tia rita, camille and pedro's mom, is all pissed off at me for something i said, i think it didn't translate well... "you're worse than your kids!" when she came in yelling my name and i had just gotten zaya to sleep after several attempts, so i was annoyed at the abrasive interruption, and now suffer from my knee-jerk annoyed reaction. But the bigger issue is that naturally, our loved ones here, will start putting a distance between us and them, mostly unconsciously, but it will happen.
other tid-bits... so upset about this stupid walmart-owned local grocery store they are building up the hill. they took down so much natural vegetation. i stare down at the houses that are all squished together below where they are building, and fret with the daily down pore, they are going to get washed out. this guy came to visit our house and commented that he didn't know what keeps more landslides from happening... he thinks it's 50% concrete walls, and 50% intense praying to god. when the rains started this season i happen to be listening to a radio show and the host started talking about rainy season, and the fear it causes so many people to live with, how people will lose sleep, that they should all start praying, that each rain that comes, and passes, we should be grateful if the land doesn't take the houses down. lots of fear. it was a year ago today that the rains took out the land below our house.
we have been busy organizing a graffiti event in our neighborhood for this sunday (now it's a week later, i'm getting ready to post this, takes me forever to finish writing!). it's something eder and i had wanted to do before we leave, to renovate the big wall that artists had painted 4 years ago on one of our trips to brazil... it's a huge long wall, and badly in need of repair. so, that's what we're doing, inviting over 20 graffiti artists to come and do a piece. the central theme is "LOVE." The event almost didn't happen, because we couldn't get funding to buy the base paint from anyone! (our Rochester fundraiser was originally going to go towards this, but we have decided to use that money for the first round of publishing our book instead). So we tried to get money from various sources, nothing. just when i was about to pay for it out of the little i have left in savings, I went to the bus depot that the wall surrounds, and was able to get "in" the door to get to the right people and they enthusiastically gave 100% support - paying for the base paint, the rollers, and the food for the artists! Now, it seems obvious that they should, least they can do when they have these huge walls protecting their property and leaving the neighborhood looking ugly and isolated. However, 3 years ago, Marcelo and Eder persisted and persisted trying to get their support for the event, to pay just for base paint (not even the spray) and were given a "NO" after several attempts. this year, the same thing, Marcelo and Eder spending hours on 2 different days waiting to talk to someone who might approve it, and nothing. Then I show up, less than a week before the planned event, and I get through the door, I get to the guy who actually reads the proposal and brings it to the VP and she invites me "upstairs" and there I go, and she is all excited to support the event, "what do we need? only that much food? no, you should have more, " etc.. etc.. so, there it is! we have an event! and wow, does white, northamerican gringa privilege work wonders in these cases? i'll attach a before and after photo for your enjoyment. and here's a video some folks made with a whole bunch of photos of the event...
ok, and, as promised, here's a little list:
things that I do (re: zaya) that they think is crazy:
- feed her food from the day before (i.e., anything leftover)
- breastfeeding past age 1
- spin her around or lift her up and all around
things they do that i think is crazy:
- putting fragile things within her reach and insisting that she just has to learn "no" (what ends up happening is that i hear the word "no" over and over and over and over again whenever she is downstairs. it drives me nuts! i have to just rest assured that the good outweighs the bad. )
(i'll have to make this a list in progress. i'm drawing a blank for the other things that i had wanted to put down.)
walking to the store today, in a matter of 2 minutes I saw two dads sitting with their babies all cuddled up in their arms, just chillin. it was really beautiful. I think men here have so much more freedom to show their love to babies, children. In the streets, in stores, everywhere, there are men getting all googooey and gagaey with zaya. it's adorable.
yesterday (of course, as always, this blog is being written over several days) we organized an extremely successful graffiti event (pix at bottom). It was quite a day, filled with excitement and challenges. in the end, a beautiful wall was created by over 20 of Salvador's most talented artists. I think that it speaks to Eder's investment and dedication revitalizing the graffiti scene here, that so many of them came out to one event, and put so much time, energy and their own resources into painting the wall. The center of Salvador, filled with tourists and the wealthy, have nothing like it. And you could see the pride, happiness, and gratitude of the local residents as it was being done. People honking and thumbs flying up all over the place.
i've been filming a lot of zaya, this age (turns one in 3 days) is so much fun!!! she does something new and different every day. today and yesterday she started to "wipe her hands" clean, but really, she doesn't wipe them together, she wipes them on her tummy! she's been blowing kisses, but kisses the back of her hand and blows it out. And she calls everyone with the brazilian way of calling a dog, rubbing your thumb over your four fingers hand stretched outwards. she is saying "ma-ma-ma ma" and "da-da-da da"... her first words. in my attempt to capture every waking moment on video here, i have tons. so here's a couple I uploaded to Youtube:video of zaya and here's another one
that's it for this blog. going to post.