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Acre – Rio Branco & Fortaleza January 7, 2006

Posted by ditta in Uncategorized.
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..the past few days were really different. Arriving to Acre was a bit shocking – not for the fact that it looks too different from all the other places I have seen, not for the fact that the weather is a little more humid and hot than in other places I have been to in Brazil, but I guess all together the general exhaustion from travelling together with the time difference (4 hours from Bahia and 3 hours from Brasilia), with the fact that time simply goes different here: slower, and actually after a day or two you dont notice what is the time anymore.. basically the first day in the forest, where we got with Dudu (a good friend who used to live in Rio Branco) I had a bit of a felling of being stuck in the middle of nowhere..  

On the 3rd we travelled in the afternoon from Rio Branco to a Santo Daime community in Fortaleza, about 1 hour by taxi (or 1.40 h by bus) to Capixaba and then about 40 min by taxi in a mud road to Fortaleza. The countryside was also a bit of a shock: where still 6 years ago was a rain-forest is now a simple grass field (understand grass field with grass until your waist if not shoulders) with few brazilian cows with big hanging ears walking around.. quite sad (if you think about the tree killing) though beautiful scenery.

Acre-031-fortaleza.jpg – lake at Fortaleza settlement

 Acre-007-bug-on-the-tent.jpg – strange bug walking on our tent

arriving to fortaleza was also a bit of a shock – a very simple settlement with a few wooden houses (yes in Acre the majority of the houses are made of wood the cheapest construction material – in contract to the rest of what I have seen in Brazil) and three big sail roofs to protect the camping site from the strong rain, where about 60 people were camping – from all around brazil. To my surprise I encountered here also some foreigners: Loo (Lewis) – an american jewish environmentalist and a reknown defender of northern american indians and their forests, two french couples discovering the power of Daime and a Canadian fellow studying in Paris.. – none of them speaking portuguese!!

I was told by Dudu that Fortaleza is reknown as one fo the purest places of Santo Daime rituals where tradition combines with the open spirit and welcoming warmth of the locals. I could not contradict this definition in any way. The local people are quiet, humble and very warm in their hospitality. The majority of the things they have they produce themselves including the food and natural soap.

..after having eaten lunch in a community canteen, we built out tent and relaxed – went for a walk to house of the ´padrinho´ – the local chief of the santo daime rituals and the community, and to the nearby park with an amazing richness of trees flowers and butterflies – the most amazing ones I have ever seen (will upload pictures ltr..)!! 

Acre-009-borboleta.jpg

no time to describe the preparations for the santo daime rituals now, nor the rituals themselves. At times it is beyond explanation, but to give you at least an idea go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Daime . The group here was undergoing a 8 days long cure / rituals, which actually end to day by a round of forro..

We came relatively in the mid of the rituals and have participated in one right after our arrival – though I went to sleep after the first part (after 5 hour) around midnight, but the shown went on until the sunrise..

Acre-018-igreja.jpg – interior of the Church Acre-058-joana.jpg – Joana in the traditional habit

the following day, I was still exhausted, the time difference, the heat and everything contributed to me missing the Bahian coast, company of Kelly and Alessandro, and even ´home´ whatever hat means.. but I guess after this overall emotional and other exhaustions and feeling of being stuck in a place I did not want to be, came a bath in the local forest river and a meeting with a huge 1,5 m long yellow-golden-black snake, I felt much better 😉

the following day I felt so good that even accepted to get a local indigenous ´frog vaccine´ – for those of you who are quite rational this must sound as a horor, but actually it was not so bad: a young forest man burned in my lower leg (the place under the knee – no idea how to name it) six little wholes with a little piece of wood and applied there some ´poison paste made of frogs´ to close the wholes. A few seconds after my body started to heat up and an overall disiness took over my body, started to sweat like never before and felt like fainting.. when I felt the worst I somehow started to think that I feel well, and surprisingly I really started to feel better. the only thing that prevailed weas a pain in my lower belly (apparently a place where I had some energetic or actual problem – as the pain signified healing).. then it slowly all stopped and I felt really good though a bit tired. people around me were surprised as I was the only person who did not vomit as part of the cleaning under the frog vaccine, which is supposed to reinforce my immunity system, and avoid fever and bad spirits entering me – so lots of good health in 2006 🙂

in the afternoon, we (Dudu and I) went for a short walk to the river where Dudu pointed to me that on the other side of the river was already Bolivia! As there was no way to cross other than swimming from the brazilian side, Dudu swam over to ´borrow´ a bolivian boat to get the lazy me without the swimming suit to see the bolivian side.. after struggling with the simple indigenous boat made of a tree truck with only one paddle I managed to touch the bolivian soil and steal a little leave as a memory 😉 the border without any control (which is impossible in the middle of the forest) is the haven of the drug dealers from bolivia and peru..

well, now many more stories to tell, but if I want to catch the tonights´ forro in fortaleza have to get to the bus..

so more tomorrow or on monday..

have a great weekend.. dd

 

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