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Sao Paulo February 7, 2006

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so this time Sao Paulo is extremely hot – around 35 degrees!!! so sweaty but with a new haircut am sitting again in the GYAN office and trying to organise my life before departure to Europe (changing my plane ticket, arraging the Foreign Police, organising accommodation in Rio for the carnaval – all things I ignored so far that I coming back to me..)

But well, had a great restful weekend so now can do some necessary things too..

– that was yesterday..

today am again exhausted – but this time from spending the whole day at the federal police, where finally managed to arrange the extension of my stay in brazil for another 3 month ūüėČ but dont worry coming back to Amsterdam on March 10 early in the morning..

so, as I have to leave very soon, here I want to upload at least a couple of pictures from my stay in Sao Paulo and my lovely time with Lis, Jonah and their beautiful son Akira, as well as my walks in down town.

lis-akira.jpg  akira-eating.jpg Jonah-and-nina.jpg

SP-roof-view.jpg SPview.jpg – Sao Paulo – view from Lis & Jonah roof

SP.jpg da-se.jpg – Sao Paulo down town

SP-china-town.jpg – former Japaneese quarter / China town

italian-quarter.jpg – Italian Quarter

vila-madalena-pre-carnaval.jpg – night street samba groove in Vila Madalena

One of my most amazing experiences was a visit to the organisation Aprendiz (www.aprendiz.org.br) in Vila Madalena, the visit of their organisation, cafe, and the places they work in, as well as the meeting of Yael Sandberg and Izabel Marques, who were kind to brief me about this marvellous organisation and their work.

Here are at least some pictures to illustrate:



More will have to come later, from Ceara, where I travel tomorrow early morning.

All the best, Ditta


..last days in Brasilia & arrival to Sao Paulo February 3, 2006

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..at the moment I am at GYAN office (Global Youth Action Network www.youthlink.org) in Sao Paulo, sitting next to Jonah and having a little time to reflect on the passed few days.

Tuesday, 31st January

was picked up by Sumaya and Dudu and we went to the National Park of Brasilia, also called Mineral Waters or Aguas Minerais, where there is a natural water reserve and a beautiful park, which we did not have a change to explore due to the pouring rain..

aguas-minerais.jpg      aguas-minerais-rain.jpg

after a good lunch in a vegetarian restaurant, Dudu and I went for a visit to the International Education Institute for Brasil РInstituto International de Educacao do Brasil (www.iieb.org.br), where got a graet explanation of the activities by Camilia and had a very stimulating discussion with the programme director and author of a publication on the methodology of participation.

then we paid a visit to the Youth Secretary of the Presidency of the Brasilian government, which is seated in this amazing building:

secretaria-da-juventude2.jpg secretaria-da-juventude.jpg

…in the¬†evening, Barbara, Dudu and I made a trip to the city Taguatinga¬†in the periphery of Brasilia to take part in¬†a cultural people’s festival¬†coorganised by a local cultural centre and different ministries. The programme presented a great variety of workshops, local musicians, and even a Maracatu group from Recife! was with lots of fun and dancing.. and later a dinner with some people we met around..

taguatinga2.jpg dinner-taguatinga.jpg taguatinga.jpg

Wednesday 1 February

started with a delayed meeting (due to my slow morning and a visit to the BRA office – as I finally decided to fly to SP to save time and energy, and be able to participate in my farewell party Dudu was organising for me..) with the INTERAGIR group – a geuine youth organisation based in Brasilia but with a net work all over the country (www.interagir.org.br) – to my surprise they have their office in an amazing building of the Brasilia Shopping – see below:


They also run a youth information server on environmental issues: www.protagonismojuvenil.org.br . There together with Alessandro, Mateus and Renata from Interagir agreed to have another meeting on the following day to discuss some projects..

Interagir.jpg РRenata e Natalia from Interagir

After that I had a unique opportunity to walk in Brasilia and go all the way up the TV tower which offers the most amazing view of Brasilia

brasilia-view-tower.jpg brasilia-view.jpg

..from there were finally to a class of Bolero to the samba school (I took the most advanced class and still was a bit dissappointed by the easiness of the level.. but well, the teacher was great!!)

Thursday – 2 Feb

…my last day in Brasilia – went with Lou (from the States I met in Acre), Sumaya and her daughter Ananda to the Museu of Indigenous People, which was unfortunately closed. So we went at least to the Museu of Juscelino Kubitchek and his memorial – impressive design!!


after a nice lunch with Cris from UNDP and Alessandro, we headed to the meeting with Interagir about a manual on youth politicy and¬†participation in Brasil, which was inspiring and needs to be followed up. Then we headed to the World Bank office, where I assisted Alessandro the finalisation of¬†the Report from the Recife events.. and after a delicious¬†ice-cream and a party shopping we finally arrived to Dudu’s place for the farewell party – which was great!!! Really Du, thank you so much for this initiative! Was great to meet your friends and see and all the¬†diversity of people I met at various places basically¬†know¬†each other ūüėČ and all of you was great to spend time with you in Brasilia and all the other places..





This morning left for the airport and to my surprise while queueing met Mateus from Interagir travelling to SP with the same flight! ..and I ended up going with him from the airport and his friends Massao (from www.ispis.org.br) and Black (from www.cala-bocajamorreu.org) and ended up here at the GYAN office, reading emails from Brasilia that I should meet these guys as well as the organisations, that have offices next to GYAN such as the Artemisia Foundation (www.artemisiafoundation.org.br) and Aracati (www.aracati.org.br)..

curious what the next days will bring, I wish you a nice weekend and a restful Shabbat ūüėČ



..long awaited pictures! January 30, 2006

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..still in Brasilia, where my bio-rhytm¬†indicated a real city-vacation party mood:¬†my breakfast is at lunch, lunch in the afternoon and¬†dinners¬†at night and party until early morning ūüėČ

Chourinho (old fashioned way of samba with acoustic instruments,) and samba parties in Brasilia are great – at least the ones I had the chance to visit, not talking about the great diversity of wonderful restaurants, which vary from ‘chourasco’ – beef, ‘nordestinian feijao’, ‘bahian mouqueca’¬†– fish and sea food¬†dish, japaneese sushi, french crepes, italian pizza – well basically anything you can think of – have been really spoiling myself here in a culinary way..

Friday night Du, Aless and I went for a dinner to Soraia and her partner Fabian. They both work for the Ministry of Education at the department of environment and sustainable¬†development, where¬†one¬†of their target groups is youth..¬†so with some pizza and wine we had great discussions about policy, education, youth¬†and life in general.. where from we went for the already mentioned samba party ūüôā and stayed until late…. … ..

saturday was sleepy. but after a good lunch, Alessandro and I ended up in another samba place – Calef, where they started to play already at 4PM – and we stayed until 10PM and exhausted from the constant move and groove, managed to satisfy our stomachs at a creperie and ‘miss the opportunity of another late samba evenings’..

sunday was an excursion day with visits of three churches:

Catedral Metropolitana da Nossa Senhora Aparecida  ,

Igreja dom Bosco  

and the Ecumenical Temple of Boa Vontade

All three amazing architectural constructions!

In the evening, we (Du, Aless and Barbara) went to a theatre play of a Bio-scenic threatre group called ‘White page’,¬†which¬†was great¬†– people studying theatre engaged in a process of a play development with lots of great music and dance. Loved it – and even could understand!!¬†the play was about a theatre writer who was commissioned to write a play but could not decide how to develop its characters and put all his thinking and philosophy, emotions and problems of the world on a paper of the script.. in the meantime, his relationship was disintegrating.. – well reminded me of someone dear to me..

today is spent on organising the rest of my trip, again kind of decided to change my schedule and it is likely that will leave Brasilia for Sao Paulo on Thurday night, spend a few days in S.P. and on Wednesday travel again to the North of the country Рall the way to Fortaleza, where will participate in the Universidade de Juventude, a training seminar for 40 municipality civil servants working with youth in the state of Ceará (and may be even give a lecture on European Youth Policy).. From there will travel on the coast South through Natal, Joao Pessoa all the way until Recife and Olinda and the CARNAVAL..

As am again using the good services of UNDP Brasil, and have a good internet connection, I am uploading some of the pictures from the past.. so enjoy!!!

more soon, Kisses dd

the sur-real capital January 26, 2006

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National Congress…landing in a sunny brasilia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bras%C3%ADlia), was followed by an¬†immediate sightseeing¬†tour around the¬†capital, where¬†Alessandro in his¬†‘mafioso-black-consultant car’ drove me through the plano piloto and some rich area quarters..

I felt like diving into a world of matrix Рno people on the streets, hardly any cars, just an amazing view of incredibly organised buildings separated by empty avenues.. 

 brasilia-bridge.jpg  Brasilia-bridge-2.jpg РJK bridge dividing the Lagoa

 Brasilia-from-the-car.jpg Рdriving in Brasilia..

Brasilia-cathedral.jpg  Brasilia-cathedral-and-mini.jpg РPlano piloto РCathedral and Ministries

Brasilia-commercial-centre.jpg РCommercial Centre

This¬†feeling was strengthened by an amazing¬†cake-shop at the corner of SQN 200 street in the North, Alessandro’s spacious appartment planed for civil¬†servants, with a collective swimming pool and sauna on the¬†roof,¬†and¬†everything looking so perfect¬†comparing to¬†my previous experience¬†of the constrastful Brazil…

well, that was my real¬†first introduction to plano piloto, where after some rest, and¬†sauna, the night went on in a again sur-real samba party (where I think everyone was a lawyer, or civil servant and very interested talking to a blond ‘gringa’ – thank g-d I was not there alone!) with¬†the most amazing¬†quality life music and some dance – so much different from the open street samba party of recife..¬†¬†

saturday was another sur-real experience, when Dudu took me for a ‘test-drive’ (of a sailing-boat he is intending to buy)¬†on the sur-really artificial Lagoa with its amazing bridge.. wow – that was really something, and I fully regret my camera was without bateries!!! (sorry no pictures from there..)

sunday was largely spent at the waterfalls close to Dudu’s house, where Du and Alessandro decided to create a new natural swimming pool and cleaned ‘a newly discovered’ mini-water fall and created a lake around it.. ¬†

du-cacheira-2-with-aless.jpg¬†– after harrd work…

I wont mention the many driving around – the only possible sighteseeing around the city, just the monday’s amazing experience of another samba club in the commercial disctrict – this time in a rock samba fashion, where we partied with Barbara, Dudu and Alessandro..

aless-and-barbara.jpg du-di-barb-aless.jpg Рat samba club..

Tuesday was hectic: Barbara called me (waking me up)¬†at 10.30AM to be at the ministry at 11AM to have a meeting with the Matilde Ribeiro, the Minister for the Promotion of Racial Equality – something that Barbara and Eloa Katia (another new friend from Recife working in Brasilia) though was a good idea.. rushing I made it at 11.15 and met this very energetic knowledgeable and inspiring¬†black lady for about 45 min, during which she introduced me to the one year old work of their new ministry (established by Lula) and some of the challenges they are facing, while I shared with her some of the current happenings in the youth field and anti-racism in Europe.. Apparently she liked me, cause she asked for another meeting before I left.. – so may be some new projects to be developed ūüôā

min-racial-affairs.jpg РBarbara in her office Min for Promotion of Racial Equality

in the evening I saw an amazing brazilian documentary about the hero of Bossa Nova ‘Vinicius’ de Moraes – recommending to everyone!

yesterday, with Dudu and Dande (the friend from Acre working for WWF, who was visiting WWF brasilia) we went to the ZOO, where I hoped to see a life tatu Armadillo¬†(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo) – which to my dissappointment did not happen ūüė¶ but instead saw all kinds of other brazilian animals (snakes, araras, panthers, etc.), as well as girafes and elephants from africa…

the evening was again full of project planning and discussions about youth policy and training in brasil, which turned out that today I largely spent in front of the computer organising my visits in brasilia and gathering materials…

in the evening awaiting more meetings and may be even more party.. but this time will try to be more in touch..

kisses to all!


Memories from Pernambuco January 26, 2006

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..the time started to fly and my capacity to write was somehow reduced.. here are at least some memories from the rest of my stay in and around Recife, from which I came to Brasilia last Friday (20/1) Рbut about that in a separate post..

So, the Voices of Youth conference was partly a consultancy of the World Bank for their World Development Report on Youth and partly a youth gathering, which brought together various groups to discuss the priorities for youth policy in Pernambuco. The second part of the conference was very interesting as the synergy of the different groups of urban and rural youth, the indigenous and quilombolo youth Рon the pictureRecife-Olinda-e-Pontos-de-P.jpg and other subgroups called for the establishment of an independent youth council, which would participate and cooperate on youth policy formation together with the state government of Pernambuco as well as the municipalities. The outcomes, though in my opinion still rather vague, called for a second meeting, which would discuss the start of such process in more detail.

But overall, it was amazing to meet such a great diversity of people – from Brasilia (the federal youth secretary and the youth secretaries of the Min of Agriculture and the Min for promotion of racial equality), the neighbouring state (Ceara – who were already involved in such a process), the governmental agencies and local authorities of Recife and Olinda (all young adults!) as well as the amazing variety of youth and educational organisations that I will have hopefully time to visit during my next trip to Recife..

Well, but this trip was not only work, as it may seem – the evenings and late nights were very animated with debates on youth policy in brazil,¬†and critical reflections on the¬†process of this last moment organised event and gossip about everything that went wrong, which mixed nicely together with local drinks and street samba festivities in down-town recife, night swimming at¬†the beach in front of¬†the hotel (which is supposed to be the only area in Brasil where people die from shark bites! – but luckily we did not meet any ūüėČ

the conference finished actually on wednesday evening, so we had thursday ‘free’¬†– to recover from the party and plan our next steps before taking the plane¬†on Friday morning back to Brasilia.. In the general chaos and undecisiveness of¬†the late morning, me and my wonderful new friend Barbara¬†(who works for the Ministry of promotion of Racial Equality)¬†went for a walk, acai¬†and some shopping and ended up at the beach in new swimming suit (as¬†we both¬†forgot them in Brasilia), where we met with Alessandro, who arranged for us served fresh oisters with lime from a guy selling them to hungry beach enjoyers.. – well kind of paradise feeling..

boa-viagem.jpg new-swimming-suit.jpg oisters.jpg

once we actually got out of the beach to pack, we discovered it is rather late to materialise any of our ambitious plans.. there were about 7 people waiting for us, not talking about the fact that we had to move out from the hotel..

so with our great local guide Vittoria (civil servant from the municipality of Olinda – great dancer too!) we went through various stations to the airport where we deposited some people to go to another youth event in Fortaleza, finally had lunch (at 5PM) and hired a car to spend the evening and the following morning at some beach close by..

but the evening developed still in the city of Recife and Olinda, and we were driving meeting various people and walking around the old streets of the city – had a local tapioca (kind of pancake from maniok filled with meat, cheese or banana with condensated milk) and talked to various street youth workers who just happen to be around..

olinda.jpg РOlinda by night

olinda-igreja-da-se.jpg РIgreja da Se, Olinda

olinda-barbara-thais-vittor.jpg Рform right: Vittoria, Thais, Barbara and me

only around 10PM we finally decided to¬†leave and find our ‘beach’ and after about an hour driving we ended up in Ponto das Pedras (half way to Joao Pessoa) in some beach resort were we (Barbara, Thais – also from Federal Min, Aless and I) ended up in a beautiful pousada at the sea… walked around, opened a bottle of wine and continued our talks about brazil until early morning hours..

wont tell you how was the sun-rise as I missed it by half an hour and woke up to a marvellously illuminated beach, after which I slept happily for another hour or two, until we decided to have breakfast and enjoy the sea-side (pictures to come..)

ponto-das-pedras-2.jpg ponto-das-pedras.jpg

..dont want to get into big details about the surprise and panic when we discovered that we were super late to leave for the airport (when we realised that it is not 11AM anymore¬†– when we wanted to leave, it was already 12.20AM, the time to arrive to the airport), and that the road was rightly only 40 min from Recife, but another 30 min within recife to the airport.. and the surprise that we could eventually check in 20 min before the departure of the plane – all of this was actually a miracle that brought me safely back to Brasilia¬†exhausted but with great new friends and amazing memories…

from Recife – Youth Voices of Pernambuco January 17, 2006

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..so back from Amazon region, which was a great experience and where I met amazing people – warm, honest, welcoming and willing to share their knowledge and spiritual way of living. Spent a day (Sunday)¬†in Brasilia, where basically tried to recover from a night flight by having a wonderful breakfast at Dudu’s terrace, doing laundry, and having a bath in the local cachoeira (water fall) only 2 min walk from Dudu’s house..

dudu-house1.jpg dudu-house.jpg 

dudu-cachoeira.jpg ditta-in-du-cachoeira.jpg

..at 23.30 landed in warm and humid Recife to the reality of the ‘opposite world’ from the quietness of forest and the calm of Rio Branco.. the shock of arriving to a luxurious hotel Antlante Plaza (http://www.atlanteplaza.com.br/) at the beach¬†‘praia de boa viagem’¬†of Recife and discovering that the following morning am supposed to help with a facilitation of a workshop – as a consultative process of Pernambucan youth on their conditions of living for the World Development Report on Youth of the World Bank – did not let me go to bed very early..

view-from-th-hotel.jpg Рview from the Hotel

The conference started in a Brazilian fashion –¬†although the programme indicated a start of the programme at 9AM, in reality, at 9AM¬†participants, organisers and invitees slowly gathered for an informal breakfast in the lobby, which lasted until 10.30AM, when eventually almost all where present.

The logistics at a professional level with good simultaneous translation Portuguese/ English in the plenary as well as sign language from both languages for those who could not hear, were appreciated by all (especially the 10 member world bank staff out of whom only one Austrian young man spoke portuguese).

The meeting started with introductions of the programme and the purpose and concept of the World Development Report on Youth of the World Bank, which is being conducted in 30 countries of the world, and with four grass-root country consultations one of which is Brasil (next to Vietnam, Egypt and Siera Leone).

..after the plenary presentation¬†of the large team of support, the world bank, and the different facilitators and reporters, we went outside to the hotel’s terrace with¬†a beach view,¬†to participate in an interactive exercise of getting to know each other¬†through a local dance of Siranga. During the dance we all created all kinds of sub-groups representing the diversity of the overall group and we ended up in seven ‘identity groups’ (quilombos, indigenous, disabled, rural, urban, gender and staff) which formulated expectations of the conference and were a base of the working groups.

seringa.jpg¬†– dancing seringa capoeira.jpg¬†– capoeira during ‘coffee break’

plenary.jpg Рplenary presentation with hip hop  barbara-eloa.jpg Рnew friends Eloa and Barbara from Min for Promotion of Racial Equality working with Quilombolo youth

The diversity of Pernambucan youth present is really something amazing, as well as the diversity of the organisations they represent – both NGO and political, municipalities and state youth institutions – which gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn about the conditions of young people as well as listen to some interesting personal stories of some really young (15 years old) youth workers working with marginalised youth.

However, to facilitate a group of 20 pernambucan youth leaders from the urban area (which is the group I was assigned to together with a youth leader from a neighbouring state of Ceara), turned out to be a huge challenge. Forget about communications rules and a decent debate where one listens where the other talks and people don’t shout and wait for each others’ word. Truly, was not ready for that, but after my initial shock, and an offered cumulative methodology not allowing too many fights,¬†the outcomes turned out quite well. Definitely was a lesson about different youth cultures (especially when I visited the other groups, where the working atmosphere was simply completely different – all rural, quilombos and indigenous were super respectful and discussed in calm), and a test to my facilitation skills.. but as a result met lots of interesting people and made enough contacts to visit projects during my next visit of Pernambuco in February.

yesterday evening spent in the company of the youth politician and technical elites from Brasilia’s federal office, the pernambucan state and municipality offices and the World Bank staff put the whole brazilian youth policy making into a different perspective. Still hope to gain more information on that next week, when back in Brasilia..

well, as the conference goes still on its second phase as the consultation with the world bank has finished today. tomorrow we will concentrate on the youth processes here in Pernambuco and the possible activities that can take place in the coming year here in Pernambuco.

so, more soon, now back to the plenary..





…back to Rio Branco – still in Acre January 14, 2006

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The days pass by in an incredible way.. as everything goes here in a smooth relaxed way after a while one does not notice the time passing and everything glues into one big path.. but yes, managed to relax, to ¬īlet go¬īand to look inside of myself rather than constantly running from one place to another (although I did that as well)..

..the Fortaleza Forr√≥ the other night¬†was nice; preceeded by an amazing piece of Amazon theatre with environmental messages of forest preservation, which took place at night in the middle of the forest!!! a group of artists playing their own music, in the light of the fire sticks (no idea how you call these in English) presented an amazing story of amazon culture and tradition of a amazon dolphin, water snake – anaconda and other stories. Unfortunately came late, so could not enjoy the whole thing, but the trip to the place without light through the forest with my local friend Cleyton was advanterous enough ūüėČ

this was followed by the famous forro, which took place in the church of santo daime. people dancing with ayahuasca in their bodies on the tunes of life accordeon, guitar and drums were full of energy and passion. was very nice. the process of gender division was maintained by men being on the one side of the room and women sitting on the other side.. once the music started men (yes only a few women dared to go and ask a man for a dance) went to the other side to ask a particular girl for a dance.. it reminded me a little my teenager time and social dancing class in slovakia ūüėČ we danced until the sunrise!

..the following day we relaxed in Fortaleza, and I even managed to return to ¬īBolivia¬ī by persuading Clayton, who knew the area well, to take me on a canoe around the river.. was great!! then we had a barbecue and by the end of the afternoon we packed our tent and prepared for the trip back to Rio Branco, where we arrived at night, just with enough energy to go for dinner (Dudu, Lou and I) and collapse and Dande¬īs house (Dudu¬īs great friend who works for WWF http://www.wwf.org.br/¬†and has a wonderful collection of brazilian music and amazon histories, and who was so kind to allow me to use his office to write these lines)..¬†

the following day, Monday 9/1, Dudu accompanied Dande to a planning meeting of the Conselho National dos Seringueiros (http://www.cnsnet.org.br/), a 20 year old organisation of Seringueiros (people collecting natural rubber and other forest products such as the para or brazilian nuts in a sustainable way), which was planning their programme for 2006 in four priorities of training, fundraising, gender policy and community development. Was very interesting and we assisted their debates by offering our expertise (mainly Dudu) in methodological advice..

following this we went downtown to arrange plane tickets for the rest of our trips (I in the meatime decided to stay longer in Acre and travel directly from here¬†to Recife for a youth policy conference organised by the World Bank called the Voices of Youth of Pernambuco), etc. and in the evening we relaxed in Dande¬īs house listening to music and discussing the politics of the Amazons and its social movement.

the next day¬†was spent in Rio Branco,¬†where I¬†assisted Dudu with a project development of a Kashinawa Week of cultural heritage in Brasilia. The meeting took place in a Centre of Indigenous People of Acre, where I met for the first time the group of indians from the Hunikui tribe as they call themselves (Hunikui means ¬īpovo verdadeiro¬ī – the real/truth people, the name Kashinawa was given to them by the ¬ībrancos¬ī the white people – where Kashi means ¬ībat¬ī and nawa means ¬īsky¬ī). This encouter was a discovery for me and will try to write more about them separately¬†a little later..

after the meeting, Dudu and I rented a car to go to Xapuri, the lengend city (rather village) of Serigueiros and its hero, the environmentalist and seringueiro Chico Mendes  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico_Mendes).

We arrived already at night, as could not leave Rio Branco on time due to more logistical arrangements, and stayed at a marvellous poussada Villa Verde, which belonged to an Italian from Friuli (yes Fio people from your region live even in Acre) called Miguel, who developed an amazing area of recreation here!

In the morning we visited a local development project (which included a creche, educational centre and wooden furniture artesanate)¬†that Dudu¬īs friend Ivana was superwising – we met her coincidently at breakfast of the Pousada; and then headed to Cachoeira Seringao, where Chico Mendes used to work.

After an hour ride on a mud road (thanks g-d it did not rain in the past few days!) we arrived to a tiny wooden settlement of seringueiros. Francisco, a cousin of Chico Mendes, guided us through the forest explained us the sustainable wood extraction system and talked to us about the way they live here and the damage caused by the farmers coming from the brazilian south – the¬†forest eaters.. We even visited his brother¬īs house, another seringueiro, who developed his house in a pousada style accommodating researchers and lost tourists, who showed us some interesting maps of the region and offered us fresh juice ūüôā

then we went for lunch in Fransico¬īs house, where his wife prepared for us a delicious local dish with rice, beef, feijao (beens), fried bananas, farofa (manioc flour), and¬†salad. we had a great talk and then we finallt headed¬†back to Rio Branco.

Arriving fairly late, we just had time to get a shower and have something to bite on, and we headed for what was supposed to be an amazing night of rituals with the Hunikui youth leaders in one their reserve next to Rio Branco. And it was!

I guess all of us dreamt of spending some time with the indians, being with them, experience how they live, dress and sing.. well, that night was all about that – seeing them in their dresses with feathers, forest jewerly, sniffing rape, telling us stories of their¬†tragic past, offering us their indigenous tea (or as they call it – ¬īniship¬īh¬ī – which is basically ayahuasca I wrote about before) and singing for us all night long in their amazing wooden house with a view over a beautiful lake from the one side and a forest on the other. Was really something and I felt as a child who discovered the world of Maugli! In the middle of the night I sang for them a Slovak folk song ¬īcierne oci chodte spat¬ī which they appreciated greatly and talked to them about our small jewish community and its struggles for survival, which in the early 90s was similar to their struggle now, although we did not have a forest to fight for as well..

here are some pictures from another meeting with the Ninawa and Isaka from the Hunikuy tribe and Dande:

Ninawa-2.jpg Ninawa.jpg

me-and-hunikuy.jpg deep-conversations-ninawa-d.jpg 

rape-dande-e-isaka.jpg¬†– Isaka applying ‘rape’

well, there are many more stories to tell, but it is time to go now and I am tired of writing..

promiss to post some more pictures on, once I am back in brasilia/recife, where I go tomorrow night, arrive in the morning to travel on sunday night to recife, but will see what I manage..

hope you are all well..

best from amazing acre.. Ditta




Acre – Rio Branco & Fortaleza January 7, 2006

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..the past few days were really different. Arriving to Acre was a bit shocking Рnot 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 Рlake at Fortaleza settlement

 Acre-007-bug-on-the-tent.jpg Рstrange bug walking on our tent

arriving to fortaleza was also a bit of a shock Рa very simple settlement with a few wooden houses (yes in Acre the majority of the houses are made of wood the cheapest construction material Рin 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 Рfrom all around brazil. To my surprise I encountered here also some foreigners: Loo (Lewis) Рan 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.. Рnone 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 ¬īpadrinho¬ī – 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..)!!¬†


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 Рthough 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 Рinterior of the Church Acre-058-joana.jpg РJoana 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 ¬īhome¬ī 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 ūüėČ

the following day I felt so good that even accepted to get a local indigenous ¬īfrog vaccine¬ī – 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 ¬īpoison paste made of frogs¬ī 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¬†ūüôā

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 ¬īborrow¬ī 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 ūüėČ 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¬ī forro in fortaleza have to get to the bus..

so more tomorrow or on monday..

have a great weekend.. dd


Stop over January 2, 2006

Posted by ditta in Uncategorized.
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Just a quick message from my very quick stop-over in Brasilia. Left Salvador this afternoon to get here and have a chance to repack my stuff before leaving at 22.50 to Acre!

My stay in Morro de Sao Paulo was wonderful as well as was the NY party at the beach of Ilha da Itaparica in Caxa Prego. The mid night swim with fireworks around was really an experience.. here are some pictures from the day after (01/01/06 Caxa Prego)

1-jan-dd.jpg sunset-1-jan-caxa-prego.jpg leaving-ILha-da-itaparica.jpg 

well, have to rush but hope to be in touch from the amazon region..

till soon and best 2006!!


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

Posted by ditta in Uncategorized.

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 !