Eu sou estrangeira

A blog post that my friends and family back home have all been anticipating. I have been excited to share about the amazing kaupapa I’ve been immersed in during my first week here in Brazil. Forever captivated by Brazil’s street art and graffiti, architecture, vibrant people, and rich culture. Creativity is a means of survival and a form of resistance which is apparent through Brazil’s art, food, and movement. As Talita said, “In Brazil, you have to be creative”.

There is no one way to describe a multicultural and diverse nation like Brazil. Forget what you heard or saw on social media; I wish you could see the beauty of Pindorama that I’m seeing right now. Pindorama is the native name for Brazil given by the indigenous people

My self-discovery journey had brought me to Brazil to meet the Guarani. I held back tears on the way to Tekoa Jaexaa Porã. I had envisioned this moment before. Although the heat and altitude made me feel lightheaded and dehydrated, I drew strength from my ancestors and persisted into the rainforest. We entered the Opy (meeting house) and were welcomed by a group of Guarani youth who sang for us. To me, that was assurance that the Guarani community was thriving here; I welled up in tears. I was humbled to receive Guarani traditional markings on my face. 

My lack of Portuguese left me feeling a little frustrated and incapable of creating a conversation with the Guarani women and youth. That feeling immediately went away with all the hugs and giggles from the children.

As a Papuan New Guinean-Tongan woman, I acknowledge my privilege as a foreigner on this sacred ancestral land I am visiting. I acknowledge the ongoing fight for land and human rights of the indigenous people for over 500 years. I recognize that this nation was built upon enslaved Africans and how the oppression and injustice towards indigenous and black people are very much alive to this day.

I would like to extend my gratitude and pay my respects to the indigenous peoples of Pindorama, past, present, and emerging. I am honored to have shared space with the Guarani people, who are indigenous to Saó Paulo. Listening to their stories and ancestral knowledge and placing my feet in the soil has nourished my wairua

Aguyjevete (gratitude in Guarani)

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