Some people might consider me a bit biased considering it was my 3rd trip in a year to Salvador; but once again the country and its people continue to surprise me in what they had to offer.
After a very long summer in Europe, I took off finally for Ribeira in late September. Thinking about it now, 2 days after my return, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I arrived early enough to attend the last days of the graffiti festival and hang out with a few of the artists that stayed beyond. Who would have thought when I was trying to arrange some meetings for the ICBIE and Salvador Grafita crew during their trip to France and got in touch with the Kosmopolite crew, that only 5 months later such an event will take place? After only 2 months of preparation I was amazed at the diversity of the artists, the good spirit that prevailed, touched by the sacrifice of all the people there to make sure everybody had a place to sleep and was not left out tipping in their own pocket if necessary. As all big events, there were a few little hiccups but as we say in France: “Chapeau” to Julio and Pietro and all the others that made sure all went smoothly, the Jodsons, the Markus, the Lees, the Bigods … as well as Marlene, Lou and Joao attending all the needs and “dodois” of the crew 24h/7. For most, it was one of the best events they had ever participated in. Some new friendships were born, some ties have been strengthened, and new opportunities will definitely rise from here making me say, without hesitation, that it was worth all the hassle and sacrifices.
Very soon after that, there were some sad moments as it was time for Claire to depart. Although I have only met her on her last days there, I can understand how so many tears were shared at her departure and still could hear now and then how she is missed. Her hand-decorated and colorful little pigs scattered around ICBIE are a remembrance of her sweetness, thoughtfulness for everybody.
A few days after, party again. First Jodson’s mother’s birthday party in Massaranduba and then it was time for mine. I was sincerely moved by all the gestures from everybody present that night. What a better way to celebrate than churrasco, caipirinha, champagne, more cakes than you can eat and old friends. Special thanks to Julio, Pietro, Marlene, Lou, Jairo, Mary and Markus…and all the new friends I met for making me feel home more than ever that night.
Soon as the week end arrived, we were all off again this time to the interior part of the region at the invitation of our friend Paranaguá to his country house. What a wonderful time we shared with his family eating on the veranda while listening to Edith Piaf and Mireille Matthieu. What a great scenery discovered while horseriding through the land?
At our return and after this hectic time, things quiet down a little bit at ICBIE although it was bursting more than ever before with students from Monday to Saturday with the languages, IT, graphical design and Hapkido classes. Some of the students were crossing the entire city to attend a class at night because they loved the team and were eager to learn new things. Like it was not enough burdens to Marlene, she volunteered to give me Portuguese class very early in the morning. And even if after endless efforts, I still cannot get an “r” straight, her dedication didn’t diminish, and neither did our enthusiasm. I was, myself, offered to give an initiation class to French after repeated requests from some students. And although, surprisingly, to my question if they had any knowledge in French, “Etes vous célibataire?” (Are you single?) was the first thing that came to mind from sweet Val, we shared some good laughs and neither of us even realized everybody else had left the building.
During this trip I also had a chance to discover the region, either helping out, here and there, sightseeing or visiting friends. All was very lively and festive because of the election campaign and the first days of spring.
How many good memories? Riding back and forth in the Vespa behind Pietro because we didn’t want to take the car… Getting bruised from the long rides on the Onîbus… totally drenched in the little boat going to the islands… sleeping on the kitchen floor of Julio’s friend’s house in construction in Arembepe trying not to think about the cobras, or again trying to help out Julio with the zealous kids during the art class he was offering in the neighboring schools …. Regrets? Nooo … Only one is that AINDO VOLTEI
Beijos a tudos Veronique