Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hammock Hunt

SMC Amazon 2014: Day 6  

Special Note:  In case you didn’t notice, we went back and put up our first few videos.  We think that by the time you see this note, we will have a pretty good amount of pictures up too.  We’ll keep trying to catch up . . .

Special Note #2: Pictures should come up soon. 

Our morning started very much like yesterday’s, with us heading down to the beach in Mapirí to connect with the adorable happy kids there.  We got another slow start, but just like yesterday, the kids began to come from different directions once they heard something going on out there. 

We noticed that the ones who were drawing drew houses more than anything else.  Their house drawings looked pretty bright and beautiful and some of them actually had hearts or smiley faces floating out of them.  They drew some castles and some horses but mostly they drew houses and families. 

On the beach, we played a Frisbee-based game that was essentially soccer except that we didn’t use our feet to pass the Frisbee.  The kids don’t really get the concept of the Frisbee, as no one here seems to own one.  They fling it on a plane perpendicular to the ground rather than parallel to it.  We tried to show them some of the finesse that helps it to fly but they were too obsessed with getting it through the goal to bother with technique.  It was fun anyway. 

At lunchtime we went back to Dona Maria’s house where Louro was cooking, even though she was off at work at the university.  Louro made us three different fresh juices, including pineapple, passion fruit and pineapple lemonade.  There was excellent food there too, of course, but for some reason the juice took over our consciousness this time. 

From Dona Maria’s we headed down to the city center to buy the hammocks that we will need for our next couple of weeks.  That is, we are going to go upriver a bit with the Saude e Alegría folks, spending the next week in a community up there and then taking off on an excursion where we visit several more communities even farther up.  (Strangely, we expect to have better internet connectivity up there than we have here in a more developed area!  Of course, we didn’t expect to have the problems we are having here, so we might be wrong about things up there as well.  Facing and overcoming obstacles is part of what we do, so . . . )

Besides hammocks, some of us bought flipflops and toiletry items, which constituted one of our first times to go into stores with our own cash and figure out how to assess the cost of things and buy them.  Brazil’s currency is called the real (hay-AL) with the plural form reais (hay-ICE), so we are struggling with pronunciation as well as conversion. 

We gathered back in the church plaza by the river to make our way up to the university called the Federal University of Western Pará, which, due to the way things are spelled and organized grammatically here, has the acronym of UFOPA.  The university let us use their computer lab, which meant that for the first time we all got to sit down and connect (sort of) to the folks back home.  The whole process was a little slow but it still felt kind of nice to check in.  Of course, it felt nice to walk away from the computers and know that we had some distance from our technological lives again. 

Tonight was a big laundry night, as we are doing our own hand washing.  Partially because of the humidity here but mostly because we don’t wring things out very well, our clothes take forever to dry.  So, if we want to take things on the boat trip on Wednesday, we need to wash them and get them on the lines tonight.  We also gathered up pictures to capture our experience in Brazil so far.  Everyone gathered in the dining room, turned on some music and took care of whatever jobs we needed to do. 

We head back to Alter do Chão tomorrow to pick up the job that we had intended to do for our friend Fabiano on Saturday.  We’re not quite sure what the job is, but we look forward to it – and to telling you all about it!

Shopping for hammocks on Tuesday afternoon at the market place in front of the church in town.

 After a hard day of work we spent time at the sand bar beach in Alter do Chão.

 We got to work in a community garden that has served as a sustainable model for a 
community located outside the town of Alter do Chão.
 Megan Verrips and Ana Ahnen carrying wood for the fence posts that
was being build at the community garden.

1 comment:

  1. So happy to finally see the videos! Both the fish market and federal forest. Will you be going back there or working on similar projects in different locations?

    Also is Dennis in the Amazon with you or is he just avoiding my texts?

    Have fun and be safe!