6. Child’s Play


“You’re like a child” my fourteen year old sister laughs, as I trip over yet another hole in the road, a hole that she easily hops over. I’m walking home from work at the bakery, savoring my first nega maluca my face and hands sticky with chocolate. I don’t respond, quietly relishing last bits of cake. I eat the last morseland look up with a sly smiletowhere she’s jumping over another hole, make a mental note to do the same and say, “well, if you say so” and then run after her with my chocolate-y hands reaching for her face.

She yelps and runs away, “nÌ£oo” but the chocolate streaks on her face showed it was too late. My cackle becomes a squeal when I see her reach for dirt to aim at me.

We run the whole way home and collapse panting and laughing both full of grime and chocolate. A pair of sandals come into my line of sight from the floor and Ilook up from my position on the floor to where my mom is looking down at us and shaking her head, “You guys are worse than Quiara (my 4 year old host sister).”

My sisterlaughs before suddenly sitting upyelling”dibs on showering first!” andsprinting outside to turn on the water.


In a way, I realize I am a child here. For one thing, my four year old sister, Quiara, is more understood than I am at times. Daily, I learn something new, things that I thought I had down since I was a child, things that I never needed to know back in the states, things about myself I never would have learned.

A few lessons I learned during my stay:

How to walk on a dirt road in sandals without ending up with brown feet.

Watch out for charges wires when walking around outside.

How to walk to work without tripping 81+ times- I can now blog as I walk!

How to dodge 6 dogs while walking to work or going for a run.

(Yes, walking was a big one for me)

How to eat rice and beans everyday

How to pick the best peaches “sem bichos

How to turn on the shower (you know that feeling when you first visit someone’s house and cannot figure out how to work the shower?)- go outside and connect the hose from the main water supply to the hose that leadstothe shower.

How to make rice with the Brazilian secret ingredient- garlic?

How to turn soda bottles into insect repellent for peach trees

How to throw out garbage-

  • Food goes out the window for the dogs
  • Plants, Fruit peels, vegetables, etc. goes in a bucket for the pigs
  • Everything else goes on the furnace to be burned outside because garbage trucks don’t pass here.

How to harvest

  • Begin by learning what is what, then learn to get them out of the land. Some examples:
    • Cabbages: stab and twist- slicing takes too long
    • Carrots: get it out from the roots or you’ll have to dig it out and ants don’t appreciate hands in their dirt
    • Beets: pull the biggest out by it’s leaves which are green with pink streaks

How to weed without serious back pains the next day.

How to take care of the various animals on the farm:

Chasing sheep into their houses

Keeping the dogs away from other animals

Taking care of cows

Comforting horses

Feeding pigs

These are just a few of the lessons Brazil and the acampamento has taught me so far. I’m sure within the next few months this list will continue to grow everyday.