This text was kindly translated by Daniel Fisberg. Thanks!

During my first day, I noticed, deep down the Red Sea, this blue color I had never seen before. In the following morning, a spectacular red color made me smile involuntarily, from the top of the Sinai Mount, in which is believed that Moses received the 10 Commandments. In a day with much more than 24 hours, I moved from the bottom of the sea to one of the highest parts of the Sinai desert.

Mont Sinai

We agreed to meet at eleven in front of the hotel. From there, we would head towards de Saint Catherine monastery that lies on the Sinai bottom. Our plan was to climb the mount during the early morning, avoiding the burning sunshine but on time for the breaking dawn. Hundreds, if not thousands, of commuters coming from Dahab and Sharm El Sheik decided to share that full moon night with us. Dozens, if not hundreds, Bedouins decided to use the night to make a living.
Right at the beginning of the climb, our 19-year old guide showed us the meeting point and told us the duration of our journey: approximately 3 hours going up. He was expecting the Sun to rise at around 5 in the morning. Hundreds of Bedouins offered their camels in the pitch of the night, for a variety of prices. The moon struggle to lit the way, blocked by the several hills in the region.
The way up is not easy. The recommendation to us was to bring extra clothes (because we would sweat a lot along the way), a warm jacket and a flashlight. The steepness is not the biggest challenge, but the heat and the extension of the rock and sand trail are. From time to time we could spot a little hut offering a break, water, tea and some appetizers – all, of course, at western prices. My guide was convinced that I looked like a football player named Pato. In every stop, after some words in Arabic, the Bedouins were waving and calling me by my new nickname. 
After a few hours I could feel my t-shirt soaked up, but my feet and my operated knee indicated I could go all the way till the end. The landscape showed only the outline of the different mountains around, but the reflection of the moon and the tourists flashlights drew an interesting scenario. The final resting was 750 steps away from the summit, suggested as the best place to watch the sunrise
 Hundreds of people gathered, seeking the best view and watched the beautiful drawing of colors in the sky. Red and yellow tones not only gave color but also shaped the landscape. Slowly the Sun went hiding and groups of religious passersby - most of Eastern origin - were singing and celebrating the divine presence in one of the holiest sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims. And whatever the belief of the observer, the place conveys a different energy.
Suddenly, a tip of the sun dawned. The red horizontal line is now united in a well defined semicircle rising rapidly and trying to free up from the mountain. With the sun completely exposed, more songs in several languages could be heard. The spectacle of the sun was over and gave room  to the observation of several hills below us.
To descend, an alternative way of "just" 300 steps, almost a shortcut – a two hour walk- straight to the monastery. On the way down my legs begged for a pause and trembled every brief rest. With the monastery always in sight, the descent had a visible goal and served as motivation for the last strength of this 7 hour journey. Sure, the rocks in various shades of orange, brown and yellow were breathtaking.  An unforgettable experience.

Dive in the Red Sea– Blue Hole

I am not a big diving fan. I think fishes are better off without me. However, this time I decided to try snorkeling in a region with no more than 30 meters of diameter, called Blue Hole. The dive is literally done in this hole in the coral reef.
As soon as I entered the water I realized I wasn’t in a random place. The various shades of blue, mainly affected by the sun light, served only as a backdrop to the marine biodiversity in a space so restricted. The coral reefs serve as a gateway to the open sea. In a few seconds of swimming, the depth exceeded 30m. Other seconds and the sea could only be touched 120m deeper.
 From the "high ground", I watched the distance fish I had only seen before in saltwater aquariums, usually mentioned as rarities. Brightly colored or patterned in discrete shoals of hundreds if not thousands of flying fish with scuba divers, apparently already familiar with the constant presence. They say the Sinai is one of the best places to dive. I guess it was a good start for a first time diver.


This text was voluntarily translated by Michele Fidelhoc. Thanks!
Getting to Dahab was a relief. For a moment I thought that the Desert of Sinai would remain completely desert. Not that I was looking for something specific, but I particularly love to interact with the Arabs, and was starting to miss the Bedouin hospitality here.

The city of Dahab is located in the Aqaba gulf, in a little spot where I believe that water is the only thing that manages to pass quietly. On one side, Egypt; on the other side, Saudi Arabia. In the north, Israel and Jordan. According to one of the guides, a Japanese guy that once thought it was ok to cross the gulf and visit Saudi Arabia is still trying to come back (jokes put aside, it’s not worth the risk).

Tourism is the main – and apparently the only – commercial activity over here. The area is dominated by Bedouins whose traditions include the breeding of animals and consumption of underground water, traditions that are passed from generation to generation. Of course that the movement of tourists from all over ends up compromising the authenticity of their attitude, but generally speaking, the people over here showed to be very willing and fun to talk to. They sit with me, talk about soccer (little tip: knowing the name of an Egyptian player can open a lot of doors – or at least qualify conversations) and make the whole experience more and more pleasurable.

The beach is something unbelievable: less than 2 meters from the sand, it is possible to snorkel and observe a majestic coral reef and a diversity of fishes that I, big city guy, had only seen in screensavers. From one of the seaside bars, one can see the wilderness of the Red Sea and its divers on one side, and on the other side, the movement  of the merchants, torn into offering goods almost by force, and cleaning the sidewalk every five minutes. With salty water and soap.

The water from the tap and the shower is also salty. Not as intensely as the one from the sea, but salty enough to irritate the eyes during shower and to frown from the unpleasant taste while brushing your teeth. The advantage is that the restaurants’ kitchens are not visible for the tourists, which spares them from knowing about which water the meals are prepared with.

While I snorkeled – I’m not the biggest fan of deep diving – I got a little upset to see some garbage bags dancing together with the shoaling fishes. I discovered afterwards, that a local residents’ organization invites the tourists for a “underwater cleaning” on the first Saturday of every month. More than that, it is very clear the impact of a single piece of trash when improperly discarded. I decided to write about the experience of diving in another text, so as to not mix things up and ending up losing the beauty of the place.

During the day, it is worth going to a beach to dive. And that goes also for the main beach, down the stairs from any one of the seaside bars, and to get blown away by the existence of so much sea life so close to the surface. At night, having dinner and drinking a local beer like Stella (when I ordered, I also thought that her last name would be Artois, but I think it actually was something more like Al Sheik).

Since I was there in a “low season” and during Ramadan, it was possible to get closer to local people, as opposed to only interacting with the other tourists. During Muslim festivities, even though they are fasting during the day, wit and hospitality seem exacerbated, and at least for the Sinai I recommend this season. The prices are quite affordable (meals for something around  $ 3.00, $ 5.00 per stay with air conditioning and all) and you can walk the entire region on foot. To access specific points of diving and water and wind sports it is worth taking a taxi, which won’t cost more than $ 1.00.

I stayed at the Seven Heaven Hotel and ate at different restaurants with an emphasis on the service and the ordering options of Yalla Bar and my last day with the people from ElFanar Restaurant (where I exchanged Brazilian songs for Arab songs, and a Brazilian key chain for my bill). Almost all Bedouins with whom I spoke to said they wouldn’t change Dahab for anything and criticized the behavior of the Egyptians in the country's largest cities, like Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, as to the exploitation and disrespect for tourists.

Logo - portuguese Version - means Social Backpack
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”
                            T.S. Elliot

It was kind of a last minute decidion, it was decided out of the initial planning. But it was also almost a natural decision to extend my trip a little more to the African continent. Since I left India, I have been thinking, how would life be like in Africa? And thinking that if I left Brazil with the clear objective to learn as much as possible about social development and the various manifestations of poverty, nothing is more obvious than to bring back some of the African experience.

So last month I started to organize my route through the East Africa. Taking advantage of some contacts of NGOs, public projects,  international relief agencies and friends that I've made during this period of travels, I set up a roadmap for East Africa. The idea is to get out of Israel via Egypt over the Sinai desert towards some Egyptian cities and from there fly to Ethiopia, where  I'll begin my journey by land. Meanwhile, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are in the script.(Rwanda is a strong candidate)

I do not want to exaggerate the length of this additional part of the trip, because I know that my  capacity of absortion is slowly being limited. So, I made a script that fits my current situation, but I hope to become very profitable. I'm sure the script created and the planned dates will undergo several changes over time. I intend to continue writing here on the blog and updating other materials.

I invite everyone to enjoy the Project page on Facebook and participate in this initiative with comments, suggestions, ideas and in the future, building on some of what we've learned in practice.

This text was voluntarily translated by Luciana Golcman A
More than just a research trip, I’m proposing a different perspective. We often travel and are exposed to experiences around us with certain indifference. We focus mostly on what we’re living rather than on what’s happening around us.

Today, I believe, we have in our hands most of the skills and knowledge to solve a myriad of social problems. The Government, Non-profit Organizations, Corporate Businesses and Institutions are not the only ones responsible for what’s wrong out there. We all are. After all, these organizations are built of individuals whose personal decisions are, ultimately, the influential factor that leads to a positive or negative result.

Therefore, I believe in the importance of our individual training as a means of social change. What we see, feel and think directly influences what we do. I chose to be exposed to different experiences, seeking a better understanding of what living in poverty is, and of what it means to lack the most basic resources we take for granted in our lives. Not because I believe that right now I have the ability to make a difference, but because I'm interested in my development as a person, regardless of what I may do in the future.

I believe that the interactions with the people who cross my path on this trip are crucial to the success of my experience. And the sharing of ideas, thoughts and learning, an opportunity to meet more people who, just like me, feel dissatisfied with what they see out there, but don’t necessarily know how to make a difference. I left not necessarily looking for answers, but rather for more elaborate and concrete questions. Questions easier to be converted into actions.

I’d like to suggest that we open our eyes to what’s simple around us. That we demystify the problems that seem insoluble. That we dissect reality to its most simple component. And just then we’d be ready to act. Not far from our personal interests and not far from our skills acquired so far. My suggestion is to channel the good we have within - individually and collectively - to better serve our social needs.

This is why I carry on my "Social Backpack” some learning and some practical experiences that I intend to share with people everywhere I go, both physically and virtually. Gradually I will elaborate on it, always hoping that the Internet connection ensures my regular updates.

Oh, just a detail for those who might ask: I do not want to work with poverty in the future. I do not wish there would be poverty in the future.