Have you ever been somewhere in your life that just feels rights, everything seems to line up with your thinking and beliefs? Well, The Fools is an eclectic mix of vibrant and diverse people who have been drawn together, and now ourselves, or is it the other way round…hmm who cares!
Perhaps I should start by clearing up The Fools. This is the name of the organisation in Lomba Grande an Italian town in Rio Grange Do Sul in southern Brazil, they are set on a farm remote from the CBD, yes I call it a CBD when really it’s a ‘dorp’ or village area. The Fools create a designed festival of language learning activities that quite simply, ‘walk on the sunny side of the street’ so to speak.
I am a firm believer in experiential learning and interactive discovery for learners rather than classroom repetition, but everything has its place I guess.
The students, ranging from kids to teens to adults, turn up and from the initial welcoming and introductions, they commit to drop their native Portuguese and for the duration of the immersion only speak English or Spanish or another secondary language for the duration which can be as long as 5 days. WOW!
Now, the team of The Fools is quite special and unique in many ways, I am not going to name them all, not for fear of forgetting a name, rather that this is a blog not a biography and each person I have met at The Fools each deserves a different but unique biography to be told and then this post would be even more tedious to some of my readers….only kidding.
However, Leo, Eduardo and Diego are the most talented brothers I have ever met and with Ali and Millie they cover topics from Reiki, Baking, Hiking, Spanish, English, Portuguese, crazy sports galore, Ojo de Dios, Macrame, Permaculture, Yoga, Kudalini Meditation, Sunday Market, Music….and on and on, the list is quite extensive and they are ably supported by a group of truly fantastic inspiring Fools such as Jason, Lexie, Bell, Cassio, Susan, Simone, Debra, Ananti, Eduarda, Jacob, Reiner……….I think a criteria for being an effective team member, is that you are ‘one sandwich short of a full picnic’ which is quite possibly why we fit almost seamlessly with The Fools.
We tried out everything possible whilst there and also introduced some of our own craziness into The Fools. When in Rome, do as the Romans and it’s quite easy for us to be a little crazy.
We were involved in English immersions from our very first day with teens, then with adults, then kids then a large group of teachers, with each immersion during our stay being quite different and truly amazing with us witnessing and being part of the learners’ progress in speaking English.
Now this post could go on and on and I am seriously editing comments to keep it to a brief read, but it’s really hard leaving anything out. Perhaps adding that meeting amazing volunteers, namely, Ben and Krysta from ‘the states’ that’s the USA to the rest of us, just added a cherry to the cake. We had great fun learning from them and experiencing new things with them, some friends for life.
One thing for certain the experience was fabulous but we are truly fortunate to have connected with The Fools and…..we will be back to top up the personal crazy level necessary to be an effective Fool.