Jerilderie St Joseph teacher Loretta McNamara is still reeling from her Brazilian experience of a life time.By Hannah Nichols
Miss McNamara was selected as one of ten Wagga Diocesan teachers to attended the 2013 World Youth Day celebrations in July – where she even caught a glimpse of the Pope.
During the trip, which ended in early August, Miss McNamara immersed head first into the Brazilian culture.
‘‘During the first week we lived with a Brazilian family – it was an interesting experience.
‘‘The family was a fairly poor family.
‘‘We toured around other poor communities, were the Catholic Church is funding and setting up help for the communities,’’ she said.
During the second week of the emersion trip Miss McNamara joined in with three million other World Youth Day-goers at Rio, on Copacabana Beach.
‘‘It was a huge eye opener.
‘‘Rio isn’t what I expected.
‘‘We (the group of ten teachers) went to concerts every night, visited a number of Cathedrals and went to catechesis every day.’’
During one concert Miss McNamara said the group she was travelling with were caught up in riots.
During her time in Rio she stayed in ‘Aussie Central’ with 1500 other Australians who were visiting Rio for World Youth Day.
‘‘Aussie Central was high security, we were fenced in.
‘‘It was just so dangerous.’’
‘‘For the third week we went to Iguazu Falls Retreat in Argentina for a debrief and wine down session, before we flew home.’’
Miss McNamara said she had decided to make the journey to gain valuable experience into how other cultures live.
‘‘The social justice aspect really intrigued me.
‘‘In 2007 I went to the Philippines and worked in a dump site.
‘‘I wanted to see another culture and live the way they do so I could come back and educate other Australians on just how fortunate we are.’’
Miss McNamara said she would like to attend World Youth Day again, and said she wants to share the experience next time.
‘‘I would like to take students if I went again – it would be a fantastic learning opportunity.’’
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