Anápolis – February '08
This was basically a “research trip”. With the move coming up, I needed to go over and actually see the new office in person, so that I could begin to plan a strategy for setting up networking. It was also an opportunity to see Anápolis for the first time, and to meet some of the people I would end up working with who were not part of SIL. I spent a week there, followed by a short trip over to Brasília to consult with the folk at ALEM about problems due to lightning.
Unlike every other trip I have ever made in Brazil, this time I drove. No, I still do not have a car here and don't plan to get one. However, the administration was wanting to move one of the group vehicles over to Anápolis, and so I was asked to drive it. Fortunately, it was a car, not a Volkswagen van, and had air conditioning and power steering, so the major discomforts of such a drive were avoided. And, as you probably can guess from looking at the Travels page, I enjoy driving!
The trip took two days. If I had really been in a hurry, I could have done it in one… and arrived in Anápolis well after dark. Instead, I went about halfway the first day, to the small city of Aragarças, on the Goiás side of the Mato Grosso – Goiás border. The road was in excellent shape. As I arrived, I drove down the main street, looking for a place to stay. From what people had said I was expecting to pay upward of R$50-100 for a hotel room. As I drove, I saw a hotel on the left side of the street, so I went in to check it out. Lo and behold, they only charged R$30 per night! And the room was clean and comfortable, the air conditioner worked, the shower was hot… and there was a refrigerator full of goodies to boot (though I left the two cans of beer untouched). And across the street was a pizzeria with excellent pizza.
The next day I finished the trip, arriving in Anápolis shortly after noon. The road was nowhere near as good as it had been in Mato Grosso, and there was a stretch where I knocked something loose under the hood, and it still rattles. But I made it. The first hour in town was spent running around looking for the house of the people I was supposed to meet. After that, I was taken over to the guest house where I stayed while I was there.
Anápolis is smaller than Cuiabá. Therefore, it does not have all the conveniences that the larger city has. This is not a problem. The much larger city of Goiânia is only about a half-hour to forty-five minute drive away, and there are buses that leave every twenty minutes. There are a couple of small shopping malls and some decent grocery stores. So far, I haven't really had the chance to see what all there is to do.
Anápolis is definitely cooler that Cuiabá! At a notably higher altitude, the temperatures don't rise so much during the day, and drop to much more comfortable sleeping levels at night. Yes, there is plenty of rain. And there is plenty of lightning. One of the things I will definitely have to do when I set up our network is provide for lightning protection.
The national capital, Brasília, is only a couple of hours away by car, or three by bus (which stops at every Tom, Dick and Harry bus station along the way). Buses leave every hour, and are fairly cheap.
A view of Anápolis from the window of the New Tribes Guest House where I stayed
The new office building actually belongs to Missão Novas Tribos do Brasil (New Tribes Mission of Brazil). It was originally constructed as a dormitory for children of New Tribes members. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, after it was finished it was never used. For years, New Tribes continued to maintain the building without any real use for it, until SIL began to look at options for relocating the functions of the Cuiabá center. When our representatives visited Anápolis and began to make contact with others with whom we would ultimately work together, they realized that our need for an office represented a great opportunity to put this unused building to work.
New Office Building in Anápolis
Of course, converting the building from a dormitory to an office will be a considerable task! There is a lot of difference in the way rooms are utilized, and it will be necessary to construct a computer network, set up a system of office telephones, and much more. I anticipate another work trip in March and April to actually accomplish a lot of that.
Here are some more views of the new office.
Looking out toward the front of the property
Our (eventual!) new Meeting Room
My (eventual!) new Office
As you can see, we have a building, but a lot of work to do.
When I finished in Anápolis, instead of heading straight back to Cuiabá, I instead took a quick trip over to Brasília, to visit our colleagues at ALEM. Their chief computer personnel had contacted me not long before about some serious lightning damage that happened in December. So I decided to go over and have a look for myself.
A Mild Example of Stormy Weather in Brasília
Foggy Morning over Dining Hall
Since the big hit, which managed to fry thousands of dollars worth of equipment, the local techo, David, has been manually disconnecting the entire network every time the weather threatens. Given the nature of storms in the area, this is quite understandable! However, it would be nice to come up with a better solution. During our talks, we came up with several ideas, which we will discuss with others in the future.
David working with Juliana, an Education Specialist going to Africa
Of course, life at the ALEM center is not all work. People find time to relax and enjoy themselves!
ALEM folk playing volleyball
After my time at ALEM, I returned home to Cuiabá.
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