at the Afro-Brazil Museum

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I had many reasons for traveling to Brazil at this time. One reason was to be around like minded people who didn’t mind speaking of slavery and the atrocities that came with it. I knew taking a trip to Brazil would teach and tell.

I spent one day in Sao Paulo with a friend of a friend, Ana Paula.

We stopped at many places but the best by far was the Afro-Brasil Museum or Museu Afro Brasil, as it is called.

The entire museum is dedicated to the existence of African people in Brazil. On the first floor, there is a panel of  different newspaper articles about hate crimes Afro-Brazilians faced.

There is a floor that showcase popular Brazilian artist. I saw Brazilians  who looked like Sammy Davis, Jr. and one actress looked like Marian Anderson another one who looked like James Baldwin, and when learning more about the Orishas, I saw someone who looked just like my Grandma.

I realize while I was there I was searching for my history on a different land. And, even though the African American people are like no other- I found us there too. I found our stories and pain, and could relate so much. I am not sure why it was meaningful to me to see myself, but it was.

Each floor was a deeper level of truth. When we first walked in, Ana Paula had to translate but once we got to the second flood, I knew what the images stood for. I understood without a tour guide that they were speaking about the power of white influence.

There was a moment I put my camera down. It was when I walked into a room that spoke about slavery. There was a huge ship and sounds of water and mourning was being played repeatedly over the speaker. Not too many people were in this part and everyone who was there, was totally silent. There was a replica of Jesus on the Cross. The artist painted his body black.

By the time, we walked through the entire museum, I was ready to go back home.

We took the Taxi back to the airport and Ana Paula spoke about every thing we passed but I was in a different world.

 

We Speak Social Project

I joined Dr. Anderson and her students on a trip to Calabar, Brazil. We visited a community center that teaches children and adults how to speak English.

Before we left the U.S., Dr. Anderson collected books and magazines (with black characters). With the help from close friends and parents, I was able to donate many books and magazines.

The students in Brazil were very grateful for the material.

The young man, Vinicius, (who is photographed above) who started the program was very humble and giving. He shared with us his inspiring story on how he started the program. ‘I did not have a lot when I started, he stated, I only had a notebook and a pen. But I kept going until it begin to grow.’ It was encouraging to see how dedicated he was to helping others in in community. “I started this center when I was 16 years old. I wanted to teach others how to speak English because here, if you know English, you can go far. I had a scholarship to learn English and it changed my life and I wanted the same of others”.

After a meet and greet with Vinicius and his co-workers, we got to meet some of the students. Vinicius had us stand in two circles. Standing on the inside was Dr. Anderson and her students and on the outside was Vinicius and his students. Every time he said, ‘switch!’ we spoke to a new person. I learned words in Portuguese so fast. All of us kept laughing  and talking.

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My trip to Salvador, Bahia

During the summer of 2019 I visited the country of Brazil. I stayed in Salvador, Bahia at a small hotel across from the fisherman’s beach.  Every night the sounds of the water rocked me to sleep and in the morning was there to greet me.

It’s A beach town someone told me.

Oh, that’s the place in Brazil many Blacks live, another person said.

Descendants of slaves, some like to say.

My first day there Kayanara met me at Guarulhos airport. We took a taxi to Bahia. After I freshened up, Kayanara took me to Teatro Miguel Santana.

She showed me the stone church built in the 17th Century for and by the Blacks. In the same area is where Michael Jackson performed “All  I wanna say is they don’t really care about us” which is now a tourist attraction. That’s where I spent my money on a tee for Daniel and Ashley.