Hi, my name is Sarah, and Im choosing to spend my gap year in Brazil, with a charity called BMS, Baptist Missionary Society. What initially attracted me to BMS was the fact that they seemed to offer a well supported, well planned, and well balanced year out for a person looking to take a year out. This accompanied with our agreements in faith matters, was what made me decided to pursue the idea.
When I applied to become an action teamer as we are called I wasnt applying specifically to go to Brazil; I was assigned Brazil. They decided where to send us by considering lots of different factors, like the dynamics of the teams and what we could offer to the different programmes that BMS run in the different countries that they reach out to. I leave for training on 13th September, the idea of which is to prepare for any and every eventuality that might occur while in Brazil. When my team and I actually get to Brazil, we will be working in an already established Church centre in the slums, which among other things aims to get the children of Sau Paulo off the street. The way they go about this is by teaching them English, providing food when necessary, and just general day care. As well as doing this, I may also be teaching a little bit more advanced English to the adults in the area. The language is one area that I am a little worried about, and although I have been trying to learn a little Brazilian-Portuguese during this summer and we have some language training during initiation, my Brazilian-Portuguese is never going to be as good as Id like it to be – but hopefully Ill be able to get by.
As well as this year being a chance for me to branch out on my own, get out of my comfort zone, and find out what kind of person I am; the reason I didnt just go travelling, was because I wanted to do something good, and help people who are less fortunate than myself, and I hope to achieve both while Im away.
One area that Im also a bit worried about is the fact that this will be the longest time I will have ever been away from home. Although Im far from being a home bunny, Ive never really been away for that long, so Im a little worried that the culture shock coupled with being away from my friends and family, I might find myself getting homesick. Hopefully, with keeping busy, and having my team around, I will be able to stop this from happening, and this experience will be as life changing and unforgettable, as I believe it has the potential to be.
I am very grateful for everything that HFT, and its trustees have done to get me there, and Ill keep you informed.