Today I attended one of the top Universities in Rio. Luis Carlos was teaching sign language which is a required course for all teachers in Brazil. He was excellent, combining acting with clowning, making each facial expression so obvious I could actually follow most of the conversation. It was my first sign language lesson and I loved it. What really surprised me was the "school" cafeteria. You wouldn't believe what i am about to tell you. It was a buffet. Nothing spectacular about that aspect of it. What was different was the food was all organic, gourmet with everything you might find in one of the best resturants in your area. I am not exaggerating one iota. Each dish was mouth watering and there were waiters to take your plates, utensils, and glasses away after you were done eating. One of the dishes was shrimp in a creamy pumpkin sauce. Delicious!!!! The beef was filet mignon. The dessert section had Caramel flan, coconut flan, banana cream pie, decadent chocolate cake, to name just a few. All home made. Can you imagine going to school and eating like this everyday? There was an entire section with nothing but vegitable dishes. Another section with sushi. Salmon, crab, and cooks preparing fresh meat on a grill. And I don't remember seeing one obese person. Perhaps a few pounds over weight on a few people. This food is brain food, if you leave out the dessert!! It made me sad to think about the food industry in our country, what we feed our children in school, and what we consider normal eating. Organic food is expensive, relatively speaking, and organic restaurants are practically unheard of. Imagine what it would be like if you could eat organic gourmet dishes daily and cheaply??? What a concept. In addition, this is a Catholic University!! Luis Carlos is openly gay, works there as an adjunct, and is well respected. I sat down to observe people while Luis Carlos took care of some things. I was amazed at the relaxed atmosphere. People seemed happy, content, and relaxed. There was an exhibit the students had put together showing innovative approaches to recycling and improving the environment. It was very creative and practical. One was a beach umbrella with it's own trash container attached that goes into the sand and helps keep the umbrella sturdy and straight. There are no garbage cans on the beaches in Rio so most people leave their trash which is picked up by laborers in the wee hours of the morning. The students seem to be much more aware of the need for environmental change. Well, that was only one example.
The food and the relaxed, friendly ambiance was enough to make me wish i had studied here when i was younger.