Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy December!

I hope all of you are enjoying some nice cool weather that is mosquito free! haha I wish I was mosquito free, but I don't mind the warm weather, it is perfect for the beach! which is gorgeous here, so calm and blue. It is getting hotter here as it gets colder where you all are because we are going further into summer, so strange to me, I don't think I would ever be able to get used to that. I was drawing last night and it was all trees, my host mom was like, "these are so different from the ones here" I guess I am homesick, or some oaks. Although I will miss being able to walk down the street and order a coconut to drink and eat.

So my week has been pretty boring I have been writing all week! And I finally came out with my rough draft, but all my information is down. So that is really exciting, but I can still not believe how much time has passed and that soon I will be heading back to Salvador and giving a presentation on my research. It has been so much fun conducting this research and I have learned so much, it will be sad to see it go, but I will always have the memories.

This week I learned how to braid the way my host grandfather does, to make the headdresses they wear here. He saw me braiding with three strands, and said "That is for hair, you need to use four" and then we made a headdress together. He is pretty cool, I don't understand him most of the time, but he loves talking about the differences between the US and here. Always asks me about Biology and is showing me plants.

The other day he dressed me and his four year old granddaughter Lana in a headdresses, he wanted pictures of the gringa! haha we got some good ones. It was all really funny, but resulted in my grandma picking cashew fruit for me and Lana and making juice! as well as eating the very juicy fruit, I got juice everywhere. Always fun new adventures here.

Hope you all are enjoying the first day of December!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Reserva do Joquiera

I went to the Reservation today, Reserva do Joquiera. There are 30 different Pataxo communities, in four different cities I learned today. It was a lot of fun to go to this one though, because we live really close to it, and all the people I met there were related to my host mom. I was like part of the family. She showed me around with her two year old son. we went in the old huts, and shot bow and arrows, (me very poorly) and danced as well.

Most of what they do, and what they wear is for tourism, but it was a very relaxed atmosphere and peaceful. It is in the middle of the forrest and a river was close by. some people do still live in mud huts there. We made lunch in a big one, that was the kitchen where they cooked by putting pots right in a fire, which was pretty cool. They have these huge leaves as well, that they wrap fish in and cook with them. so they still keep some old traditions and ways, plus some running water and toilets. It was fun to see though and I spent the whole day there.

Monday I am going back to interview a spiritual healer, and will have breakfast with them, so that should be interesting. I interviewd the local healer here, a peje, who told me that America was crazy and that I should get an indian boyfriend here! haha He has been to America, the white house he said, he is a big fan of obama. He was really interesting and fun to talk too. Hope you all are having wonderful weekends as well!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy thanksgiving!. . a little late

hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving! It was weird being away from home for this holiday, especially since I didn]t do anything at all to celebrate it. I told my grandmother it here it was the holiday of thankyous, and that people stay in their house and eat a lot of food. haha she laughed at that, and then just fed me more food. Here people love feeding me, I thought I was eating a lot of food in Salvador, I was wrong, I eat way more food here. They all mean well though and I think it is a sign that they like me.

Today I tried Crab and that was a little diffincult. I don]t really like eating a ton of meet, especially when it has hairy legs, and it looks like its eyes are staring up at me. but I pulled off its legs, and just jumped into it. they all laughed at me when I asked how to eat it. They tried to show me, I am really bad at it though, you have to suck out the meat, and it wasn]t working when I did it, so they were trying to show me. It all just ended with me not being able to do, lots of laughs, and the morter and pestle brought out so I could smash the crab open to eat it.

I am having a lot of fun here, learning lots of new things. And since I only hear portuguese most of the time, it has improved. They don]t always understand what I am trying to say, but I understand a lot more than I used too. I watched the movie Rio today with my family. The animated film with the birds, it was really cute. It was cool to watch in Portuguese, because it takes place in brazil, and that is what they are supposed to be speaking.

My reasearch is going well. I have conducted 6 interviews, and as of now, only have one more person  I can interview, and then the writing begans. I will stay here in Corea Vermehla though and write. It should be fun to explore it a little more and at some point hopefully make it into porto seguro. Hope you all are doning well! I am envious of those thanksgiving leftovers!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Porto Seguro

I made it! I traveled by myself on bus for 12 hours, and then met my new host family and new town. I am actually near porto seguro in a town called Corea Vermehla. It is where the Pataxo´ Indian reservation is located, and where I will be conducting my independent research.

I love my new host family they are so sweet to me, and fattening me up, it seems it is the only for Brazilian mothers to know you are happy, if you eat more food. My host mom dad have been together for three years, and they have a two year old son. My host mom and her family, sisters in law and friends are all around my age, so I have lots of girls to hang with. I have watched a scary movie with her, we stayed up late in suspense, I didn]t think it would be as scary in Portuguese but I was surprised. We also sat down and watched Twilight, breaking daw part one together. That was fun because they honeymoon in Rio and we bonded over boys and music from the movie.

While I conduct my reaserch, my advisor lives in our backyard, and we are constantly goign between houses. my 2 year old brother, and a 4 year old named lana are always running about, and people are always in and out of our house. I am always switching between the two. Watching TV with them, picking fruit, and learning about tea. The other day they were making purses and I got to help out a little, it has been a long time since I have done any sewing by hand, so that was fun. So it is always an adventure here.

I have also started drinking coffee they all have it all the time, and so I decided I would go along. The kids even drink with lots of milk, like me. So a lot of new firsts for me. As well as trying to conduct reasearch in anoteher langauge, well at least I have met some interesting people, and they are all really willing to help out and are willing to talk to me even though they cannot understand me. haha

I am sure I will have more interesting stories to tell as the week goes on!


Thursday, November 15, 2012


The next part of my excursion was traveling to a city that is smaller than salvador, but still a city, it is called Ilheus and is further south. It had a very different feel from Salvador, it was much cleaner, much quieter and seemed safer, less crazy. We stayed in a hotel all together, I stayed with my two roomies Emily and Jess. We seemed to be more on a vacation at this point than actually studying.

We went to a cocoa factory and saw how chocolate was made, and how the cocoa was harvested and got to sample some delicious chocolate and chocolate milk. that was really exciting, on the property there there was also a safe house, or program for sloths that had been living there and been hurt. It was a rehabilitation center for them, I have never really seen sloths up close however so that was really cool to see. the lady who talked to us, was holding one while she talked to us, so cool. Later that afternoon we went on a tour of the historical district and got to see a little more of downtown, followed by ice-cream for everyone! haha definitely the highlight.

the next day we visited a PSF in town. It was a lot of fun because we got to go off in small groups with a community agent and learn some more hands on questions. We also were able to go on a few house visits and see and talk to some different people. The agent I worked with was very nice and very invested in his work and the community which was really nice to see. Afterwards we visited an after school program where kids can learn all sorts of things, mostly artsy and crafty. We got to hear them play music for us, but they also have a dance program, and there was an arts and crafts room. We also got to see what the kids had made and buy some of the things. I wish we would have been able to spend some time with the kids, but we didn't have the time.

Saturday we spent the day on an indian reservation, with a small indigenous tribe that resides in Ihleus. They were so welcoming and very interested in talking to us and showing us their culture. We participated in a ceremony with them, learned about some different medicines they used, and we all received seeds that will bring us protection. We got to walk around the reservation and meet people, and spend time at a river, and they picked coconuts for us so we could drink and eat some coconut, I will miss fresh coconut so much! It was all in all a wonderful day.

The last day we spent there was a free day for students, and there is this one beach that apparently you must see before you die according to the NY times. so we got the driver to all bus us out there and we spent the day on the beach, playing in the waves, and climbing on hiking across rocks. It was pretty gorgeous  and nice to have a day just at the beach. I am blanking on the name of it right now, but I will try to add it when I remember.

That is the end of my excursion however, and now I am back in Salvador and getting ready to start another trip, with a new host family while I do my research with an Indigenous tribe in Porto Seguro. I hope to head out tomorrow or sometime this weekend, it will be hard to say goodbye to my host family, but I am excited to see a new place and have a new adventure!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The best four days of my life were spent in the little village Remanso, it is a quilombo community meaning that it was created as an escaped slave community. It was full of the sweetest people who were full of so much life and spirit. They worked so hard every day of their lives, and yet they still found time to celebrate and teach and host us for four days. They live very humbly, only containing a school up to the primary level, and travel to the big city for school when they are older. they live in small brick houses, that rain leaks through slowly, and no running water. They have had electricity for about a decade though, but clean water is hard to find. The water we washed with was brought from their one river. And the whole community works together as a whole to create what they need and help one another.

I stayed with my friends Bri and Alice, in a small home that usually housed a mom and dad along with their three kids. The kids were older so they live in the city during the week, and only come home on the weekends. The parents stayed with us while we were there though, and had everything all set up for us. They only had two rooms, and Bri and I shared a bed in one, while one little bed was for Alice and the parents slept on a mattress on the floor in the living room. The kitchen was in the back of the house, and it was one of the best parts. It was a cozy little kitchen, and I have never had such wonderful food! Our host mom, Nice, made us so much good food every day, and all of it so fresh. She also made us so much bolo, and fresh juice with each meal. It was so good. 

We learned about the whole community, went to the school, learned projects about the community. My group got to walk through the forrest that they have around them and see and find medicinal plants that the community uses. The next day we also met a really sweet lady who taught us how to make fishing nets. There is  a river close by to the community and they use it for everything, washing clothes, dishes, and themselves, as well as for fishing. It was really cool to learn how to do, but much harder than it looked. The lady had to help us out many times. We also sat around a bonfire one night and people took turns telling stories, it was really cool, and appropriate for being close to halloween, since some of them were scary stories. 

The last day that we were there the whole community took us out in canoes, and we went to a waterfall, and on a 10 mile ride. Our host sisters who were back from school, took the three of us up and down the river, rowing the whole way. They brought all the food and everything, it was so nice to have a little picnic, and they all shared the food and took the time out of their day to bring us. It was a wonderful day, and it was so peaceful just floating down the river. 

It was just a magical, slow moving place, that had a wonderful sense of community that was a great escape. I hope one day that I am able to go back and spend time with my host family there again.