Monday, August 2, 2010

Week One: rain, dancing, and volunteering

The rain has been cramping my exploration style, but it has noticeably gotten better this week. Every Saturday night there is live jazz at the Modern Art Museum, right on the bay. I went last Saturday because one of my gringo friends was invited to play. Despite the rain, there were plenty of people and musicians to make the venture worth it.

The next day I went to a dance lesson in the historical center of Salvador, called Pelourinho. The class was of orixá dances, the gods of candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion combining bits of Catholicism and African traditions. Each god, or orixá, has its own dance and during ceremonies members become possessed by the different gods and how they dance indicates what orixá is possessing them. It is much more common in Salvador than Rio.
Candomblé ceremony in Rio that one of my friends participated in so I got to go!

Tuesday night we went back to the Pelourinho to see the popular Bahian singer Gerônimo sing with another gringa from my program who was invited to sing with him. It was a great show and it hardly rained at all!
Gringos at the Gerônimo show
I have been walking and running around my neighborhood and discovered some great stores tucked away! An artisan ice cream shop and Mexican restaurant! I have also gotten in contact with an NGO that works with Brazilian community organizations within Salvador. Check them out at They help struggling groups network, brainstorm, fundraise, and find volunteers. I have gone to a couple of their organizations with the current intern and it looks like a wonderful program! Hopefully I will be able to get more involved as I settle in. I visited a capoeira class for street children and a community library that was hosting a poetry reading. I am going back to the library today, it's in a favela about 5 minutes walking from my house.

Coming to Salvador from Rio shows me just how diverse Brazil is! I'm so glad I took the opportunity to get to know to extremely different parts of the country. So much is different here: food, music, favelas, language, buses, people, universities, etc. I am trying to pick it up quickly and thank goodness I speak Portuguese already!

Normality does not exist.

To Do (for all of you): Read Half the Sky. I finished it in Chile and it was absolutely eye-opening and inspiring.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear some news directly from you. You are far from forgotten and in our hearts and minds all the time. Love you lots and am so glad to hear of all your adventures. Amazing to me. Love, Fran