Living Legends

Leading and Loving in the Amazon

BYU Living Legends had an exciting final week of their tour to Brazil. Not only did this include performances, but the group was able to present and discuss the importance of higher education with more than 30 members of Brazil’s Congress and other important opinion leaders from the area. After meeting with the large congressional group, Living Legends members divided into smaller groups with local leaders to discuss how BYU fulfills the goal to be “spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building, leading to lifelong learning and service” (The Aims of a BYU Education).

In the final city for their tour, the group visited the Manaus Brazil Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then they traveled down the Amazon River and swam with the botos, the native pink river dolphins. The group also had the opportunity to interact with members of a native tribe that live along the Amazon’s banks.

Living Legends member Deanna Lara performs a traditional dance from Paraguay.

Living Legends visited two schools during the week. The first was a school for orphans. These young people, who range in age from 10 months to 12 years, have been abandoned by their families. The BYU students spent time dancing, talking, holding, and playing with the children.

The second school Living Legends visited was the Anibal Bessa Art Center. As a local school for the arts, it serves about 300 students from ages 14 to 18. Students from Anibal Bessa took turns dancing, singing, playing instruments, and performing for the BYU students. The Living Legends group returned the favor by entertaining the Brazilian students.

Members of the Polynesian section perform a traditional Māori dance.

Later that night in Manaus, Living Legends performed their final show to one of the largest crowds of the tour, providing a fitting end to a wonderful tour.

The group swims with river dolphins during a visit to the Amazon Rainforest.

BYU senior Ruben Zendejas prepares to perform a hoop dance for students at a local school in Brasília.