By L. Doherty
From 18th to the 20th of March, all of the Form 4 pupils went to Brasília as part of the Brazilian Social Studies curriculum. The aim of the trip was to visit the Federal District and its important governmental buildings, as well as getting to know more about Brasilia’s residents’ lifestyles. During the time we spent in Brasília, we visited government institutions, famous monuments and interviewed residents and well as deputies.
Brasília is a planned city, and it was very interesting to explore a place so different to our chaotic and definitely not planned São Paulo. Our three-day trip included a lot of studying, however we were still able to entertain ourselves while doing so.
After arriving from the airport, we split up into groups and went directly to some of Brasília’s superblocks. The superblocks are numbered residential areas which have been planned as part of the city’s “Plano Piloto”. We walked around superblocks 307, 309 and 109. They all have measured green areas and for every two superblocks there is one hospital and one school. When exploring the superblocks, the groups interviewed people, asking questions about public transportation, security, employment and overall living conditions in Brasília. We also asked the residents their opinion on other pressing matters occurring in Brazil, such as the Military Intervention in Rio de Janeiro. We took notes on how the superblocks looked, sketched and analyzed the maps we received. The interviews with the residents and our note-taking at the superblocks helped us really understand people’s routines. The information we collected was also useful for our Brasilian Social Studies projects on urbanization and whether military interventions are efficient.
On the second day, our year group visited the National Congress of Brazil and the Supreme Federal Court (STF) which are on the “Praça dos Três Poderes” in Brasília. The National Congress consists of the Senate and the Chamber of the Deputies, whilst the SFC is another sector of the government. When in the Senate, we watched a special session in tribute to the “Dia do Índio” in Brazil. When in the Chamber of Deputies, our “mission” was almost impossible. We had to stop deputies in the middle of their busy timetable and try to interview them as fast as possible, asking questions about laws, voting and their opinion on certain events. We acted as reporters and that was quite hard, however we enjoyed this challenge.
At the SFC we watched a very interesting trial, and were able to sit right in front of the judges and lawyers. The procedures were long and difficult, however the formal and tense atmosphere of the place represented how government issues must be taken seriously. At the end of the day we went to visit a very famous site in the city: the Cathedral of Brasília. It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and is a modern approach to the architecture of churches in Brazil.
Lastly, on the third day, we went to the “Ministério da Fazenda” in the Ministry Avenue in Brasília’s “Plano Piloto”, to watch a presentation by one of this sector’s representatives. The presentation taught us about the pension system in Brazil and how it relates to the Brazilian economy. We also understood how our generation affects and will be affected by this funding plan which is now being changed by the government.
Brasília is a unique place and this trip was definitely an enriching one to all of us. It was very interesting and important to visit our country’s capital city. The guided tours helped us learn and understand all of the information, and having the whole group there made the trip a very pleasant experience.