry the bags but also show her a little more of the favela. Suzanne only arrived a day before so it was good for her to see our main street and experience our public transit van system here.
We met Tom & Debbie and took the bags and told them we would meet them later at the DJ School Spin Rocinha. Suzanne and I went to eat then we arrived at the DJ School and started unpacking some of the donations. I always like to seperate materials for different projects. They brought so much that I only put what I could fit on the table. I wanted to put enough on the table but also be able to take a good photo of the supplies.
For the English school classes I seperate pens, pencils, notebooks, dictionaries. For the art class, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, paintbrushes and paints. For children or pre-schoolers its age appropriate books, crayons, puzzles. For the DJ or music school, CD's, pendrives and markers are necessary. As long as everybody receives something, Rocinha benefits!
My plan immediately is I wanted to write a blog post about these special people. They had read about out tour by searching online and saw the Pack for a Purpose logo on the site. They had explained that through many of their contacts through church, high school and college groups they were able to receive these donations from the community. Tom has worked with several different non profit agencies from the disabled to youth at risk programs. Debbie's favorite thing is art, she loves to make jewelry, paint and make digital art. She gave us beautiful examples of her work. Three framed digital pieces were given to myself, Suzanne and Jody. I also received an extra that I want to give to Dembore. During the tour Suzanne also met up with a boy in one of the alleyways and gave him one.
They also came with a special gift from their grand daughter Alexis "Oakley" Bannister. Oakley is a budding Music Producer at 16 years old. Her and her friends have put together a team to help produce and promote Oakley's music. Debbie handed me a manila envelope with several CD's inside and told me these were Oakley's music. This is a girl who also likes to work on the jeep with her dad, is part of the ROTC and has won safety awards in Robotics regional competitions. So, our DJ School was honored by her gift for us. Receiving her production inspiration from Deadmau5 and Skrillex, we hope that she can visit us someday even if she becomes famous!
Tom & Debbie big hugs and thank you for thinking of ROCINHA!