Internationalag's Blog

Final day in Brazil
July 1, 2010, 4:27 pm
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Today is our final day to enjoy Brazil. This morning we had a tour of H. Stern, a precious stone jewelry company. The tour provided a look into how the stones are mined and created into gorgeous rings, pendants, and earrings. Some of us are spending the remaining part of the day touring more of the city, while others are spending time at the beach. Tomorrow we leave later in the afternoon for the airport and will arrive back in Texas Saturday morning!


Rio de Janeiro
July 1, 2010, 4:10 pm
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Yesterday evening, we arrived in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. After checking into our hotel, most of the class ventured down two blocks to the Copacabana beach for dinner. All day today was set aside to tour the city, where we visited a local fresh produce market, Christ the Redeemer, a historic Brazilian cemetery, the biggest Cathedral Church, and Sugar Loaf Mountain, as well as everything in between. For lunch, we enjoyed another Brazilian BBQ feast. Tomorrow is a free day; some of the class is touring H. Stern, the jewelry company, while others are planning to lay by the beach and soak up the sun!

Sugar Cane Mill
June 28, 2010, 11:25 pm
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Last night, we celebrated our visit in Dourados with Dr. Harder’s family, who prepared a Brazilian/Texas BBQ feast. Our meal included pork, sausage, beef, rolls, fruit, and of course the traditional Brazilian drink, Caipirinha.

This morning, the class was fortunate enough to visit a sugar cane mill, which is owned by the American company, Bunge. While at the mill, we toured the fields during the harvesting, as well as the actual production facilities.

This afternoon, the class got together to present and reflect on everyone’s group case studies. The topics being studied include indigenous people, extension and education, cattle production, sugar cane production, and eco/agro tourism.

Tonight, we are having a farewell dinner with the UFGD students at the local pizzeria. Tomorrow, we are leaving bright and early for Campo Grande where we will board our first plane destined for Brasilia, and then from Brasilia we fly to Rio de Janeiro.

Iguazu falls
June 27, 2010, 3:59 pm
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After a 10 hour bus ride in the middle of the night, we had the privilege of seeing one the top waterfalls in the world.  Iguaza Falls lies on the Iguaza River which separates Brazil and Argentina.  Our group had the opportunity to do various activities while at the falls,which consisted of hiking the trail next to the river up to the falls, taking a boat ride right up to the falls, and riding in a helicopter over the falls.  The falls are a result of a volcanic eruption which left a huge crack in the Earth.  After a full day at the falls we had to make the 10 hour bus ride back to Dourados.  Luckily we got to sleep in the next morning and are spending the rest of the day working on our case study presentations.

June 25, 2010, 9:42 pm
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This morning the class went and visited Embrapa, the Brazilian version of the USDA. During our visit we learned about the organization and their involvment in corn and soybean production. After lunch we returned to the Dourados reservation and visited with some of the indigenous families living there. Tonight we leave for Iguazu falls near the Brazil/Argentina border and will be returning early Sunday morning.

The Landless Workers
June 25, 2010, 1:12 am
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Today was spent at Itamarati Farm, which is one of the largest landless workers settlements in the country.  In Brazil there is a land reform movement allowing landless workers to obtain land from unproductive farmers.  The landless workers movement is a social movement to help landless workers or citizens acquire land for future agricultural purposes.  While visiting the farm, we were able to have two different perspective opinions: the landless workers and the people who are trying to help them.  All of the landless workers that we talked to were very open about their stories and how they ended up there.  Before the landless workers get to a settlement they have to camp-out in front of the unproductive farm on the side of the road, which can go on for several years.  Before getting to Itamarati Farm we were able to see one of the camps.  It was good to see then whole process: the camping and the workers on the land they are given.

Back to Dourados
June 23, 2010, 10:04 pm
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This morning the class had some down time to work on our case studies before heading back to Dourados. We arrived back in Dourados around 4 pm after a 3 hours bus ride. The uneventful evening will come in handy for students to continue working on their case studies. Since the rest of the trip is jam-packed with more international agriculture activities.

For those of you who are concerned about the Brazil floods, there is a map below detailing the class’ location in Brazil versus the flooding location in the country. As you will see, we are far away from any destruction!