Project visit to Juiz to ForaWe were back on the coach after another early start with an 8.15am leave for the next stage of our trip.
In preparation for our game on Wednesday against Tupi, we travelled the three hours or so to a place called Juiz de Fora.
We had a very important and humble stop off on route though, to visit the children’s charity, Onda Solidaria, that our Brazilian friend, Ricardo, runs.
It’s a charity that helps orphan and underprivileged children of Rio's favelas and from impoverished rural areas.
As I have said before, Ricardo is one of the main reasons we are here in Brazil but his passion does not just end with Fluminense Football Club, it extends far beyond that.
It is his dream to set up an eco-friendly, self-sufficient, oasis for these kids to eventually live at and he has already laid the foundations for that very dream.
With the help of volunteers and in partnership with an Indian tribe, who bring their experience and knowledge in building this eco-friendly place and who had travelled for 20 hours by bus to get there, Ricardo’s dream has started to become a reality.
The guy is a true inspiration and visiting the site today, with such an amazing welcoming from the children really did humble me. I wanted to adopt every single one of them there and then. You could really see in their faces exactly why Ricardo is doing what he is doing.
I was honestly blown away with what I saw and you could see how much our visit meant to everyone involved with the project and also our lads as well.
The day was marked by Ricardo and his volunteers burying a time capsule with numerous artefacts in, including an Exeter City shirt!
It was a day I will remember for a very long time and it’s a charity I will hold close to my heart from now on so expect me to be asking for donations when I arrange some sort of sponsored event!
We arrived in Juiz de Fora and found our hotel to be very comfortable. We then went the short distance to the university for some training.
The day was finished off with a lovely meal out and a nice early night ready for our game against Tupi.