We arrived safely in the Northeast coastal city of Salvador yesterday afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, we toured the city and learned much about its rich history. Salvador was a major port for slaves arriving from West Africa and today approximately 85% of the population is of African descent. Slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888 and its influence can still be seen today in the mixture of cultural and religious practices of the city´s residents.
This morning we are getting ready to greet our UNICEF colleagues and travel with them to visit a UNICEF-supported program for AIDS prevention and support for children. We will also drive to Feira de Santana (1 hour west of Salvador) to see a community mobilization program before driving another 2 hours to Conceicao do Coite. This community is one in which UNICEF is working to develop an integrated and sustainable approach to programming that involves the entire community.
We will be spending the evening in Conceicao do Coite so that we can begin visits first thing in the morning. I will probably not have internet access until tomorrow evening, so more then.