Monday, January 12, 2015

Day Six: SMC DIRT Digs Dirt!

Day Six, Monday, January 12: SMC DIRT Digs Dirt!

Hopefully you are reading this entry soon after 3:00pm Brazil time, as Shawny and Jesse are riding motorcycles out to the other side of the peninsula in search of a cellular signal that will allow them to post it.  We have no reception in the village where we are so we are going to seek a signal where one is sometimes available about twenty minutes away.  If we succeed (and even if we don’t), we will continue to try to find a way to post.  Sorry for the delays. 


The night was entertaining, with some new animal noises, including howler monkeys, the sound of which is impossible to describe.  Some strange birds added to the exotic sound of the night but so far we haven’t experienced actual fear of any of these neighbors. 

Monday morning brought a rainy wakeup but we decided to head down to the tree nursery anyway to get some of the work done there.  We had three main jobs: 1) clear a new spot at the back edge of the garden to claim more “black dirt” for more seedlings, 2) fill a new garden box with soil to plant more produce and 3) fill as many small black plastic bags as possible to plant new seeds.  We walked the trail in the rain but found that the rain let up right when we needed to get to work. 

We used hand tools for everything and some of those hand tools were homemade, like funnels and scoops made from the remains of 2-liter bottles.  Digging in the dirt is perfect for us, as we call ourselves the DIRT people.  When we use that term, it means one of two things: Deep Immersion Relief Team or the verb-based variation of the same idea – Dismantle, Immerse, Reflect, Transform. 

Anyway, dirt was the order of the day and we all got covered in it.  We loved it. 


Okay, now we know (or at least think) that the emails with our blog texts have sent.  Finding a way to get our blog out changes everything!  We are already getting greedy and hoping that we can backfill photos and videos for each day.  We hope so!

Each day we expect to have a job in the morning that involves manual labor and then more work in the afternoon that is conceptual/intellectual in trying to convey the history and beauty of Anã to the outside world.  So for our afternoon job today, we worked on some English to Portuguese (and back) translation work related to commonly used phrases that will benefit future tourists here as well as the staff at the guesthouse (technically called an “oca” but up to now called a hammock hut here).  

As our starter group on English language instruction, some local teenage girls who are eager to learn English joined us at our camp to practice.  It turned out that each of them had an extensive notebook of English language tips that had been picked up in various places over the course of time.  We set up conversation stations and got different ones of us to rotate through them as our visitors rotated through to learn all of the phrases and dialogues.  Our star pupil was our dear friend and soccer teammate Monica, who works here at the pousada.  The girls picked up a lot of conversational phrases pretty quickly and also shared in our snack time (where they learned that gummy worms are disgusting).  They then challenged us to a beach volleyball game that is unfolding on the riverfront right now.  After that there will no doubt be an evening swim for most of us and then we will get back to the media work that is the crux of our responsibilities here. 

We are sure that we will enjoy our dinner this evening, as the general consensus on lunches is that they have gotten better and better every day (even though the first one was already excellent).  We haven’t had any problems with the food so far and we are even doing a good job of keeping things clean in the oca.  Our spirits are high, we are a happy/unified group and we are inspired by the people and culture of our Amazon home.  We miss our friends and families back home, of course, but we are happy and healthy here, already fearing that the time is passing much too fast.  We imagine that some of us will return.  We wonder how soon . . .

Daily Photos

One of the village members we encountered on a daily basis.  I dare you to grab the apple! (photo enhanced)

Dusk on the Arapiuns River in Anã.

An enormous spider creeping towards a student’s hammock.  This kind doesn’t bite and has no venom but we still didn't want to share our hammocks with them.

The terrain in Anã is lush and overwhelming with beauty.

Students and villagers enjoy a competitive game of beach volleyball alongside the river after a day of work.


  1. Esta e a escrita de Connor pai. Estou feliz em saber que todos voces chegaram com seguranca. Estou ansioso para ver sues videos. Espero que voces possam transmit-los em breve. Sejam seguros.

  2. Love reading about the adventures of the 2015 DIRT group! Special hello to Shawny, Jesse, Jenny, and Mackenzie :)

    Keep up the good work everyone!

  3. Thanks for all the updates. Praying for safety and health for all the team, especially Brittany. Love Mom.

  4. My kids are wondering if you ate all the gummy worms. They and I send our love.