houses are like sugared almonds

The heat is intense

Posted in: by Kathryn Macdonald on 1 May 2013
Tagged with: Brazil 2013 1

At dawn the bin wagon rattles by the window on metal wheels. We're up and dressed and ready for what the day might bring by 7.30am.

Plans for the day have changed and Pete's workshop has been postponed. The space is filled by intense conversations with Dan about the politics of the area and his vision to share the model he and Mano are developing here in Cabelo Seco as a paradigm for community resilience and development across the region with young people at the forefront. The project is growing in profile and influence and he is very excited that there is a significant feature in the region's newspaper for the second time this week.

The heat is intense; I am relieved that we are not going on a boat trip. Instead, Pete and I cycle up the Orla through Santa Rosa where we pass a group of men setting up for an exhibition opening. We met the artist last night, he looked interesting in a bearded, vest wearing kind of way, rather like Tom Conti, in Shirley Valentine, dashing and slightly piratical. The exhibition is the culmination of a community arts project of painted riverboats; there will be an event with music and performances by the young people, other local musicians and visiting superstar Pete Moser!

The ride along the river is beautiful, the scenery is magnificent and the sky today every shade of blue. The houses are coloured like sugared almonds, the paint faded and peeling. Some of them are constructed of planks nailed roughly together and bare bricks, they're unfinished and fronted by ragged, chaotic gardens.

The rain catches up with us and we take advantage of a gazebo in front of a house en route. The residents seem not to mind although there is no communication apart from smiling. Talking would have been impossible anyway due to the extreme batteria of sound delivered by the rain.

Back at the house Jose and a posse of local boys are loading the gigantic PA that has been living in the front room since Saturday, on to an ancient Chevrolet pick up. Pete gets involved and is very excited to take a ride in the truck.

An evening session for the emerging new horn section takes place at the cultural Centre. The young people are full of smiles and laughter that develops into hysteria as the rain comes again and they battle to make themselves heard as it invades the room via the spaces where there would be windows or doors.

A small birthday party for Matteus's 14th birthday follows the rehearsal. His sisters accompany Matteus; Giovanna, 16 and imminent with child and a smaller tubby 8-year-old called Way. We share a magnificent chocolate cake made by his mum and coca cola, which excites them very much. Mano and Dan do not generally allow fizzy drinks in the house. Brazil has a growing obesity problem and their project encourages healthy eating and the celebration and cooking, of local cuisine. The children/ young people are all very close and kind to each other, any teasing is gentle and good - natured. The party ends as quickly as the cake and they disperse.

Lovely to read about your trip as it's unfolding. Keep blogging - it's great. Sun's shining here too, and today John & I went boating in a kayak canoe on the River Weaver. Love to you both, Liz

06/05/2013 23:13:00 by liz pugh

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