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Published: July 18th 2006
I hope you enjoyed the pictures on my previous blog. On this entry, I’d like to write some of my reflections from the place I left 20 years ago, when I moved to the US.
I left a small city; I now find a capital of a million inhabitants. It’s natural beauty still very much alive. Even now, winter time, the calm ocean is still splendid. Not as blue or green as in summer time, but it still beautiful.
Unfortunately, not all is to be admired. Traffic was bad than, it is horrible now. Poverty was bad, it is horrible now. Health care was bad, now it’s worse. Homeless people were few and harmless, now the many who populate the streets, day and night, include young children and teens addicted to drugs, the most popular one being shoe makers’ glue, a cheap and powerful drug said to curb hunger. The addicts carelessly carry plastic bottles with the glue tied to a string and worn as a necklace. The police and population have learned to largely ignore the problem, which has its root deeply interconnected with Brazil’s social-political injustices.
There are kids begging at almost all stop lights. Some
Sleeping by the pharmacy. Kids up and on their own, at midnight. Buying medicine for someone who can't afford it, is one of the most generous gifts from the heart.
will wash the windshield of your car, you permitting it or not. Some will do a juggling act. No school, no guidance, no future. Just kids of injustice, just kids of the streets.
I heard about gangs who break into cars and homes. I heard about fear - people fearing people, the rich scared of the turned violent poor. The problems of big cities reach the small ones nowadays.
The headlines continue to bring scandals involving politicians practically on a daily basis, just like it happened 10 or 20 years ago. It’s all about abuse of power, corruption. The sad thing is that the “criminals” go on unpunished, and the corruption goes on effortlessly. There is no trust in the politicians and no hope of possible political change. That’s sad and unjust.
Back to the bright side, family, friends, and the warm and welcoming people make this place, like so many others in Brazil, a wonderful place to visit. The guest/visitor is always pampered and constantly offered food and drinks.
Traditional foods include fresh seafood cooked with coconut milk; the staples, rice, beans and farinha (yucca flour); tropical fruits like mangoes, sapoti, jack fruit, cajarana, caju,
Kids eager for a little toy
Amanda distributes a little joy
caja, pitomba, genipapo and so many others; tapioca, acaraje and gelatos of the fruits from below the equator. Coconut water, the soft drink guarana, and caipirinha (made with the alcoholic pinga, from sugar cane) are drinks to try.
This is a warm winter, like it always is in such tropical lands. The locals, used to the humid heat prevalent most of the year, claim that the refreshing breeze is cold, but anyone who has felt temperatures on the 80’s Fahrenheit, know it actually is quiet warm. Winter here means that it rains, for a couple of hours, that’s all.
If you have never been to Brazil, I recommend a visit long enough to explore the diverse regions of this big tropical country. Amazon, Bahia, Rio, Maceio and many other destinations have much to offer to just about any type of tourist. Just make sure you hide your wallet and precious belongings, and try not to stand out as a tourist in big cities, as like in most developing countries, poverty has a way of awakening potential violence/robbery.
Keep in touch and safely enjoy life… and as you are at it, find a way to make a difference
Diabetic, Dona Dora is grateful for the blood glucose testing supplies and education I bring her. It takes so little... so, why not do it, right?
in someone’s life.
Beijos e tchau,
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