Tuesday, January 31, 2006

FIRST DAY (updated pix)


I have landed in Brazil after a long flight in the aisle seat (I’m a window fan) from New York to Sao Paulo. A feeling of homeliness came over me as I stepped on the plane and the flight attendants were speaking to me in Portuguese, something I missed very much. Another thing that had been lacking in my life was the included hot meal on the plane, which actually tasted good. This was quite a pleasant surprise. You might notice later on if you continue to read my thoughts that I really like food, and I tend to share my foodly experiences and addictions.

I am currently staying for a few days with some friends/roommates from Portland who have a house here with some family and have been here for quite some time. I almost didn’t make it after the taxi driver was verifying my directions with some local boys who were saying it was too dangerous for us to go there at night. I kept saying, I’m going to my friend’s house, but he was very reluctant and said I should stay in a hotel for the night even though we were only 5 minutes away. I think those kids were trying to mess with his mind, or maybe mine. Either way I didn’t fall for it and insisted on going forward, and everything was fine. My instincts felt safe, so here I am in paradise. It’s nice to be in a place where there are many familiar faces (some I didn’t even know would be here). Last night was an unexpected reunion, but I don’t plan on staying in English speaking land for too long. This is definitely not the purpose of this trip, but it is nice to start from a comfortable place.

While the house that they’re living in was being finished, my friends were staying in the Pelourinho district. Spending their time in the streets, they befriended a group of street kids from the neighborhood. When the house was finished, they took one of the kids with them and he is sitting next to me right now and has been with them ever since. A young man with a lot of peace in his being, I can’t imagine what he was like then. Addicted to drugs (crack) for some time, they tell me. He has been rehabilitated in this foreign environment away from his friends, and the traps of a life on the street. He was given a home, a bed, and some unconventional but positive male influences. Unfortunately for him, he can’t go back to Pelourinho anymore. The other kids who were left behind are mad, and jealous that they weren’t “picked,” and given this second chance at life. It could be very dangerous for him, so he is here with me, while everyone else is there. I see it as a bearable trade for this opportunity at a new and “normal” life.


I have now eaten my first improvised meal in a Brazilian kitchen. (tuna, potato, onion, tomato omelet) I love having the freedom of finding the ingredients and making something I’ve never eaten before. The people I’m staying with at the moment have given me this freedom and that’s great. Since I last wrote I’ve met another boy Marcio with such lively energy it’s contagious. He is the kind of child who talks and talks about everything and everything else. Happy and containing the curiosity that a child should have but I rarely see nurtured here. His thirteenth birthday is tomorrow, and I just found out he has also migrated to this compound from the streets. I told him about me project, and he has enthusiastically agreed to share his story. Everything he says is ready in his head. The more time I spend here, the more people I realize live here. I am staying on a piece of land in front of praia de tubarao (shark beach). There are many houses built in a compound-like form with a tennis court and gorgeous surroundings. I’m surrounded by thick green grass, tropical trees, mangos falling from the sky, and protective dogs roaming between houses. All of this is situated right in front of the beach.

Last night we watched my movie with some of the guys here, and at the end the waves were complimented with the sound of waves from outside and it was such a beautiful addition to the piece. I felt like this film had been waiting to be seen in Brazil, and it felt good to share it with some friends from the past who are interested in this cause.

I spent most of today sleeping and catching up on some energy, but tomorrow I will head out to the city and start my quest for an apartment or living situation closer to the kids. Stay tuned for more updates as my access to an internet connection permits.


Blogger wistle boy said...

you are an angel! so many people pass though brasil and leave without a thought of how to help or be an insipiration, go there with only a goal to have a good time and bring back stuff.... so few in the world like you.you teach us all. we need to learn the simple but huge ways to help like you! thanks for the lesson!!!

2:06 AM  

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