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  • Writer's pictureJamal Gerald

Sinto tanta falta do Brasil!

Olá.


I have been feeling low. Why? Because I’m no longer in Brazil. I should’ve intentionally missed my flight. But I’m back in the ghetto that is the United Kingdom. I feel like I have been electrocuted by reality. I don’t want to make this blog too long as it’ll make me emotional. However, I wanted to let you all know just a bit more about what else I got up to. I’ll make some things a bit vague, as I am learning that I don’t need to share and over-explain everything. I’m also exhausted and jet-lagged. But I want to respect some people’s privacy. If you haven’t read the first blog about my time in Brazil, I recommend you do that first before reading this. That way this blog can make much more sense to you. I, Gina and Rheima had plenty of adventures.


Here are some more highlights.


A Conversation


So, after some time in São Paulo, we then went to Salvador, Bahia. This is the place where Candomblé started. It has also been described as the most African city outside of Africa.

We ended up having a conversation with a pai-de-santo, which is a male priest of Afro-Brazilian religions Candomblé and Umbanda. After asking around about terreiros (places of worship/houses), and not succeeding since most people were hush-hush. We ended up being introduced to this pai-de-santo through a man who was working at the place where we had our first dinner in Salvador. This pai-de-santo told us more about Candomblé Bantu. And he was so happy that we as young Black people wanted to spend time asking him questions. Silly me, assuming he would be referring to the Yoruba Candomblé version with Orisha. Now, my mind has been opened to a whole new world of Candomblé, which is derived from enslaved Kongo and Mbundu people. This resonates with me as the Jumbie dance of Montserrat is more so Kongo in its origins.


Irmandade da Boa Morte


During dinner in Salvador, I got talking to a handsome man who happens to practice Candomblé. The things that happened in Brazil were honestly like a movie. But like I said before, I can’t tell you everything, haha. This handsome fella told us to go to Cachoeira, Bahia. He said this place would help me with my research. So, we took a 2h 15-minute coach from Salvador to Cachoeira. We spent some time walking around and eventually asked people some questions. This area is much more rural, so it was refreshing to have this experience. We then came across a man who told us about Candomblé, and The Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death.


“The ‘Sisterhood of the Good Death’ are a group of devout women in Brazil that honour the lives of Black people who have passed with an annual celebratory event called Boa Morte.” - Tarisai Ngangura


A Reading


We randomly met a pai-de-santo at Museu Afro Brasil and he ended up doing a reading for each of us. No, I won’t tell you the things he said. But for me, I will say that the reading was on point. I sat in awe the whole time with my eyes widening with each thing that was said. He jumped from speaking in Brazilian Portuguese to Yoruba. I couldn’t understand everything, thank God for Gina. But I could feel everything. And I look forward to listening to the recording and thinking about all the things that were shared. We each were told our Orishas, which was so special to me. As I have been wanting to know mine for some time. I didn’t get the Orisha I was hoping for, but the more reading I do into my head Orisha, I have realised that it makes sense. I am excited to build more of a relationship with him.


Act of Resistance


There is a cultural and political centre in São Paulo called Aparelha Luzia, which was founded by Erica Malunguinho, who is a Black trans woman, a politician and was elected into the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo in 2018. The fact she has set up a space like this is groundbreaking. It’s honestly the most Black queer space I have ever been to. I don’t even have the words to describe how exceptional it is. We went there twice and each time it was top-tier. We also got to meet Erica and made it onto Aparelha Luzia’s Instagram page. Ayyy! Aparelha Luzia is a modern-day quilombo. During slavery in Brazil, a quilombo was a place where maroons (escaped enslaved Africans) would settle. A quilombo was and is an act of resistance.


Cordel Urbano


We met an incredible artist called Nei Vital at Beco do Batman who was selling his art from his van. He told us what informs his work as an artist, his life and growing up Brazilian, as well as giving us insight into historical Black people in Brazil’s history. Revolutionary Black women like Dandara dos Palmares (warrior), Maria Felipa de Olivera (independence fighter) and Marielle Franco (politician). I’m honestly in love with this man. His knowledge moved me to the point where I ended up crying in Rheima's arms. Please check out and support his artwork. He’s so DOPE.


Okay, I think that’s enough as I’m so gutted to be back in the UK. But I’ll forever be grateful for this experience. I guess I just have to start saving up my coins to get back to Brazil ASAP. I’m still looking for a sugar daddy, if anyone wants to support me financially. Message me! I’m being deadly serious, ha!


So, what will I do with my experiences in Brazil? Just have to wait and see.


Someone just please commission me so I can make something amazing!


Obrigado, tchau!


J xx

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