Her Juggling Feet

everybody's a nobody. and nobody's perfect.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A month of movement

Finally, an opportunity to reflect! This past month has been brimming and I want to bring back the most salient and transformative pieces of it.

We are currently in staying in a farm school/agroecology center that is simplistic in its beauty, and powerful in its activist spirit. The farm school is part of the Landless Worker´s Movement, one of the largest social movements in the world, I believe. It focuses its efforts in equitable land redistribution in Brasil, from rich land owners owning vast parcels of agricultural land that grows crops for export, to re-allocating it to the people who actually steward it and grow food to feed themselves. I´m still learning more about it. I hear that there is a documentary on Chico Mendes, a Brasilian activist that was murdered as a result of his political and social efforts, who is now a symbol of the working farmer, social justice, and the earth. There is a simple placard of wood carved with his name, his birth, and his death, that sticks crookedly out of the ground beside one of the school buildings.

All around us are fields of sugar cane, corn, yuca, and papaya trees. The soil is a rich red, more clay than sand. Early this morning I explored one of the smaller gardens that is cared for by the school participants, mostly youth in their teens. Long raised beds of lettuce, arugula, carrots, beets, brassicas, and onions, with an entire section of tall trellises of passionfruit, the unripe fruit dangling like green globes. I am in love with this place and the tranquility that I am finding amidst the plants and trees and vegetables growing. I am still patiently waiting for the time when I can finally stay in one place long enough to grow my own food...but until that happens, I am content to appreciate the efforts of others, and pitch in when I have the chance. My hands tingle to be in the soil!

We are here for just one more day, after giving workshops in theatre, permaculture, music, and holistic health. Tonight we will perform a short theatre piece, and I imagine that there will be dancing and song afterwards. This part is inevitable.

I´m going to rewind a bit and return to Sao Paulo, a few weeks ago. We left in a flurry, after days of hearing that our buses were fixed, not fixed, fixed, not fixed, and finally...fixed. I was so ready to go, I nearly cried. Inner city slum life for extended periods of time, with next to no green space, was getting to me. Though I made use of my time, spending hours in the kitchen making sushi, reading my Spanish and Portuguese workbooks, and connecting more with the community, both Caravaneros and with locals.

We left for Foz do Iguassu, a city that rests on the border of Paraguay and Argentina, and shares the home of the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever seen. The journey took us two full days of travel, with occasional stops at the mechanics (I am accepting that this is part of every journey), a night spent sleeping on the concrete floor of a Point of Living Culture center, and meals of brown rice, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs. Traveling with La Caravana is unorganized and arduous and bumpy, yet there is music, song, and beautiful countryside to witness.

We arrived in Foz at 5 am, at this lovely chalet in the countryside that had been reserved for our use while we were working at their community centers. Orange, mandarin, papaya, and avocado trees, and can you believe it, a small pool. Such luxury. I was 98% happy camper as I set up my tent beneath a papaya tree, but 2% crabby (or maybe it was the other way around) as I was exhausted from no sleep and could only nap for a few hours because our circus arts workshops were to start at 9am sharp.

Shoot. I will have to wait for another opportunity to continue, as my ride back to the farm school is leaving in about two minutes. Bueno. Lots of love, lots of sunshine, and deep breaths to you all! Stay tuned...


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