Friday, September 14, 2007

New idea for gaining clients for the language school. Following the car incident on Monday (see last post), everything, thanks to my Father in law, has been sorted A OK. The guy who I bumped is seriously toying with the idea of enrolling his family in Cultura Inglesa school. This sparked an idea with Steve over lunch that day...
S: "It may not be the most orthodox way to get clients for Cultura, but it seems to have worked".
Me: "Well, I'd be happy to bump into as many cars as you like around Natal to get more students for the school"
S: "Yeah, and after they get out the car to look at the damage you could say 'Are you tired of life in Natal? Why not learn a new language and get away from it all'"...

A bit about music. Yesterday, I had a boys night out jamming with Dyego (a teacher from Cultura and a good friend), Mariano (soon to emigrate to the USA - boo!) and Wesley (a cheerful Brazilian drummer who I had never met before). We played from the hours of 10pm to midnight at a rented studio, the only time we were all free. For two hours with hiring the cymbals we each paid R$7.50 - about £2.00. So, I couldn't complain about the good value.

I had to borrow a guitar (it wasn't the greatest work of art, I have to say). We mangled a few hits from REM, Radiohead, Elvis, Pearl Jam and the Goo Goo Dolls amongst others.
We miss Mev here with his all round muscial nouse. I was singing for the most part so you can see it was a flawed venture from the start. Honestly, I think our efforts were what the word "shambolic" was invented to describe. But it was a laugh and we'll do the same next week with some more practice. Although, I'm exhausted today as after we packed up I had to drive Dyego and Wesley home as it was too late for their buses. Dyego and especially Wesley live out in the sticks (or "the boondocks" as my mother would say), and when I fell into bed at past 2.30am, after driving on deserted and sometimes unlit roads, I was reminded again by what a big, open place Brazil actually is.

A bit about photography. One of Brazil's greatest living icons is hardly known in his home country. Sebastiao Salgado is an award-winning, world-class photographer who documents (always in black and white) the plight of the poor, the working classes, those affected by war or famine or forced migration across the developing world. He has also exhibited pictures of wildlife, but it is his ability to capture something of the sadness and hope in people that has made him so famous.

I first found out about him about 8 years ago when I flicked through a book of his at my cousin Paul's house in Washington DC. Since then I saw with Rachel his Migration exhibition in London which was one of the most moving (and shocking) things I have ever witnessed.

Salgado has just opened an exhibition in London about coffee workers in Ethiopia, Brazil, India and Guatamala. See it if you can! A good place to find out about Salgado is here on the Guardian website which has a whole section devoted to him.

Student blog. This semester I tried a new idea which has worked quite well - a blog, in English, for my students. I post details of tests, homework and links to good websites on there. But, I also use it as a board to put more interesting things on - videos, pictures (of the students or their work) and anything else I find that might keep them interested. Sometimes the site gets 30 hits a day so it seems to be working. Related to the information above, I just posted a video on there with clips of Sebastiao Salgado's photography. The video was put together by a Brazilian hoping to raise awareness of Salgado's work. My website is: Take a look!

No comments: