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Brazil - BCG28-01-2023

Santos medical students launch Academic Project to Assist Indigenous Peoples in Sangradouro and Meruri

On Friday, January 13, a group of 41 young people, medical students and doctors from the Faculty of Medicine of the University Center of Lusíada (UNILUS), in Santos, São Paulo State, Brazil, reached the Salesian missions among the indigenous peoples of Sangradouro and Meruri, to carry out the 14th expedition of the Academic Project of Assistance to Indigenous Peoples (PAAPI).

Before beginning the journey among the indigenous Bororo people, in Meruri, and Xavante, in Sangradouro, PAAPI volunteers learned about the natural beauty of Chapada dos Guimarães Natural Park.

Sangradouro Mission - Saturday began with a visit to the village to allow all group members to get to know each other. In a conversation with cacique Alexandre (the indigenous village chief, Ed.) the volunteers received a warm welcome. In the afternoon, a group of students organized a health clinic where they administered medicines and treatments, while another group played with the children.

On Sunday, the project volunteers went early to the village where they attended Sunday Mass with the community. Afterwards, the groups split up to make home visits to the needy, completed the organization of the health center, and animated the children at the mission again. Instead, after lunch, the "burití run" took place, a Xavante tradition in which two groups of men compete by running 10 kilometers and taking turns carrying a burití plant on their shoulders. In the end, everyone danced in a festive atmosphere in the village.

After the race, students and doctors continued the activities of home visits and playing with children.

Meruri Mission - Early Saturday morning, students began organizing and sorting medicines to be dropped off at the mission's health post, while project leaders did a sweep of the village grounds to map houses. After lunch, a plan of activities was drawn up to complete the supply of medicines at the clinic, and the volunteers also organized various games for the children, thus contributing, together with the Salesians, to the creation of the festive oratory.

On Sunday, the day began with participation in Sunday Mass together with the community, presided over by Fr. Andelson de Oliveira, Meruri Mission Director. Facing local challenges, PAAPI project participants then washed the hair of some minors suffering from parasites. In the afternoon, activities continued with a festive oratory with Salesian trainees who are in the region. While on Monday, January 15, home visits began.

PAAPI is an academic project created and implemented by students of the Faculty of Medicine of the University Center of Santos in 2009. Fourteen expeditions have been carried out so far.