Oh, where do I start? Being away for nearly a month in Brazil is huge – and I don’t know where to begin. I think I’ll write it in segments – segments of juicy Brazilian fruits that are so exotic I have never seen or heard of them before. For example small wooden coconut-looking gourds, when cracked open, reveal hidden white fleshy lychee-like pearls of deliciousness. See I am rambling off and I haven’t even started. Ok, so here goes – the first segment.
Brazil – and Brazilian Stamina
I’m known for having golden moments fuelled energy – but I’m only a shadow of real energy, a will-o-the-wisp wimpy kid next to the beautiful beat of Brazilian energy. They all work so hard, up early in the morning (at the school I was working in I was picked up at 7.10am every morning, and the first work meeting was at 8am and on we went, meetings, debriefs, circles, sometimes until 5pm – and they were being extra kind to me – they worked longer!). But more than that, afterwards they were up for anything. After work off many Brazilians go to a samba bar – wow I love these – a ‘loving every minute of it’ samba band, chips and salted cod pasties, caiprininhas … and everyone dances. At all times of day. And men love dancing – it is second nature to them, and the men and women partner each other with a hand gently in the small of the back, nifty little steps, sexy little wiggles, and so much fun … My dumpy little ‘in the corner let it all hang out free dance’ looks a pale puppet show of how real dance should be – but hey I’m happy … and once, once, two years ago I mastered the five step samba shuffle. I should never have stopped. I should have soft shoed shimmied through the rest of my life, cos it left my body and never came back!
Two years ago, for a few seconds, I got the beat!
After my work in Sao Paolo I went to Paraty (the most beautiful place on earth?) And the Easter Festival was on. On top of working all day and night, the whole of the small town enjoys a rigorous living and breathing robust catholic faith, everyone gets the evening services ready – hoards of children dressed as angels with huge white wings, big burly man bands, strong singing, dramatic tableaux, the elderly helped and hugged, baby rocked and rubbed, young lovers holding hands with their heads on each others shoulders and on, on round the whole town in huge long candle lit, incense-clouded processions – everyone together, concentrating, praying and singing.
Nearly midnight, still going. Eventually after the service finishes the young go and sit and chat by the harbour till sunrise. The elders go home to cook huge meals. And all on again tomorrow – four days and nights in a row, four days and evenings of processions, up till past midnight, more bands, more beautiful young and old men with guitars, mandolins and drums. HOW DO THEY DO IT? Could it possibly be the staple diet ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ beans? The sun’s rays? A culture of no moaning and no judgment? Who knows – but I am in awe … and in love with the Brazilian stoicism and strength – and I would love to learn from them.
Web Manager’s Note
Jenny wrote this whilst on a conference trip for South American schools to Brazil. Jenny first visited St. Paul’s School in Sao Paulo. Jenny participated in the school’s first ever education conference entitled “Educating to keep Pace with Change”. Jenny was amongst other key international speakers including Carol Ann Tomlinson, Dylan Williams, Mark Church and Margaret MacLean. Jenny went on to train in several schools in Brazil. This blog is one five juicy segments of Jenny’s Brazilian blog.
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