Oh, hey again! Tudo bem? This blog is sort of a mash-up of some of my most memorable moments throughout weeks 2 and 3 in Brazil. Namely, our incredible trip to Ubatuba and visits with different indigenous communities. Like I said in my first blog, stick with me – I’m a novice blogger :)).
We kick started our second week in Brazil with a stunninggg bus ride from São Paulo to Ubatuba. We drove through windy mountain ranges, tropical rainforest, and past gorgeous ocean views before arriving at Pousada Tribo (our hostel). Over the next four days I soaked up as much of the Atlantic Ocean as I could. This meant early morning, mid-afternoon and midnight swims (almost) every. single. day. It was difficult not to when were surrounded by such beautiful moana. Now I grew up all around the Pacific Islands and in Aotearoa – safe to say my threshold for a gorgeous beach is extremely high. So trusttt me when I say that Sanunga beach in Ubatuba is hands down one of the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen.
To be very honest, our very first-time swimming in Ubatuba nearly sent us all to the hospital. The waves mercilessly destroyed us and hurdled most of our group straight back to the shore. I’d like to the think that’s just the Brazilian moana’s way of saying welcome. The massive waves and extremely strong currents momentarily transported me back to being 7 years old, growing up across the Pacific, facing what felt like giant 100 foot waves every Weekend, and simultaneously learning how to love and respect my own moana. Thankfully for all of us, the next few days in Ubatuba were filled with warm, inviting, and calm ocean swims.
We spent the following week visiting a few different indigenous communities. This was easily the highlight of my trip. Our first visit was to the Boa Vista indigenous community, where approximately 40 families continue to live today. After a very bumpy bus ride into the mountains near Ubatuba, we trekked for 30 minutes through the Atlantic rainforest (which, fun fact, is actually older than the Amazon!) and past beautiful, freshwater rivers before eventually reaching the community. There, we exchanged cultural songs and stories, immersed ourselves in an indigenous Brazilian whare for the first time, received a few traditional temporary tattoos, and fawned over the cutest, chubbiest babies EVER. We were all incredibly privileged to get the chance to whakawhanaungatanga with other indigenous people half-way across the globe. Throughout our visits, I was struck by how similar our indigenous communities in Aotearoa and the Pacific are to those in Brazil. There were so many traditional bags, clothing items and artefacts that I swear could have been pulled out of my province in Papua New Guinea. Talk about cross cultural connection! We all learned so much from all of the indigenous communities that we met with. I could honestly write an essay just on each visit. But in the interest of word count, here are just a few things that stuck with me which will have to suffice:
“Everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous alike should think of the future we want and what we are building for ourselves. We all share one planet, and it is all of our responsibilities to protect the earth so that we all might have a future.”
- Shared by an indigenous leader at the Kalipety indigenous community.
“Prejudice comes from disinformation and ignorance. This is why education is so important… the sharing of knowledge and indigenous ways of knowing aids in diminishing prejudice.”
- Shared by an indigenous community leader at Tekoa Yvy Porã – Jaraguá.
I feel immensely humbled, privileged, and blessed to say that I learned from so many passionate leaders and indigenous communities in Brazil. These are lessons that I will carry back with me to Aotearoa and know I will hold onto for life.
Until next week,