The worldwide Augustana College experience

October 18th-October 23rd

This never posted so it is a little late. Oops.

Day 1 in Salvador

Saturday October 18th

First things first, we had class early. Luckily, our Brazilian mommy made us a delicious plate of fruit, grilled cheese and something I had never had before Tapioca powder. Basically it is a tapioca powder that she heat up in the skillet it is kind of spongy and she put butter on it. It was delicious! In class we discussed women-space, power,and the Afro-Brazilian culture. There is a strong African influence here due to the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. After class, we had a special lunch to celebrate Sao Cosme and Sao Damiao who were two Saints. They are celebrated by distributing food to poor children. We ate caruru which is a veggie (okra) stew. There was enough food to feed a whole circus. We were able to eat with our moms and meet some of the children. One of the little brothers of my classmates sat with me for a lot of the lunch. He is 5 years old and adorable. He also LOVES hugs, and of course will squeeze during hugs. After we finished eating, a group of us decided to go check out the beach. Sadly, the beach is not as close as it was in Rio to our residence but we had the rest of the day off so that helped. I have never seen a beach so crowded. I could barely see the beach because of all the people and umbrellas on the beach. Since it was just my roommate and our neighbor, we managed to walk down a ways to find space on the beach and get some sun. We came home for dinner then went back to a little outdoor diner by the beach where we could all meet up and talk about  our home stays so far. We have to call a taxi to get back up the hill at night since we did not want to risk getting mugged.

Twin Saints

Sunday October 19th

We had a free day so we decided to go exploring and find a mall as well. Adam, Yessie, and I walked and met up with Michelle and Wendy who took a cab. It took us about 30min to get there, but luckily we figured it out. This mall is even bigger than the Woodfield Mall. Somehow, we found Michelle and Wendy in the food court. There were people there dressed nicer than I looked at homecoming dances, heels included. We didn’t purchase much since it was extremely expensive. When we got back Lita( our mom) had the most delicious meal made for us of chicken/potato/squash sauce and white rice. It was really filling and exactly what we needed.Of course the meal included some freshly blended fruit. She explained to us that everything is low cal, low sugar, basically everything she feeds us will be healthy. We attempted to go the beach again and again it was super crowded. We walked a ways down and saw a Children’s Day festival which cluttered up a large area with bouncy houses, food stands,and a stage that had robots, singers, and a LOT of colors. We passed through and found a spot on the beach that had a tiny bit of room for the 5 of us. Part way through being there, a man with a guitar started to play right in front of us. It was extremely peaceful and after a little bit we all just passed out. When we woke up, the sun was starting to go down so we made our way back home to shower and then get more homework out of the way. We received “enchiladas” which were filled with veggies. Super yummy but way too much on my plate. It was hard to finish them. We also had pineapple. We finished our polysci and art homework for the next day.

Children’s Day

Monday October 20th

The day started with our polysci class and art class where we started to make beading work. At 2pm we took a panoramic tour of the city in a bus but we got out at certain points. We learned about Bahia’s flag and the Chubby Ladies statues among many other parts about the upper and lower city. The flag has a triangle on it which represents the three points of influence in Bahia which are the Europeans, Africans, and Indigenous people. This is also the reason there are three of the chubby ladies. They are chubby because it represents health and fertility with their big hips. One of the stops we made was at an amazing ice cream shop. I got pistachio….it only lasted about a minute it was sooo good. We continued our panoramic tour of el Salvador and ended the night at an all you can eat steak house called Boi Preto. Not even kidding, they just keep walking around to you and if you have a green card facing up they ask if you want a slice of meat from the skewer, if a red card is up they will pass you for that round. There were so many different options from ribs to chicken heart. As if the all you can eat without even moving to get all that food wasn’t enough, there was also a buffet where I stuffed my face in a cheesy shrimp dish and oysters.The dessert was even included. We waddled out of the restaurant to our bus and back to our home stay houses to pass out from food coma.

 

Chubby Girls Statues

Bahian Flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boi Preto’s buffet-I know, it is beautiful

Tuesday October 21st

From 9-1130 we had a guest lecture from Professor Sabrina Gledhill who informed us all about the fascinating religion of Candomble. This African based religion has a central focus around music and dance. They speak to their orixas(Or-ee-shuh) which can be related to the saints in Christianity. Each orixa has their own colors, day of celebration, and representation such as the free ocean or fertility. The percussion leads the ceremony while participants dance in a circle until an orixa places them in a trance. Each orixa has specific moves that one can see as they take over the body. We learned about the history as well as the ceremony which we got to attend later in the trip. After hearing her lecture, we were able to Ile Opo Afonja which is a Candomble Temple. Fred our guide showed us around and explained that every person is linked to a certain orixa and only those with the specific orixa can enter into the corresponding house. After returning from the temple, we all went back to the same diner we visited the last Saturday.

Typical Ceremony Diagram

Wednesday October 22nd

I woke up sick. =[ I didn’t sleep well at all and woke up sickly. Adam, Yessie and I spoke with our professor about our thoughts of Brazil thus far and how they related to class after this we had African Dance with Professor Cozido. I have never seen a man’s hips move so fast. I am jealous of how well he can dance even the woman’s part of samba. We started off doing moves that reminded us of Zumba and P90x aka we were all dying and sweating. He explained to us (In Portuguese) that we were going to do Samba Roda which basically was a LOT of butt and hip shaking. It is a less traditional samba that is done more socially than anything. This is more related to what we know how to do in the US than the Samba no Pe. This samba has a basic three step which is step back, step forward, slide the back foot up to the front foot. Then do that in high speed in 5in heels with an extravagant outfit, headpiece, in a street for hours….Carnival. I have so much respect for the men and women that make samba look so effortless. We next did Foho which is a partner dance. Jeremy and I were killing it, kind of. After 2 hours of dancing,we were all gross and sweaty so of course we had class. In class we all smelled, but luckily we were talking about capoeira which is an Afro-Brazilian form of dance and martial arts. Slaves did capoeira as a form of martial arts but obviously could not opening practice this so they added music and disguised it as a dance. We also watched Michael Jackson’s “They  Don’t Care About Us” video that was filmed in Pelorinho which is about 15 minutes away from us! We had some time after class where we went to a dock of our of our friends that has a slide into the ocean! It was so nice to be close to our home stays as well as relax in the sun. We stayed there for a few hours and then headed back to shower. Later that night we got to perform Capoeira ourselves! We were showed the basics which is that you basically make a triangle. Two of the points are your feet shoulder length apart and the last point of the triangle is straight back. You keep going back and forth to which foot is stepping back and staying put. He then tried to hit us with a stick. I’m not even kidding. Well, he did teach us the drop to the ground lunge move first. He then showed us the kick which is not completed on the ground in a different spot but rather put back to shoulder length apart. He showed us the cartwheel that starts a battle as well which Michelle and I surprisingly pulled off rather well! They capoeira school then put on a performance for us with percussion instruments included. People almost got kicked in the face! It was really cool though to see how much body control they had. After this LONG day, Yessie and I went back to our home stay and passed out after an amazing day! ( I recommend looking up all these performances,they are fantastic!)

  Just about as awkward as all of us trying to Samba

Capoeira

Thursday October 23rd

We had class early again where we talked about Olodum. It’s a cultural group based in the Afro Brazilian community of Salvador. It was founded by the percussionist Neguinho do Samba. Its stated aims are to combat racism, to encourage self-esteem and pride among Afro Brazilians, and to fight for civil rights for all marginalized groups. Olodum was a part of Michael Jackson’s, “They Don’t Care About Us” video. In art class we continued to work on our bead work. Since we had the rest of the day off, of course we spent it at the beach! We all got a lot more color and got thrown around by some waves. The tide was extremely high and the place we were at the time before was actually covered. We all got to know each other a lot more during this time by asking random ice breaker questions you would get asked at orientation. We all went back sandy as can be to get dinner and shower.

Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” Video

More to come from Salvador soon!

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