Humanos Do Brasil
Humanos Do Brasil
(Humans of Brazil in Portuguese)
Today, I had the opportunity to speak with a woman named, Gorete, age 44, who is a member of one of the six Quilombolas communities in Garanhuns, Brazil. Quilombolas are descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from slave plantations that existed in Brazil until the late 1800s.
Most of the Quilombolas remained hidden deep in the jungles, and dropped farming at the risk of being discovered, but continued their agricultural forest practice. The Quilombolas adopted a lifestyle that was a cross of Portuguese and Indian culture, as well as their traditional African culture, to make a colourful cultural blend.
Until the 1970s, the Quilombolas were assumed extinct. Very few people believed that Quilombolas still existed, so their land was continuously taken. Throughout the second half of the early 2000s, hundreds of Quilombola communities in Brazil began the legal process for official recognition.
Gorete spoke about her life and provided insight regarding specifics within her Quilombola community:
“There are around 100 people that live in my community. Most of the people work in agriculture, and have anywhere from 2-12 children. When my husband was building our house, he found handcuffs that were used during the slave time; which is considered proof that we are really Quilombolas. In our home, there is electricity that the government put there to help. But the problem is water-- someone brings a large container, but everyone has to go to one location with a jug to retrieve this water by walking, a horse, or motorcycle. It's close for me, but for others, it is around 5 kilometers (3 miles). We need a lot of health assistance, but we live about 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the city, and the road is difficult, because it is not asphalt.”
I also talked with Gorete about her passions and how eyeglasses will improve her day-to-day life. Gorete smiled and responded:
“One of the most important things to me is the school that is in our community, because the children can go there to learn agriculture, and for many cultural reasons specific to us. Other people in my community have come to the FAV/OneSight clinic to receive eyeglasses. For most of us, it is the only opportunity that we have.”
Later in the day, we also met a few Indians who live in Garanhuns, Brazil, that arrived together to receive eyeglasses. The diversity that we have seen thus far is extremely beautiful-- which brought me to a touching statement that I overheard our fellow clinic member, Manuela Busnelli, make:
“We are all different, but we are all the same.”