Nearly every house here is surrounded by a high brick/cement wall or wrought-iron fence and gate. Walking along the street offers rare glimpses of yards, flowers and trees. It has been a bit hard for me to get used to the unpainted, gray, wet, mildewy cement walls everywhere. Few are painted. Here are a few photos of walls and fences we see as we walk from our apartment to downtown.
We have been teaching temple prep lessons to Alvaro and Tatiane for over a month. He just recently was ordained an Elder; and they have been so accepting of everything we told them, with no hesitation. As part of their preparation, and in order to give them a "sneak preview" in the temple before their sealing, we went with them to the Curitiba Temple on Saturday, March 14, 2015 to do baptisms for the dead. We didn't realize--until we called to schedule our coming--that this temple expects everyone to have their own names temple ready to do baptisms; but the temple workers kindly found 5 names each for Alvaro and Tatiane for which to do the ordinances. The 1st councilor to the temple president said to us, "It is a great privilege for me to thank you for helping my people." We were able to watch and help. It truly was a special experience for all of us. It was fun to see Alvaro's arm around Tatiane's shoulder and to see them holding hands during the day. We had arranged for Nino to drive us there in his car. Nino has been struggling with his new fruitaría business, and appreciated that we paid his gas, plus some for his service. On the way home, we had a flat tire, which he had replaced in minutes while we sat nervously in the car. He took us to a churrascaría for lunch. We hope to do the same for Nino and Ana, and Dieneffer some time soon.
Here is a mix of houses in Bocaiúva and the surrounding area. There are very nice homes, which are usually of typical Brazilian styling. There is no city zoning laws, so the nicer homes are often built next door to tiny shanty homes. During the "summer" (Dec. 20 - Feb. 20), many people transformed their homes into very nice places, by either building new additions, or adding a few coats of bright paint. Other homes have never been painted or are badly needing another coat. It is very common for people to buy a small plot of ground (usually a on a steep hillside), then build 2-3 tiny houses on it for extended family or as rental property for income. Usually, grandparents live in the first house, followed by children's families in the back. Later, the grandparents move to the smallest of the homes. The larger picture below, which has 4 houses built on a small tract of land on a hillside, is a good example of what most homes are like here. Most Brazilians don't have many "things," and they move frequently and quickly. Families are GONE after a couple hours of 2-3 people packing a pickup or two--this makes it hard keeping our new Grupo Directory current!
We try to meet with Elder and sister Brown (Larry and Kay) every couple months, for "R & R." They are the only other senior couple missionaries in this part of Brazil, serving in Canoínhas, in the Curitiba South Mission (just south of our Curitiba Mission). We met them Thursday morning, enjoyed the tourist bus to many attractions in the city. We got off at several locations, then got back on when another bus came by (every 1/2 hour). By mid-afternoon, we could tell we wouldn't make it back in time for our Seminary class #2; so we left the Brown's mid-tour, at the Parque Tanguá and took a taxi to the Guaraituba bus terminal, then the bus home to Bocaiúva. So glad we did because it rained hard all the way, and because 4 students came to our class!