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Happy New Year from Morro de Sao Paulo December 31, 2005

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keeping silence as on this paradisiac island, have no interest in internet, but well, at least a few words.. The passed few days have been amazing, wonderful beaches, super warm water, yesterday whole day horse riding throgh the island, discovering a small water fall, eating at a beach and then continuing again on the back of the horse through the sea water back to a more civilised and touristy world. Great food great company of a very good friend Alessandro who joined me for this adventure (good dancer so great party at night with life music and great tropical drinks¬†ūüėČ and some new acquaintances.. overall wonderfull.. beyond words.. but everything has an end and in spite of all the¬†crazy reveillon preparations, and the last¬†swim in the¬†island, will be¬†taking a boat to another island¬†of Itaparica for the NY party together with Kelly, her friends and family. Hopefully with lots of dancing and drinks and a midnight swim ūüôā

Wishing you all, that wrote me and all that think of me all the best a great NY party wherever you are and hope we will see each other soon.

running off to the sun !

dd

 

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relaxing in Petrolina and the Sao Francisco river December 27, 2005

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after a full day of rest on the 25th – doing nothing much Petrolina-doing-nothing.jpg

just hanging around the house and chatting with different family members, and a long evening walk to have the famous ¬īPetroliense Bode¬ī a wonderfully grilled goat meat – a local delicatesse at a place looking like american commercial ranch-type restaurants called ¬īBododromo¬ī – from ¬īBode¬ī meaning goat, reflecting the idea of ¬īautodromo¬ī ūüôā Petrolina-Bododromo.jpg¬†Petrolina-bode.jpg¬†Petrolina-bode-meat.jpg

yesterday, we went for a trip to the island at the Sao Francisco river. There I got introduced to the brazilian version of ¬īCanasta¬ī called Buraco, in which after a few games of practice, interrupted¬†by just enough swimming in the river, I started to excel ūüôā

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in the evening I just realised that ¬īmy very¬†tanned skin¬ī on my shoulders decided to give away in spite of the sun protectors and the day spent in shadow, but as nothing leaving Petrolina for Salvador and right after to Morro de Sao Paulo (this is the marvel place I am going to spend the coming few days http://www.morrodesaopaulo.com.br, more specifically http://www.tocadotatupousada.com.br/), I am sure I will have a chance to catch it up.. the evening was spent by cooking (Kelly and me – after more than a month I managed to get to a kitchen ūüėČ and wonderful relaxation ūüôā

Petrolina-kelly-cooking.jpg Petrolina-dd-cooking.jpg Petrolina-kelly-family.jpg Petrolina-kelly-family1.jpg Petrolina-ditta-relaxing.jpg

today still sightseeing in the super hot petrolina taking lots of breaks in the airconditioned  spaces such as the post-office, bank, shopping-centres and e-cafe..

so the show goes on until the evening travel to Salvador..

till later – may be from the paradise (former-pirate¬īs)¬†island of Morro de Sao Paulo.

dd

Xmas party ¬īa la Brazilian¬ī December 25, 2005

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.. not that¬†I have nothing else to do, but having a little moment on my own in Petroline I thought I may also share some of my impressions form Brazilian heated Xmas…

may be first some a few intro words about Kelly family (from her mum¬īs side), Kelly grand-ma, today 83 years old lady (her husband passed away more than 20 years ago), has 13 children, many of which¬†actually came for the Xmas party – although Kelly said that the party was quite small – about 30 people.

When we came back from the walk yesterday,¬†the house¬īs courtyard, where the party tookplace was wonderfully decorated by Kelly¬īs mum with white and red balloons, and a huge table was set with amazingly cut and arranged tropical fruits. In the back side of the courtyard, barbecue was getting ready.

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The party started around 9PM with¬†a self-serviced dinner with grilled meat, lots of wonderul tropical salads – a mixture of fruits (pinapple, apples, mango, raisins, etc.) and vegetables; variety of rice, of course unthinkable beans¬†and¬†various¬†soft drinks. Following food, Kelly¬īs cousin Marcia, in disguise,¬†prepared for the whole community of adults, children, teenagers and elderly¬†some ¬ībrincas¬ī¬†– games for fun, silly simple participatory games which made the whole family laugh and feel together.

 Petrolina-Xmas-games.jpg Petrolina-Xmas-poetry.jpg

Then we played the secret friend game, where everybody had to prepare a little gift for some one else selected from a basket with little papers.. and so we played way after mdinight. The serie of games ended with a reflection over the past year and the coming one based on a little stone everyone got as an example of her/his imperfect life (the shapes of the stones were sometimes quite sharp ūüėČ

this all was intermixed with storytelling by Kelly¬īs uncle, Kelly, Kelly¬īs mum and some other aunts and cousins, and a well installed caraoke show, a dvd player with two microphones where especially Majorlie (Kelly¬īs sister) and Thalis (Kelly¬īs god son) tried their best to perform Axe, MPB and the golden brazilian classics..

Petrolina-NY-party-caraoke.jpg

went to bed finally after 4AM. was fun, although nothing to do with European notion of Xmas ūüôā

hope you had all fun too..

and happy Chanuka for those starting to light the candles tonight.

dd

PS: BTW thank you all for your lovely messages: mum, Diana, Oksana, Sergio, Dwight, Karolina, Fio, etc. was great to hear from you!!

Happy Xmas and Chanuka from 40 degrees Petrolina December 24, 2005

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so after quite some time, again on internet. Well, I did not manage to wish you all personally happy holidays, so at least in this form, thinking of all of you in Bratislava, Amsterdam, Lisboa, Novi Sad, Prague, London, Helsinki, Berlin, Brussels, NY, Japur, Strasbourg,¬†Haifa, and all the other places I do not manage to name – including places in Brazil…¬†¬†SO:

Vesele sviatky! Feliz Natal! et bonnes fetes a tous!

The past few days, were no different from hectic.

so just a quick recapitulation before I forget what I did ūüėČ although have wonderful pictures to remind myself – but those some other time..

Dec 21 – Ilhas de Camam√ļ

wonderful – we hired a boat called ¬īMessengeiro do Amor¬ī together with a young conductor, and the seven of us – Serge and his family, Kelly and I enjoyed the amazing archipelago with mangroves and virgin beaches¬†basically the ¬īwhole day¬ī – from 8AM until lunch break at around 1,30PM for which we came back to Camamu, to take a shower before our continous travel to Ilheus. Our 3PM bus was delayed for¬†2 hours, and after about two hour trip on the way through ¬īTravessao¬ī (this place could not have a better name), where I bus driver hit a little ¬īstand-shop¬ī placed on the road, we got delayed for another hour… but all well, we arrived to Ilheus at 8PM. Found a place to stay after seeing some very depressing pousadas in a Hotel Britanica rigth in front of the house of the famous brazilian writer Jorge Amado, which I visited in the next morning. Had a wonderful huge dinner and went for a short walk to the city beach to relax.. nice, very pleasant evening in a warmth windy city of Ilheus..

Dec 22 – woke up really late, had wonderful breakfast with mini papayas, chocolate and manioc-coconut cakes and even coffee! went for a short walk through an already heated city full of people doing Xmas shopping.. so we joined them for a while, before meeting people from the School ¬īEscola familiar agricola margarida alves¬ī, Alba and Genesco, local artists who co-work on the project had lunch and a familiarising talk with them and drove to the school settlement, where spent the rest of the afternoon seeing the constructions of the kids dormitories (my father would probably disapprove the the buildings from the architectural point of view and the uman needs, but for the local reality that is already a huge improvement comparing to what they are using for the kinds until so far.. still had some internal issues with it..), and assisted a meeting with the whole group on the further project development.¬†Interesting stimulating, but also a little depressing..

then back to down town to recover at a little market, regain energy by calling finally home – mami, Janko, Dianka, Leonko – was so great to hear you! which was followed by a ¬ījogo de buzios¬ī – something my mum would certainly dissaproved of as a witch craft, but which is an integral part of Bahian culture, so why not to try it ūüėČ – so apparently my patrons in the system of the Afro-Brazilian Orixas are Yemanja a queen of the sea and Xang√ī, the warrior. The lady called Maria told me that will have a long life and two children – twins – a boy and a girl ūüôā and that everything in the coming year will be good for me ūüôā so now I can be happy… (she said also some other things, but well, cannot make it all public right ūüėČ

then we had a lovely arab food dinner with Kelly and walked through the fair at the beach and again rushed to the bus for the next 8 hour long trip to Salvador..

Dec 23 – Salvador

arrived early in the morning and left for petrolina at midnight. In between we had a long intensive hot day in down-town – doing shopping Salvador-(3)-Xmas-in-a-shop.jpg, buying boat tickets at various place for the NY party, eating lovely food, and taking public bus all over the town. When we thorugh we had arranged most of what we had to, we sat in front of the Mercado Modelo and in the rigth bahaian way we had our hair fixed by some big mama and her daughters, who took 1,5 hour to make a wonderful afro-style from kelly¬īs amazing hair (yes pictures will follow) and 3 min to make half of my head look organised in little snakes. Salvador-(8).jpg¬† Salvador-(6)-after.jpg¬†Salvador-(14)-final.jpg

To fully enjoy the pre-Xmas atmosphere, we took the city elevador to Pelourinho and saw an amazing children signing show which was arrange on a square, with a stage and all surrounding buildings being harmonised into one full choreography of dance, singing and show – they even had a artificial snow made of shiny silver powder.

 Salvador-(16).jpg  Salvador-(17)-by-night.jpg

After this super show, again taxi – as alte as always and rush to kelly¬īs place to pack and go to the rodoviaria..

the contract between the over cooled 20 degree bus and the place of arrival was smoothened a bit by some clouds, but by the time we recovered the temperature was hitting 40. So we chilled with Kelly¬īs mum, grand-ma, uncles and cousins, and later explored the town before now soon heading back to take a refreshing shower¬†and dinner..

petrolina Petrolina-Rio.jpg

So once again, happy holidays wherever you are! and until soon!

 dd 

Camam√ļ December 21, 2005

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so, the boat did not go to Ilheus, but to Ilha da Itaparica, from where we took another bus to Camam√ļ – a small town, where Kelly had a meeting with one of her projects,¬†that I had a chance to visit in company of Kelly boss Serge¬†and his family (his wife Mariselle, and three lovely daughters Marissa 10, Soline 7 and Thais 5)¬†from Switzerland. The project in Camam√ļ¬†is financed by the organisation Terre des Hommes (www.terredeshommes.ch) and is one of the three projects Kelly is responsible for (the other two are in Salvador and Ilheus – we will visit on Thursday).

This project consists of a support to the settlement of Dandara dos Palmares, developed by SASOP (www.sasop.org.br) Рwhich provides support and training to local agricultors on eco-farming. The settlement is located on marvellous hills next to the coast with a tropical climate apparently similar to Amazonia. Here we discovered the cacao plantage mixed together with the Pará rubber tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Para_rubber_tree), as rubber protects the cacao from the sun in summer, and leave enough sun for the cacao in winter (when rubber losses the leaves).

This amazing forest was full with: canelle/cinnamon trees, coffee trees, cupua√ß√ļ trees (same family to cacao with fruits offering also a delicious juice), guaran√° bushes, A√ßa√≠ (the amazonian delicatesse), tabacco bushes, the natural indigenous body and food red color plant Uruc√ļm – http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urucum¬†or in English annatto – without the picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annatto¬†(Diana, am sending you some for your body makeup project!!) and many others I cannot remember at the moment..

We were guided through the busges by Luciano, a social and agri-worker from the project on an exiting jeep, who explained us the eco-system and showed us the plants. We also visited the house of Déu, a 37 years old woman active in the community, working also with medicinal plants and taking care of the seeds. She prepared for us a lovely brunch full of local specialties from cacao, bananas and manioc.. and introduced us to her work.

her daughter Sara accompanied us later to the local cachoeira for a bath ūüôā

we also met other community workers who told us a bit about thier lives, challenges (especially in relation to health and safety) and the community..

in the evening we had a quiet walk in the local port with a marvellous view on the mangroves and palm tree horizont in the waters of where river joins the sea, and later a nice dinner in a local kilo restaurant with Kelly and Serge¬īs family.

Tomorrow at 7,30AM (ouch!) we are taking all together a boat to some local islands and beaches, before taking the bus at 3,10PM to Ilheus…

so more then dd

PS: no pictures, as computer and cables left in Salvador. Also my computer recharger unlike any other of my electro instruments does not fit most of the plugs, so need to look for a converter for it ūüė¶ hope I will manage..

from salvador… December 19, 2005

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..starting to loose track of when I wrote the last time.. but am well, with more sunten, and a healthier spirit regained by walking through the mountains of Chapada da Diamantina, swimming in its water falls and laughing with the new acquaintances from all over brazil and the local guides.. no pictures yet from¬†our visit of the Po√ßo do Diablo, an amazing water fall, where they use to threaten to throw slaves¬†as part of the torture –¬†the story took away¬†my willingness to swim in it – but only for a¬†while, the amazing hike to the Morro do Pai In√°cio and the view from there on the outher mountains of¬†the Three brothers and the Camel mountain, followed by an 2hour¬†visit of a huge cave¬†– Gruta da Lapa Doce. – this was all the day before yesterday, which¬†was I think saturday. You may find more on the treks we did on the site of the agency Lentur – www.lentur.com.br¬† we used to make our trips (fully recommend). Met great people and a Dad√£o our guide, who was not only knowledgeable of the area but also fun full of stories.. next time just wish to stay longer and to be in a condition to make 3 -5 day hikes with sleeping in teh nature.. but there is always a next time ūüėČ

yesterday, was a quiet day with¬†a long brunch¬†followed by a short hike, which we did with Kelly alone – without a guide to the places close to Len√ßois – Serrano, Cachoeirinha and Cachoeira da Primavera.¬† I dont know how many of you had the opportunity to have a bath, as they call it here in a water fall, or rather a shower, but it is the most refreshing experience of the body and spirit I can thin of ūüôā

after our last dinner in len√ßois in an italian restaurant run by Stefano from Genova, and wonderful desert at Sonia¬īs sweet shop, goodbyes, etc.¬†we took again the night bus to Salvador, where we arrived this morning at 6AM.

after having slept half of the day at kelly¬īs house while kely was at meetings, we are checking the mail before taking the boat in the late afternoon to Ilheus, and the southern bahia where we will spend the coming 2-3 days – this time on the beaches..

so until more soon, hopefully with pictures.

kisses to the cold europe and anywhere you are.

dd

    

Chapada da Diamantina December 17, 2005

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wow.. a little time of from internet..

I can t believe it was only yesterday (2AM) when we after more than 22 hours of trip by binga binga bus (a bus that goes through all the possible shity mud roads full of wholes Рthe worst you can possibly imagine) which took us 7 hours to make 330km, and then a taxi an old WV, which did not have proper breaks, I think also oil, and many other liquids necessery for a car functioning, we safely arrived to Lençois to the National Park of Chapada da Diamantina to our Poussada Nossa Casa, where we are staying for a couple of days..

The day of full time travel was not as bad as it could of been if we did not listen to Seu Demi and went via Vitoria da Conquista… but we did and we took the way via Bom Jesus da¬†Lapa,¬†on the first glance a regular¬†small city, although we heard that quite religious.. but we discovered an amazing cave/ church Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(9).jpg¬†Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(14).jpg¬†Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(15).jpg¬†Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(16).jpg¬†Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(22).jpg¬†and even more amazing rocks¬†with a beautiful view over the city and Rio Sao Francisco..Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(41).jpg¬†Bom-Jesus-da-Lapa-(29).jpg, where we also encountered preas: prea.jpg¬†and monkeys – macacos macacos.jpg.. then we had the wonderful amazonian delicates -a√ßai with fruits: acai.jpg

well, after the arrival yesterday, we had a great breakfast full of local specialties, home made acerola juice maniok pancakes, etc… then we slept until lunch, and went for a 18km horse ride to a rio capuvara Chapada-Day-1-(17).jpg.. was amazing diita-on-the-horse.jpg¬†kelly-on-the-horse.jpg. especially our guide who only with one hand manage to guide a horse as well as us.. showing us the trees of local jaca: Chapada-Day-1.jpg¬†and jenipapo jenipapo.jpg¬†an giving us caju (the fresh fruit of what you know as cashew nut): kelly-eating-caju.jpg

then a relaxed evening in the city of len√ßois, a very beautiful one…

and this morning an early trip to the famous cachoeira da fumaça Рa smoking water fall.. Cachoeira-da-Fumaca-1.jpg  Cachoeira-da-Fumaca.jpg ditta-flying-above-cachoeir.jpg dd-kelly.jpgabout a 2,5 hour walking/ trekking trip through amazing mountains Cachoeira-da-Fumaca-2.jpg.. which ended in a cachoeira  for a water fall shower and a bath..after-bath-cachoeira-riachi.jpg (this is after the bath.. in what you see behind us..)

now after a good dinner and a caipirinha meeting the locals for a dance of forro..

until later..

this time with a sunten..

dd

 

work finished and ready for the next trip.. December 14, 2005

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.. it is 00.40AM. In two more hours, Kelly and I will continue our trip to Chapada.. We got a bit delayed, du to needs to relax and finish our work, which is done!!! ūüôā

so spend a little more time in Janauba with this lovely family

Dinner

who took care of me and Kelly as if we were part of them.. was really great to know you o ceu Demi, Bel, Hermicia, and Diva!!! Muito obrigada por tudo!!! E espero ate a proxima vez.

more from chapada… dd

..discovery? December 12, 2005

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one more thing – the other day I realised something that never occured to me before! Forget my stupidity because I am sure I must fo learned it some tiem at school – but this is for the first time that I really got it: the moon in the Southern hemisphere grows from the other side.

Yes, now that I write it seems pretty obvious, but for a moment it really confused me (for some reasons specific to the functioning of women body).

but the real discovery was something else: around a shiny growing moon – in an opposite¬†way –¬†I saw this amazingly beautiful huge Moon aura on the sky.¬†I wonder what¬†it is called in some scientific language¬†and why I never really saw it before – does it occur only in the equatorial area??

well, if any of you know, would love to hear about it ūüėČ

boa noite

..from Ara√ßua√≠ via Baixa Quente, Coronel Murta to Montes Claros and Jana√ļba December 9, 2005

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yesterday was definitely a long rainy day.. we left araçuaí in the morning to drive 12km through muddy paths, which could hardly be called a road to the small rural village of Baixa Quente to visit the local school, creche and the community centre (wish you could see the pictures right away, but this e-cafe has very very slow connection, and lost patience with uploading pictures..).

The countryside being nice and full of green, the village was full of mud

Baixa-Quente-(8).jpg

(as none of the streets had actually asfalt) and animals (especially piglets) walking freely around..

Baixa-Quente-(20).jpg

The talk with the head teacher and two other teachers in a run down school in miserable conditions did not give us a very encouraging picture about the situation have to live in and the teachers (all 30 teachers coming everyday from Araçuaí) work in. The teachers working in poor conditions, with practically no training possibilities, with parents not caring about their children and many kids with learning difficulties in more than 300 pupil school, was not the most positive picture I have ever encountered.

Baixa-Quente-(16).jpg Baixa-Quente-(13).jpg Baixa-Quente-(14).jpg But definitely an experience raising lots of questions about the Brazilian education system, where under the new law no child in the first 4 grades is allowed to repeat a year no matter what is his/her learning progress, etc. It also gave us an example of one of the schools Kelly¬īs project should take place in.. but the school had internet connection and a few very motivated kids that will surely make it in life.. and there was a much better looking kindergarden and a community center..

Baixa-Quente.jpg

The situation in Coronel Murta or as we got to know Itaporé Рthe original name of the place before one of the mayors changed it to his name (the city is nowadays lead by the grandson of the original Coronel who is now in function for almost 8 years with apparent dictator practice) was however contrary to Baixa Quente

Coronel-Murta.jpg

. This small city of 45,000 inhabitants was clean, colourful – painted in the colours of the mayor (yellow and blue), and full of progress .

Coronel-Murta-(20).jpgCoronel-Murta-(27).jpg

The local NGO that we visited showed an amazingly good practice in child care and community development

Coronel-Murta-(16).jpgCoronel-Murta-(7).jpg .

Although no signs of youth work apart from some very motivated youth volunteers working with children,

Coronel-Murta-(25).jpg

it seemed that the Locomotive of Transformation could make a real difference here.

at around three after a nice lunch in a local restaurant, where we had the opportunity to meet the mayor – eating with another group from some federal government project, we sat on the bus

Coronel-Murta-(30).jpg

and went via Salina (the city of Cacha√ßa) to Montes Claros, where we stayed over at Kelly¬īs cousin place. Talking to her – a social worker at the municipality, I discovered some other amazing stories from the urban area – from sexual exploitation and drug abuse by teenagers, child cancer, to well, anything that can go wrong in a poor urban area.. and the few existing measures that are there to help.. very confonting..

but well, a new day is here, and after a good morning rest (finally) we took a ¬ītaxi¬ī (a car-driving service that collects people house to house) to Jana√ļba, where Kelly¬īs brother Troj is going to get married to Kaila in a local catholic church in about 2 hours (at 8PM).. As Kelly (the witness) is at the hairdresser I had a moment to write these few updates..

the weekend will be spent here hopefully relaxing and working on some rests from Europe..

wishing you a great weekend, wherever you are!! dd