Monday, March 22, 2010

Being a Tourist Part II (visiting Candomble terreiros and Quilombola and more)

Sometimes, although I love to be able to see the many parts of Bahia, I do feel like I’m invading when I go to Candomble terreiros as a tourist, or the Rosario dos Pretos church and the Quilombo descendant communities and even doing capoeira.

I went to a candomble ceremony wondering if it would resonate with me. But of course curiosity and I did really feel bad because it was potentially treating such sacred grounds and space like a tour site. I did NOT take pictures at the ceremony obviously but still people there were members of the religion and I was not. I heard from our professor who is a Pai de Santo, that it was okay, they don’t care, and that’s the only reason I gave more consideration for going because may be they are just open to all potential followers but still. This I felt I was invading.

(My group visiting the Candomble Terreiro, kind of like a church)

Then going to other important historical places like the Rosario dos Pretos place and Pelourinho are just saturated with significance. Like the Rosario dos Pretos which was the Blacks’ and slaves’ church that took forever to be built because slaves didn’t have that much free time or resources or energy after having spent so much time building the White people’s churches and buildings and mansions. And then the Quilombo community… Quilombos were created as places of refuge for runaway slaves! These people were escaping from conditions that I will never understand no matter how much I read about them. It is such a personal issues to so many people still--descendents especially, and although I do take it seriously and find it really uncomfortable and frustrating when people make jokes about slavery (and many other issues including rape and mental “disorders”) it isn’t quite the same thing. And I did feel like dang all these EAP people having the privilege to see all of this; I feel so out of place sometimes. I am still not sure how to feel about this but I do kind of justify it I guess by knowing that at least I really appreciate it and take it as something important and try to be as informed and emotionally prepared as I can.

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