More recent posts about Brazil

Articles from Brazil

  1. Brazil Apodi, Rio Gande do Norte

    May 1976

  2. Brazil Market Day

    Each Saturday, before dawn, overloaded trucks roared past our house, sending billows of dust through the shutters that covered our glassless windows. Each truck was loaded with goods to be sold at the weekly market and with paying passengers, either those arriving to sell their wares or to buy goods for that week. In the afternoon, the trucks would carry vendors back home with anything they hadn't sold, plus their own purchases. Buyers would be loaded down with bags of beans and rice and othe...

  3. Brazil Market Day Pottery

    A vendor had covered her designated area with a tarp to display her hand-made pottery which had many uses ---from scooping water from a pond to holding eggs or fruit. Although not pictured here, she also sold four-foot high ceramic jugs ----the kind used to store water in nearly every home in town that didn’t have a cisterna in the back yard to collect rain water.

  4. Brazil Market Day Vegetables

    Each Saturday, vendors set up shabby wooden booths with canvas canopies to shelter themselves and their vegetables from sun or rain. Buyers chose the best of the onions, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and yams. The seller weighed them on his balance scale using brass weights and placed purchases in baskets, rope bags, or pails the buyers took with them to the market. 

  5. Brazil Hand Washing

    When I first arrived in Glória, the girl on the left would come to our house once a week to carry our clothes to her mother who would wash them in the dam outside of town (cleaner than ponds that were closer.) We insisted she iron everything, even underwear, more to kill micróbios than to make them look crisp. When I moved to a house that had a cisterna to collect rain water, I invited her to work in my back yard with water even cleaner than the dam and she would not have far to walk carrying...

  6. Brazil A School in Construction

    This is a picture of a school in construction near one of the villages in my area.

  7. Brazil A Completed School

    This school was built by the School to School program sponsored by USAID.  Students in the U.S. woulc raise up to $1.000 to build a school in an underdeveloped country.  The locals were obligated to provide 60% of the cost including materials and labor.  My job was to facilitate the construction, take pictures and send reports back to the students in the U. S. and to USAID.

  8. Brazil Fest de Sao João

    Saints' feast days are always celebrated with a big parade in the village.  This is the feast day of St. John in Jaciguá.

  9. Brazil The National Sport

    Soccer is the national sport in Brazil.  All the smallest villages have a soccer field that is used every weekend.

  10. Brazil Building her School

    This little girl was intrigued by the mold used to make the bricks for her new school.

  11. Brazil Young Mother

    This young mother was proud to show off her young children and sit for a portrait.

  12. Brazil The Road to Heaven

    In Brazil, I was stationed in Glória, "heaven" in Portuguese. This scene was my very first view of the small city in the distance on the horizon, when the Peace Corps director for the state of Sergipe delivered me, my suitcase, and my footlocker to the town in the Peace Corps jeep.           The countryside was a lush green indicating recent rain. On the dirt road to Glória, we had negotiated many large puddles that hadn't dried yet from the hot tropical sun ten degrees south of the...

  13. Brazil Overland

      My student Overland (pronounced Oh-ver-láwn-dee) was named for the text his father saw on a truck in an American movie. Overland often rode his horse to the family farm in the countryside to fetch fresh milk for his family. Occasionally, he stopped at the home Brunie (another PCV) and I shared. We boiled the milk and added cocoa powder and sugar, then we lingered over Overland's favorite beverage, hot chocolate. Since our only transportation (except for buses to other cities) was our feet, ...

  14. Brazil Glória 1967 and 1969

      The Praça da Bandeira in the middle of Glória changed significantly over the two years I served there.   In the first photo, less than a month after my arrival, students marched in the 7 de Setembro (Independence Day) parade.  The concrete poles (you can see the ends of them stacked in the town square) were there in anticipation of full-time electricity that would be powered up before I left Brazil.   In the second photo, taken just a few days before my departure, my student Idalecinho sits...

  15. Brazil Quadrilha

    For São João (St John's Day) in June, the high school students and other young people performed a quadrilha (square dance) for the citizen's of Glória.  It was a fun event. Everyone dressed up like a Brazilian hillbilly. We took weeks to prepare and practice the moves.   São João was celebrated as the beginning of winter ---the rainy growing season.   My students ranged in age from 12 to 44. The high school had been in existence only 3 years when I arrived. The small girl wearing red tights w...

  16. Brazil Saving Water

    In the sertão ---the hinterland of northeastern Brazil ---there were years when it didn't rain at all. And even if it did, there was no running water, so people either had to carry water from a nearby dam or pay someone to do that or they might build a cisterna in the back yard to save rain water.  The ceramic-tile roofs were perfect for gathering water, for the rain ran to edge of the roof where it dropped into metal gutters that eventually carried the water to the cisterna which might be 12...

  17. Brazil Fruit and Nuts

    The cajú is an edible fruit which also yields one cashew nut per fruit. The nuts need to be roasted and shelled before they can be eaten. Aracajú, the capital of Sergipe, is named for the ara bird and the cajú.

  1. Brazil On the Skids

            On a Monday afternoon after Brunie and I had spent a weekend in the capital city, we caught a two o’clock bus back to Glória, a trip of 126 kilometers, close to 80 miles. At home, that might have been a 90 minute ride, but in Brazil’s interior, frequent stops on the unpaved road stretched the trip to at least four hours.         Brunie had been in Glória a full year before I arrived. I had been there only four months.         Brunie had explained that many people from the interior, u...

  2. Brazil The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Cowboys in Glória

      Cowboys: Every Friday, late in the afternoon, local cowboys sauntered into town on their horses, driving a small herd of cattle in front of them. In Brazil, the cowboys were vaqueiros, but in Glória, they were usually called gauchos.   The gauchos who drove their cattle past our house on a dusty dirt road wore leather chaps and leather jackets. They often had holsters with guns strapped to their thighs and dangerous-looking knifes in leather sheaths on their belts. Their leather gaucho hat...

  3. Brazil Losing It in Brazil

    When I was in Brazil, there was a joke among Peace Corps Volunteers: Why did male volunteers lose weight? Because they cooked for themselves. Why did female Volunteers gain weight? Because they cooked for themselves. But, against odds, I lost approximately 30 pounds over the two years I lived in Brazil. I have several explanations for this. 1. First, I walked everywhere. I had no car or bike in Glória. In larger cities, I caught a bus only when I had to travel more than a few miles....

  4. Brazil What Price, Wisdom?

          The Peace Corps dentist in Salvador ---a large, modern Brazilian city ---informed me I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled. He gave me the name of a local dental surgeon.   I had nightmarish visions of a dentist, who wasn’t really a dentist ---just like the one at my Peace Corps site in Glória ---pulling my teeth with pliers, without benefit of an anesthetic. I have no idea what his real name was, but in Glória, everyone called him Zé Dentista.   I arrived at the real dentist’s office, ...

  5. Brazil Alegria! Alegria! (Happiness! Happiness!)

              After my Peace Corps service ended in 1969, I wrote to residents of Glória for a while, but many Brazilians took months to respond or didn’t respond at all. Eventually my teaching job, graduate studies, volunteer work, new husband, and hectic lifestyle took over. I lost touch with the wonderful people of Glória.           Once I had access to internet service in the 90’s, I searched for the town of Glória, with no luck. I knew it might take a while for information technology to reac...

  6. Brazil Festa de São João

    In Glória on June 24th, we celebrated the Festa de São João, St. John's Day, celebrating John the Baptist. Like many religious holidays, the celebration had little to do with religion. This festival has been celebrated in Portugal for more than 600 years. It has sacred roots but is also mixed with pagan traditions. In Glória, it was sort of a cross between Sadie Hawkins Day and Trick or Treating. The ginásio (high school) where I taught sponsored a quadrilha, which was similar to square danci...

  7. Brazil A Little "Peace" of Heaven

            Most Americans, used to being connected to the rest of the world twenty-four hours each day via wireless phone, television, and computer, may find it inconceivable for anyone to give up the most basic of creature comforts. Yet there are thousands of Americans willing to sacrifice such conveniences for an experience of a lifetime. Currently, nearly 9000 Peace Corps Volunteers work in 76 countries to teach children, protect the environment, start new businesses, and provide health servi...

  8. Brazil Powerless

    "Technology gives us power, but it doesn't make us happy." ---one of my husband's insightful observations.   When I lived in the small interior town of Glória during my Peace Corps service, a generator, known simply as “a máquina” (the machine) provided electricity in my section of the sertão (the Brazilian hinterland.) Zé (short for José) ran the máquina. He was of the same political party as the mayor, perhaps a relative. I understand that for several years before I arrived, while...

  9. Brazil Ralfie & I

    RALFIE & I   We had little in common and never become close, Ralfie and I, but we both set down roots that grew and remained in a place very foreign and strange to us both.  Of a generally serious and aloof demeanor, tall, string bean thin, very fair skinned and with light blond hair, we contrasted physically.  I was as tall, lean and with dark hair and a skin that tanned easily.  I was from the white suburbs of Northern California and he from the white suburbs of Florida.  Southern white...

  10. Brazil An American By Any Other Name

    Note: some of the names in this story have been changed, not to protect the innocent, but because my memory has failed me. ------------------------       At the festa, I studied my neighbors swaying to the rhythm of the Brazilian beat. I heard the music, but I didn’t internalize the samba the way the Brazilians did as they moved fervently around the dance floor. I had been in Brazil only a few weeks. My Portuguese was still flawed and I could comprehend only those who slowed their speech to...

  11. Brazil Toad Soup

    When I arrived in Glória (my Peace Corps site) Brunie had already been there a year. Kindly, she let me share her small house. We soon developed a routine of shopping at the weekly market and performing other household chores. I hated to clean and Brunie was bored with cooking, so Brunie did most of the cleaning while I usually prepared meals, although Brunie cooked occasionally.          When she first told me she was going to make ox tail soup, I was doubtful that I would like it, but it wa...

  12. Brazil Flamed

    When I arrived at my Peace Corps site and discovered I would be living without electricity or running water, it seemed like my life there would be much like a two-year-long camping trip. I had been a Girl Scout. I was prepared ---or so I thought. I admit that it was fun for a while, using my Girl Scout skills and learning new ones to get along in the harsh environment, but after a while, I missed many of the conveniences of home. On one occasion, forgetting that things didn’t work in Glória t...

  13. Brazil Precious Rain

    When I served in the Peace Corps in Brazil, I had no running water. The other PCV and I had to pay a neighbor to fetch water from a dam outside of town. Once a week, he strapped four large cans (each held about five gallons) to the sides of his donkey to carry water to us. There were water sources closer to town, but since those small ponds were used by many for washing clothes and watering animals, and we suspected the waste from the back yards of homes without outhouses ended up there, too,...



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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.