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Feira Nova, Brazil

December 12, 2009 to December 20, 2009


A woman washes dishes outside of the shack where her family lives.
Country profile

Give new meaning to Christmas by helping families improve their lives and experiencing amazing adventures in beautiful Brazil. During our time near Recife, we will build with local residents, sharing cultures, making friends and building memories. You do not need previous building experience—just a willing heart and enthusiasm.

About Brazil
Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth most populous country in the world. Half of the country is covered by the gigantic system of rivers known as the Amazon. Dense jungles with abundant wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls and excellent beaches characterize the landscape.

Masses of people move into urban areas to search for employment. In urban areas, however, there are not enough affordable and decent housing options. Consequently, many live in severely, overcrowded shantytowns and slums. An unstable economy and extremely high inflation rates make circumstances worse for already impoverished Brazilians. It was recently estimated that more than 50 million Brazilians live in substandard housing.

About Habitat for Humanity Brazil
Habitat for Humanity Brazil was formed in 1987 and builds houses of cement block, with clay tile roofs, cement floors, wooden doors and metal windows. HFH Brazil is currently working in more than 21 cities in eight Brazilian states.

For more information on HFH Brazil, visit or search Brazil’s country profile.

Types of construction for volunteers
Global Village volunteers may work on a variety of tasks. HFH Brazil’s house model is defined with the partner family, always respecting the goal of building a simple, decent and economical house. Houses are built using the region’s most common method and available resources, such as cement, sand, brick and metal.

Standard itinerary
Day 1, typically Friday
: Depart for Recife, Brazil.
Day 2, Saturday
: Arrival day; greeted at airport by GV hosts.
Day 3, Sunday
: Welcome with Habitat staff and families; walking tour of the community; dinner and rest.
Days 4–7, Monday–Friday (workdays)
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical local food; time for team activities.
Day 8, Saturday
: Cultural tour and closing ceremony with host program; dinner and free time after work for team activities.
Day 9, Sunday
: Departure day.

Note: Special events throughout the week include additional opportunities for cultural outings, visits to local schools, churches, nonprofits and free time for other activities.

Habitat Brazil will determine the best lodging option for our group, taking into consideration the group size as well as proximity to the construction site. Work teams usually stay in hotels that are basic, safe and clean. The team will stay two to four people per room. Private or shared baths will also be available.

Breakfast and dinner will typically be served in the hotel or at a local restaurant. Lunch will usually be packed each morning and taken to the build site. Purified water will be provided on site. Volunteers should bring water bottles to carry with them. You may also bring or purchase snacks to take on site.

Trip cost
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).

Team leaders
Mary Nell Sorensen is an avid traveler to Brazil and an enthusiastic participant in building teams. She has helped build homes and churches as a member and/or leader in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal and Brazil. She first worked with HFH in 2006 and appreciates the support and organization it provides. She is a native and long-time resident of Seattle and teaches English as a second language at the University of Washington. She enjoys vacations with a purpose because they combine her love of travel with her desire to make a difference in the world. “All of the builds I have worked on have been amazing adventures and wonderful opportunities to meet people and share cultures.”

For more information about this trip, please send an e-mail to Mary at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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