First blog in Brazil about Brazil: The people I’ve met
It’s about time I write about Brasil? Other than my take on the language? Yes! Well, I’m finally “stable”. I already moved three times (nothing new with my usual lifestyle), and I’m settled. Currently, I’m at an apartment complex with foreigners and Brazilians. Most of them either attend one of the two universities, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco or Rural de Pernambuco, or they teach. I attend both; Rural for the two Master’s classes and Federal for “Português Avançado”… haha, yes! I enrolled in that class, mainly because I’ve learned the basics via Rosetta Stone—Thanks Borlaug Institute- and now I just need to become decent in writing since writing about dense subjects is what we do in the Master’s Program I’m part of, Extensão Rural & Desenvolvimento Local.
So, is it a myth or reality? ARE BRAZILIANS THE NICEST PEOPLE ON EARTH? THE HAPPIEST? Below I will write what I know of them (p.s. A total reality!)
Day 1 I get to Recife (the São Paulo experience was so short, I didn’t get to experience the Brazilians, other than Luana and Patricia from the Fulbright Commission, who since we established communication they were already extraordinary): the few friends I had here picked me up at the airport, took me out to eat seafood at the beach and made me feel as welcomed as my family would.
My amazing friend who I’ve talked about in the past here on my blog, Dennis Cunha, and his family took me in right away after my first living situation wasn’t ideal, NO QUESTIONS ASKED (do we know the importance of this phrase?). His mother, Fatima, offered me her house and her time. She offered me a new Brazilian HOME (and all that word means, starting with acceptance and so much care). I have to say I never thought in a million years I would fall right into place in anyone’s home and in anyone’s heart as I did with Dennis’ mom; she calls me “minha filha gringa” (and yes, she also knows I’m Guatemalan). She has taken me to the doctor and we’ve spent days together even now that I’m at my new apartment, which by the way she and Dennis helped me move into (Fatima even made my bed the first day I slept here). I feel happy, safe, and cared for.
My friends at school are so smart, they care so much about the rural communities and the people who make up these realities. They, like me, know how important justice and equality is for these individuals- just another group of society who are left vulnerable after the adoption of decisions and policies of the elites and governmen. My friends know so much more about these realities, specifically in the Brazilian context; every two days a week I take classes with them and hear their well-constructed and well-informed opinions, their proposed solutions to problems, and all topics related to agricultura familiar, pequenos agricultores, terras, etc. All the reasons why I’m here.
I have not only met this group of people with conviction and dedication. I also met a group of mostly women of a sindicato yesterday. My friend Caitlin, a soccer player and my fellow Fulbrighter, brought me to a meeting where women from different social groups and movements discussed equality, justice, and a variety of topics that dictate the actions they will take for the benefit of the working woman in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. This reminds me of my young days in which I was an active member of a similar group in Guatemala, less by choice as I was only a child and my grandmother was the forefront feminist coordinator of GRUFE, a feminist NGO that offered help and resources to women from all paths of life.
Other than these specific groups, I’ve met people here at my apartment and other friends from my Portuguese class. For example my Peruvian friend Jose. He is here trying to get into a Master’s program and research a topic related to ecology and sustainable growth. I feel so connected to the foreigners because we are here with the same purpose, to live within the Brazilian natives and experience the Brazilian culture. We believe this is a place of opportunity and personal growth with enriching experiences and people.
Which, brings me to my last point, Brazilian natives. I’ve met many already and day by day I’m experiencing their realities, and this fills me with satisfaction (all realities included, including not taking “security” for granted the way we greatly enjoy this in the U.S.). Their common denominators: HARD-WORKING, KIND, CARING, CALMED, LIFE-LOVING and most of them with the same purpose in life: A Better Life, A Better Tomorrow. All people I’ve met always always always have a place to show me, a place I can stay in, an extra garrafo of oil, time to meet again, time to talk again, time to make a deeper connection. They are great!