14 November 2010
I have no idea how long the ride was to Cachoeira, Bahia because I was having such a deep conversation with my friend Katherine the whole way there. Some good old life story time. But we stopped at Santo Amaro first, it is where Caetano Veloso is from. (If you don't know who he is, you should find out because he is HUGE in Brazil. He is one of the founders of the Tropicália movement, a super famous musician, iconic of Brasil and I saw his house in Salvador too.)
All I know it was long enought that I was urging to use the bathroom and in dire need of stretching my legs. So we were there at the time and day that they have this big feira livre farmer's market. Very big and more open air than Feira de Sao Joaquim.
Two different types of mangos
I feel like these pinapples (abacaxi) are so tiny.
We also happened to be there--well actually I'm pretty sure it was more like very well planned out by the coordinator so that our visit would fall on the time for their anual festivity of a sponsoring saint. So there are going to be costumes, and now I'm glad my mae, my aunt, and I had made my costume!
There were a lot of fotographs of past celebrations and there is a lot of paint involved, symbolic of the fight between good and bad, god and devil and how as humans we're caught in the middle. At least that's what I understood from Clara's explanation.
different types of farinha (flour)
These are all things that the lady grows herself and I think that's pretty awesome. Some day I would like to grow my own food too.
It is tradition for Clara to buy flowers here and give them to the people at the place we were going to stay. So here am I holding these 1 real and 2 real flowers (US$0.50-1.00)
I would love to paint my house this color :)
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) = Landless Worker's movement
There is a huge history behind this movement it's hard to go into it, but basically it's about how so many people were/are screwed over by the capitalist system that values profit and capital over people. When all the land is "owned" by only a few people literally 3% of the population (which makes one wonder who could possibly be the legitimate owner of land if land were really just there for people to take and control) and it's really not like these benefits eventually trickle down, that's all just B.S.
So these are people in MST are in struggle for land reform. what they do is sometimes just start working on land that is neglected for several years and has had nothing done with it and they make use of it. And this is in land all over Brasil.
So we visited a commune on one of these such lands and here two representatives were telling us what they're about and I really am glad we got the opportunity to include this in our excursion and education of Brasil. I think it is really important to at least know about the social movements that are going on in the country you're visiting and ideally try to get involved in some positive way.
This is a pretty small commune I think. But please don't have this idea that this is the type that have heavily been hammered into our brains and history from the Red Scare, of communist is evil. It's really nothing more than an activist co-op where people are helping each other and trying to be self-sustaining in the process of getting equality.
I didn't get very far in my recorrido of the commune because we just started talking to this one family and they have little pintos, pollitos in spanish. And I met these Argentinian, Japanese, and German roosters and chickens and their mestico children.
Then we finally got to Cachoeira! And here the decorations for festivity are everywhere:
We visited the historical Irmandade de Nossa Senhora de Boa Morte. These sisterhoods and brotherhoods were also a big part of cultural resistance, and not only was this a racial one but a female one. Completely run by these strong women for generations.
What I got from them was that they have very syncretic practices mixing Catholocism and Candomblé. We spoke with them and they were really cool about telling us about what they do.
We found this poster there. And what we were to see the next day would have explained it completely.
Then we visited some local shops. This one was mainly about religious wooden carvings and figures. here you can see some patron saints and the famous figa. The fist for good luck.
And some really good sketches.
The picture above is actually the one I am using as a background for this blogsite.
The church--rather ONE of the churcheS. There are always so many churches in an area even if they're all Catholic (syncretic).
O Pouso da Palavra (The resting place of the Word) Is this really cool gallery of some really radical artists/artistic thinking. Here's the guy who runs it above. They have music, paintings, photography, artcrafts. It's really a cozy little place like the name implies with a really groovy vibe.
What's really cool about the guy's philosophy (I'm so sorry I forgot his name...:( ) but he actually provides the supplies like paint and canvas to many locals who don't normally have access to it but are really great artists. The works of the fields and this one are all done by these people who find it really hard to get these luxuries of art supplies but as you can see have such an amazing talent.
This is Fred /Fredgy/ our "tour guide/professor" he's really out there. Very enthusiastic and spontaneous and sometimes says the most awkward or socially innapproriate things. Oh and is always telling us about these amazing discounts for traveling that never actually end up being helpful or available--oh Fred. But we definitely enjoy being around him. He's fun and out there. Really just out there. Here he is claiming he's going to buy this ink drawing of the carnival-like festival that is celebrated tomorrow.
Then, I don't know if I had mentioned this already but where we're staying is an ex-convention! Like a Catholic nun convention, yes. So it was very lovely. The above is part of the patio.
This is our bedroom. So interesting. Some people say it's creepy, and I agree that it kind of makes me feel like an orphan--espeically when none of our parents are around right now :(
But it isn't really creepy not with the life that it's filled with.
The hallways...yes well it's not so filled with life at the moment but my friends and I were out dancing a little bit. in the hallways, practicing our Afro-Brazilian dance.
Then we had lunch. Buffet style as usual and it did get a little stressful being at the end of the line all the time. I always feel bad for my vegetarian friends--especially Algebra because she's always at the end and sometimes all that's left is meat. And seeing as even the beans have meat usually, it's hard. She eats rice. but no, then we just wait a little and then we can get our little salad. The food was good. It was not salty. Oh this is waht I like about eating out sometimes.
Then we had some milk desert. Julisa says it looks and tastes like "chongos" the mexican desert that's similar to this. I have no idea but my Mexican mom says it might be the Brazilian version of it too.
Next we're going to the famous Cachoeira cigar factory!