When I was in Brazil, I visited Paulina’s church. She introduced me to her girlfriends, taught me a lot of songs in Portuguese and then we hopped in a taxi and went to her favorite acai shop, Primos Acai. It was my first time trying acai and its pretty good! Actually, it is better than ice cream.
On the way to the shop, Paulina kept mentioning how good it was and I just nodded my head. I had nooo idea what she was talking about. A food that’s not yogurt but kinda is….what is that?
Finally I arrived at the little cozy- hole in the wall- shop.
The people there were so friendly. When they found out I was from the Bronx, the cashier called the owner- this is at 10pm- and he showed up with his friends just to welcome me to Brazil!! (Eu senti tango amor!)
The shop was started by the two young men (pictured above), Maurico and Fabricio, in June of 2017. As the name of the business suggest, Primos Acai, they are also cousins.
May I mention that they both are also very brilliant. Fabricio is an architect and Mauricio is a doctor. However, despite their busy schedules, they held on to a dream to start a business together and made it a reality.
What I really enjoy the most about the shop is the location, it sits in the ‘hood’! This wasn’t no uppity neighborhood, everything was chill. Loud music from the boom box, kids playing in the street. It was like home away from home.
While I was there, I met the preacher from the church nearby and his church goers. Service had ended for them and they were walking home. Someone had mentioned to him that I was visiting from NY and he stopped to talk to me… And the young people hanging out were so kind to try their English out with me.
Going there reminding me of how we hang out at the pizza or Chinese shops. Imagine the ‘hood with a dope Acai shop in the middle of it?!
The Bronx is waiting for its Maurico’s and Fabricio’s to rise up and work on their dreams along with their careers.
Thank You to Milena and Paulina for helping me remember my time there….I finally had time to write this Post.
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.
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.
Art by Brazilian artist, Kobra